Nelson's Hippie Look Made Him An Outsider In Nashville
WILLIE NELSON fears his hippie look held him back at the beginning of his career - because straight-laced Nashville, Tennessee music executives didn't give him the credit he deserved.
The country music legend was inducted into Nashville's music mecca the Grand Ole Opry in 1965, but he now admits he never felt he belonged in Music City - because of the way he looked.
He tells Parade magazine, "The executives in music were a little prejudiced and biased about someone's appearance. They never stopped to think that maybe that long-haired hippie out there might have a little talent.
"There are a lot of people that hate change and want to keep things the way they've always been. Nashville was one of the last places to be lenient toward the hippies and the long hairs. That's one of the things that held it back.
"I felt like they failed to realise that I really knew what I was talking about. I was writing some pretty good songs and my singing wasn't that bad. I had a base in Texas. But the majority of the people that I recorded for and the publishing companies that I wrote for had heard stories about how popular I was in Texas. But they never left their desks in Nashville long enough to come by and check it out.
"Whenever I'd go down to Texas to play to thousands of people on the weekend, they didn't know anything about it in Nashville. So it was a big disconnect between Nashville and the rest of the world for me back in those days."