With a six-decade career and a catalog of more than 200 albums to his credit, the iconic Texas singer-songwriter Willie Nelsonhas earned a permanent position in pop music’s pantheon with songs combining the sophistication of Tin Pan Alley with the rough-and-tumble grit and emotional honesty of country music. He brought pop and country together on the radio in the early 1960s with unforgettable songs like “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), “Hello Walls” (Faron Young), “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Billy Walker), “Night Life” (Ray Price) and others and, by the mid-1970s, had become a superstar in his own right as a prime mover of a revolutionary and thriving outlaw country music scene. The Red Headed Stranger, Willie’s first album for Columbia Records in 1975, catapulted the artist to the front ranks of popularity, making his a name familiar in country and city households across America and around-the-world.
A seven-time Grammy Award winner, Willie Nelson has received numerous accolades including American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards and others. He is a co-founder of Farm Aid, an annual series of fundraising events which began as an all-star benefit concert in 1985 to raise money for American family farmers. He continues to lobby against horse slaughter and produces his own blend of biodiesel fuel. An old-school road-dog troubadour with new school wheels, Willie plays concerts year-round, tirelessly touring on Honeysuckle Rose III (he rode his first two buses into the ground), taking his music and fans to places that are always worth the ride.
The very first musician to perform on the premiere episode of Austin City Limits in 1974, Willie Nelson was inducted into the inaugural class of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame by fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey on Saturday, April 26, 2014. “There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson,” McConaughey told the audience assembled at the University of Texas at Austin, the original home of what is now America’s longest-running televised music program.
Willie Nelson, who turned 81 on April 29/April 30, is an American original, a sublime singer, master tunesmith and outlaw country’s most enduring archetype.