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Willie Nelson

After over 35 years of performing and over 100 albums under his belt, Willie Nelson is known as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and an accomplished guitar player. Willie and his sister Bobbie Lee Nelson were raised by their paternal grandparents. It was from them they received their love of music, and at the age of 6, Willie received his first guitar. Growing up, Willie was fascinated by various types of music, but had a great fondness for big band, country (Texas style), and especially the music of Frank Sinatra.
As a teenager, Willie played honkey-tonks, and earned his money as a door to door salesman, and eventually got a job at a radio station. By his graduating year he had his own radio show at KCNC in Fort Worth (1954). His opening words were "This is your ol' cotton pickin', snuff dippin', tobacco chewin', coffee pot dodgin', dumplin' eatin', frog giggin' hillbilly from Hill Country!" After a brief time serving in the Air Force, which he was discharged for back problems. Willie, at the age of twenty-three, single handedly, recorded, financed and sold his first song, "No Place For Me. By 1959, Willie had married, divorced, and had 2 children. By 1962 He had his first country hits, "Willingly" and "Touch Me" both were duets with Shirley Collie, his second wife, and both made it into the Top 10.  He then joined the Grand Old Opry and became a regular performer by 1964.  He worked full-time as a DJ, and wrote songs in his spare time. One of the best of these was "Family Bible" which he sold for a little more than $100.00. The following year, things changed, and Willie started making some decent money, in particular, selling the song "Night Life" for an undisclosed amount of money to three Texas businessman. Willie bought himself a Buick convertible and took off for Nashville. Willie loved Nashville, and after only two years, he had established himself as a writer, selling two number one hits to Faron Young and Patsy Cline. Tragedy struck in December 1970, when Willie's house burned down. Willie packed up his things and moved back to Texas. After living in Nashville for ten years, he had forgotten about the lack of musicians in Texas. With fewer candidates to buy his music, Willie soon became hard pressed to sell anything. Since he couldn't sell his songs, Willie did the next logical thing. He began performing his own work. During his first year back in Texas, Willie recorded two albums, "Shotgun Willie" and "Phases And Stages". Then Willie signed with Columbia, recording the album "Red Headed Stranger" which contained the cross-over hit single "Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain." Later, as "the unofficial Mayor of Austin," he brought together the various groups of Country Music fans and helped start a new interest in the genre by attracting long-haired rock and roll fans. He let his hair grow long, wore a T-shirt and blue jeans, and wrapped a bandana around his neck. By 1973, Willie's popularity had grown, and he started the first of many Independence Day picnics, which continue today. By 1975, his Red Headed Stranger album brought him to the charts, and really pushed him into the spotlight. In 1978, Willie started his acting career. He played roles in several films, including "Red Headed Stranger", "Thief", "Honeysuckle Rose", "Barbarosa", "Pair of Aces", "Songwriter", "Electric Horseman", "Stagecoach", and many more. Add to this television acting, and cameo appearances. The eighties brought duets with talents such as Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Neil Young, and many others. In 1993, Willie's "On the Road Again" was used in the critically acclaimed soundtrack to the movie "Forrest Gump".  He has also worked with various artists have appeared on his many albums, including Johnny Bush, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Julio Iglesias, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Lee, Roger Miller, Dolly Parton, Webb Pierce, Ray Price, Leon Russell, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, and Neil Young.  He also has been successful at planning large concert events.  He has planned the Texas Fourth of July Picnics and worked on Farm Aid Concerts and USA for Africa.
Willie continues to pursue his passion for performing with months of touring, year after year. Yet he also manages to always fit in time for a good round of golf, as well as card games with his friends or an afternoon playing dominoes in the little Texas town of Luckenbach.