Nelson has become as much a part of the American landscape
as Sunday afternoon baseball games, hot dogs, and apple
pie. And, this county music legend, more than 30 years after
his public debut, is still going strong.
got his start in the music industry as a hit songwriter
for such country music stars as the late Patsy Cline, Billy
Walker, and Faron Young in the 1960s. His songwriting eventually
evolved to the point where he began performing his own material.
In 1962, his single, a duet with Shirley Collie, “Willingly”
became his first Top Ten hit. Three years later, Nelson
– whose bright star had somewhat dimmed – joined
the Grand Ole Opry.
plugged away at his music, hoping to secure another Top
Ten hit, but it wasn’t meant to be, and by 1972, Nelson
was certain his stint in the music industry was over, so
he moved back to his native Texas. Soon thereafter, he underwent
an image overhaul, taking on more of a bad boy, outlaw persona.
a new recording contract with Atlantic Records, Nelson released
the full-length album, “Shotgun Willy,” which
while receiving strong critical reviews didn’t make
too much of an impact on listeners. Nelson continued to
struggle until he jumped ship and headed to Columbia Records.
His first offering with Columbia, “The Red Headed
Stranger,” immediately shot him back to stardom in
1976, and fans went crazy for Willie Nelson concert tickets.
In 1978, Nelson would hit pay dirt, with the release of
the album “Stardust,” which spent a staggering
ten years on the country charts and sold more than four
dawn of a new decade saw only more success for Nelson, with
such hits as “Always On My Mind” (1982), and
“To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” (1983).
By the middle of the decade, Nelson’s star was again
beginning to fade as country music moved into a new direction.
Still, Nelson remained in the public eye, even founding
Farm Aid in 1985.
1990, Nelson released another album, this time taking a
shot at his tax problems with all proceeds from “The
IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories” funneled to the
IRS. It wasn’t until 1993, with the release of the
album “Across the Borderline,” however, that
Nelson enjoyed some of his former success.
same year, Nelson received one of the highest distinctions
in the industry, entering the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Nelson went on to release several more albums, including:
“Spirit” (1996), “Teatro” (1998),
Milk Cow Blues (2000), and “Lost Highway” (2004).
a legend in the music industry, Nelson’s story is
certainly far from over, and there’s little doubt
he’ll continue to make music far into the future.