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Willie Nelson is a critically acclaimed, widely recognized country musician who is known for his work as a singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actor, author, poet, and activist. Born in 1933, he is an actual living legend, one of the few stars still around from his generation. To learn more about Nelson's incredible and enduring influence--in music and beyond--keep reading.
Some of Willie Nelson’s most popular songs are “On the Road Again” (1998), “Crazy” (1962), “Always On My Mind” (1982), “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (1978), “Whiskey River” (1973), “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” (1999), “Georgia on My Mind” (1978), “Mr. Record Man” (1962), “Good Hearted Woman” (1978), “Roll Me Up” (2012), “Beer for My Horses” (2003), and “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (2003). With 98 studio albums to his name—not to mention 42 compilation albums, 12 live albums, and a handful of soundtrack albums—Nelson has a lot to offer listeners. His music includes country, blues, jazz, outlaw. He is a known genre-hopper. Despite his experimental side, the quality of Nelson’s music should not be overlooked; he is the only artist to have an album remain of the charts for 540 weeks, or 10 consecutive years. His autobiography of music, accolades, awards, and projects could go on and on—suffice it to say that Willie Nelson is a trailblazer in American arts.
One of the intriguing things about Nelson is that he has really gone out and lived life. The music is just a vehicle for his stories, memories, meanderings, and experiences. Although he started writing songs at the age of 7, his life has wandered between professions, states, relationships, and times. He has served in the air force, but he has also had jobs as a cotton picker, disc jockey, saddle maker, cleaner, encyclopedia salesman, and more. He has lived in his home state of Texas, as well as Hawaii, Arkansas, and Tennessee. No matter where Nelson is, he always prioritizes his views, his politics. He has performed with President Jimmy Carter, and even sang a duet with his wife, Rosalynn Carter. He has been outspoken about his support of family farms. He has been known to perform fundraising concerts for a number of democratic candidates, including Beto O’Rourke, who ran a senatorial campaign. He has even performed songs against certain politicians. To those who have given Nelson flack for his stances, he proudly and famously has told interviewers, “I don’t care.”
Ultimately, Nelson’s steadfast, charismatic, generous, and loyal traits are genuine. These qualities shape his charitable work, his music, his performances, his life. It is no wonder that listeners continue to be so devoted to the man. Nelson's career has been filled with tours, something he continues to do to this day. Recent tours—such as the Willie Nelson and Alison Kraus 2019 Summer Tour—have done well in sales, showing that Willie still has “it.” To witness what makes Willie Nelson the icon he is, catch him in tour soon.