Willie Nelson

Country Singer / Songwriter / Actor

Born: 30 April 1933
Birthplace: Abbott, Texas
Best known as: Singer of "On the Road Again"
Willie Nelson began as a songwriter and grew into a durable country troubadour of the late 20th century. Nelson wrote "Crazy" (the signature tune of Patsy Cline), "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Rainy Day Blues" among many other 1960s hits. His breakthrough 1975 album Red-Headed Stranger included the hit "Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain" and cemented his reputation as a honky-tonk outlaw with a touch of sentimental hippie in him. (Blue jeans, bandannas, long red braids and the Texas flag all became part of his motif.) His other hits included "On the Road Again" and "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys." Nelson also acted, appearing in movies like Honeysuckle Rose (1980), Thief (1981) and Barbarossa (1982). In the 1980s Nelson performed with The Highwaymen, a supergroup including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. He also became an activist, starting the annual "Farm Aid" megaconcerts in 1985. In 1993 Nelson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His many albums include Hello Walls (1966, when he was clean-cut); Good Times (1968); Red Headed Stranger (1975); One for the Road (1979); Always on My Mind (1982); Across the Borderline (1993); Augusta (1995, with Don Cherry); and Songbird (2006).
Extra credit: Ever the rebel, Nelson had a drawn-out battle with the IRS in the late 1980s that left him owing millions of dollars in back taxes; he paid off the debt thanks partly to the proceeds of a double album titled The IRS Tapes... In September of 2006 Nelson was cited for drug possession after Louisiana state police found marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms on his tour bus.

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