Willie Nelson

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Willie Nelson Biography

Willie Nelson (born 30.4.1933)

Willie Nelson is an American country singer who initially rose to fame in the 1970s but has maintained a career for around 40 years and is considered an icon of American music.

Willie Nelson: Childhood

Born in Texas, Willie Nelson was the son of Myrle and Ira Nelson. Ira Nelson was a mechanic and also owned a pool hall. Willie began playing the guitar when he was six years old and wrote his first song at the age of nine.

Whilst he was at high school, Nelson met Bud Fletcher and joined his band, Bohemian Fiddlers. During that time, he also worked as a DJ for a number of local radio stations.

Willie Nelson was briefly a member of the Air Force and studied agriculture at Baylor University for one year. Nelson moved to Washington in 1956 and recorded a version of the Leon Payne song, 'Lumberjack' and sold the song 'Family Bible' for $50 to Claude Gray, for whom it was a huge hit.

Willie Nelson: Musical Career

In 1960, Nelson moved to Nashville. He struggled to obtain a record label contract, although he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music. His song 'Night Life' was covered by Ray Price, as well as by Charles Manson and is reportedly the most covered country song of all time.

Nelson joined Price's band, Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys and wrote a number of their hits, including 'Pretty Paper', which was later covered by Roy Orbison.

In 1965, Willie Nelson signed a contract with RCA Victor Records, home of Elvis Presley and joined the Grand Ole Opry. He started to play his own music, which has influences from country, jazz and folk music.

In the early 1970s, Nelson signed to Atlantic records. In 1973, he released Shotgun Willie. The album was a critical, if not a commercial, success. 1974's Phases and Stages contained songs about his recent divorce, including the track 'Bloody Mary Mornings'.

His next label move was to Columbia Records. Columbia ensured that Willie Nelson had complete creative control over his music and his first album for them was Red Headed Stranger, released in 1975. His cover of Fred Rose's 'Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain' was Nelson's first number one record. In 1976, he recorded an album with Waylon Jennings, Tompall Glaser and Jessi Colter, named Wanted! The Outlaws.

1978 was a successful year for Nelson. He released two albums, Waylon and Willie and Stardust. Both albums were later awarded platinum selling status, with the latter being produced by Booker T. Jones.

In the 1980s, Willie Nelson formed a country supergroup with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. They named the group The Highwaymen.

In 1985, Nelson founded the Farm Aid charity concerts. Five years later, the IRS seized most of Willie Nelson assets, in order to pay $16.7 million in backdated tax payments. In order to help pay the charges, he released an album entitled The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? All of the money raised from sales of the album went directly to the IRS.

In 1993, Willie Nelson recorded the album Across the Borderline. Amongst the featured guests on the album were Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and Paul Simon.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Willie Nelson continued to make critically revered albums such as Tetra, which featured vocals from Emmylou Harris. In 2004, Nelson released Outlaws and Angles, which featured guests such as Carole King, Kid Rock and Al Green.

Willie Nelson: Acting Career

Willie Nelson has appeared in a number of films, the first being 1979's The Electric Horseman. Other highlights of his movie career include starring in Songwriter with Kris Kristofferson in 1984 and Stagecoach in 1986, alongside Johnny Cash. In 2006, he Nelson also appeared in the remake of Dukes of Hazzard.

Willie Nelson has also made a large number of cameo appearances in high profile TV shows and films, including The Simpsons, Miami Vice and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Willie Nelson: Personal Life

Nelson is a staunch campaigner for the legalization of marijuana.

He has been married four times and has eight children.

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Willie Nelson Picture Gallery

11th annual john varvatos stuart house benefit 130414
11th annual john varvatos stuart house benefit 130414
11th annual john varvatos stuart house benefit 130414
11th annual john varvatos stuart house benefit 130414
11th annual john varvatos stuart house benefit 130414

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The Latest Willie Nelson News

Willie Nelson To Perform In Support Of Texas Gubernatorial Candidate

11th April 2014

Country legend Willie Nelson has thrown his support behind Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis by agreeing to perform at her...

Willie Nelson's Stolen Armadillo And 5 Other Famous Victims Of Theft

8th April 2014

Willie Nelson suffered a fright this week when his stuffed Armadillo, Ol’Dillo was stolen after a Las Vegas concert. Luckily...

Willie Nelson's Stuffed Armadillo, Ol'dillo, Returned After Kidnapping

3rd April 2014

Willie Nelson's stuffed armadillo has been returned after it was taken from a concert in Las Vegas.Willie Nelson's stuffed armadillo...

Willie Nelson's Stolen Armadillo Returned

3rd April 2014

Country music veteran Willie Nelson has been reunited with his stuffed armadillo mascot after it went missing following a concert...

Willie Nelson Among Inaugural Inductees To Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame

1st April 2014

Willie Nelson and late blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble will be the inaugural inductees into...

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Willie Nelson Festivals


11th April 2014

Glastonbury Festival

25th June 2014


12th June 2014

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Willie Nelson Footage Film / Movie Reviews

The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning 2007, Review by Christopher Null

It seems that all bad movies deserve a direct-to-DVD sequel, so why not a sloppy...

Blonde Ambition 2007, Review by Christopher Null

Earlier this year, Blonde Ambition made record-breaking headlines. Not for anything good, mind you, but...

Beerfest 2006, Review by Pete Croatto

Has there been one laugh-out-loud comedy, with the exception of Ricky Bobby, this summer? The...

The Dukes of Hazzard 2005, Review by byline.gif

Once the largely inept and uncouth cast shuts the heckup (i.e. stops trying to act)...

The Dukes of Hazzard 2005, Review by David Levine

I have no problem admitting that the main reason I wanted to review The Dukes...

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