Willie Nelson

~ Person

Legal name: Willie Hugh Nelson


Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 29, 1933) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound. Nelson has acted in over 30 films, co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana.

Born during the Great Depression, and raised by his grandparents, Nelson wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Polka as their lead singer and guitar player. After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force but was later discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years but dropped out because he was succeeding in music. During this time, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in Honky-tonks. Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he wrote "Family Bible" and recorded the song "Lumberjack" in 1956. In 1958, he moved to Houston, Texas after signing a contract with D Records. He sang at the Esquire Ballroom weekly and he worked as a disk jockey. During that time, he wrote songs that would become country standards, including "Funny How Time Slips Away", "Hello Walls", "Pretty Paper", and "Crazy". In 1960 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and later signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price's band as a bassist. In 1962, he recorded his first album, ...And Then I Wrote. Due to this success, Nelson signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year. After mid-chart hits in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Nelson retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas. The ongoing music scene of Austin motivated Nelson to return from retirement, performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters.

In 1973, after signing with Atlantic Records, Nelson turned to outlaw country, including albums such as Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages. In 1975, he switched to Columbia Records, where he recorded the critically acclaimed album, Red Headed Stranger. The same year, he recorded another outlaw country album, Wanted! The Outlaws, along with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser. During the mid-1980s, while creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose and recording hit songs like "On the Road Again", "To All the Girls I've Loved Before", and "Pancho and Lefty", he joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen, along with fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.

In 1990, Nelson's assets were seized by the Internal Revenue Service, which claimed that he owed US$32 million. The difficulty of paying his outstanding debt was aggravated by weak investments he had made during the 1980s. In 1992, Nelson released The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?; the profits of the double album—destined to the IRS—and the auction of Nelson's assets cleared his debt. During the 1990s and 2000s, Nelson continued touring extensively, and released albums every year. Reviews ranged from positive to mixed. He explored genres such as reggae, blues, jazz, and folk. Nelson made his first movie appearance in the 1979 film The Electric Horseman, followed by other appearances in movies and on television. Nelson is a major liberal activist and the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which is in favor of marijuana legalization. On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil. Nelson is also the honorary chairman of the Advisory Board of the Texas Music Project, the official music charity of the state of Texas.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1962 ... And Then I Wrote Willie Nelson 1
1963 Here's Willie Nelson Willie Nelson 1
1965 Country Willie: His Own Songs Willie Nelson 1
1966 Country Favorites Willie Nelson Style Willie Nelson 2
1967 The Party's Over and Other Great Willie Nelson Songs Willie Nelson 1
1968 Texas in My Soul Willie Nelson 1
1969 Good Times Willie Nelson 1
1970 Both Sides Now Willie Nelson 1
1970 Laying My Burdens Down Willie Nelson 1
1971 Yesterday's Wine Willie Nelson 4 2
1972 The Willie Way Willie Nelson 1
1972 The Words Don't Fit The Picture Willie Nelson 1
1973 Shotgun Willie Willie Nelson 4 4
1974 Phases and Stages Willie Nelson 4 2
1975 Red Headed Stranger Willie Nelson 5 8
1976 The Sound in Your Mind Willie Nelson 1
1976 The Troublemaker Willie Nelson 3
1977 The Outlaws Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, Tompall Glaser 3 1
1977 To Lefty From Willie Willie Nelson 4
1978 Stardust Willie Nelson 4 11
1978 Waylon & Willie Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson 3
1979 Pretty Paper Willie Nelson 3
1979 Sings Kristofferson Willie Nelson 2
1980 Family Bible Willie Nelson 1
1980 San Antonio Rose Willie Nelson & Ray Price 3
1980 Sun Collector Classics David Allan Coe / Willie Nelson 1
1981 Somewhere Over the Rainbow Willie Nelson 1
1982 WW II Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson 5 3
1982 The Winning Hand Kris, Willie, Dolly & Brenda 1
1982 Always on My Mind Willie Nelson 3 4
1982 In the Jailhouse Now Willie Nelson & Webb Pierce 1
1982 Pancho & Lefty Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson 3
1983 Take It to the Limit Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson 1
1983 Tougher Than Leather Willie Nelson 3 2
1984 City of New Orleans Willie Nelson 2
1984 Love And Pain Willie Nelson 1
1985 Half Nelson Willie Nelson 1
1985 Me & Paul Willie Nelson 1
1986 The Promiseland Willie Nelson 2
1987 Island in the Sea Willie Nelson 1
1987 Seashores of Old Mexico Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson 1
1987 Walking the Line Merle Haggard & George Jones & Willie Nelson 1
1989 A Horse Called Music Willie Nelson 1
1990 Born for Trouble Willie Nelson 1
1991 Clean Shirt Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson 2
1992 Who'll Buy My Memories? The IRS Tapes Willie Nelson 4 4
1992 Any Old Arms Won't Do Willie Nelson 1
1993 Across the Borderline Willie Nelson 1
1993 Across the Borderline Willie Nelson 1
1994 Healing Hands of Time Willie Nelson 2
1995 Augusta Don Cherry & Willie Nelson 2
1995 Six Hours at Pedernales Willie Nelson feat. Curtis Potter 1
1996 Just One Love Willie Nelson 1
1996 Spirit Willie Nelson 1
1996 Crying Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson 1
1997 Christmas With Willie Nelson Willie Nelson 1
1997 Burning Memories Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson 1
1997 Hill Country Christmas Willie Nelson 1
1998 Teatro Willie Nelson 4 2
1998 Building Heartaches Willie Nelson 1
1998 Willie Nelson Live Willie Nelson 1
2000 Millenium Collection Willie Nelson 1
2000 Honky Tonk Heroes Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson & Billy Joe Shaver 1
2000 Me and the Drummer Willie Nelson 2
2000 Milk Cow Blues Willie Nelson 2
2000 Good Ol' Country Singin' Willie Nelson 1
2000 Night and Day Willie Nelson 2
2001 Rainbow Connection Willie Nelson 2
2001 The Best of Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson 1
2002 The Great Divide Willie Nelson 1
2002 The Eyes of Texas Willie Nelson & Don Cherry 1
2003 Run That by Me One More Time Willie Nelson & Ray Price 1
2004 Picture in a Frame Kimmie Rhodes & Willie Nelson 1
2004 It Always Will Be Willie Nelson 1
2004 Night Life Willie Nelson 2
2004 Nacogdoches Willie Nelson 1
2005 America's Troubadour Willie Nelson 1
2005 Countryman Willie Nelson 2 1
2006 Covered by Willie Willie Nelson 1
2006 You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker Willie Nelson 2 1
2006 Songbird Willie Nelson 3 1
2006 Willie Nelson Live Willie Nelson 1
2007 Who Do I Know in Dallas Willie Nelson 1
2007 It's Magic Don Cherry & Willie Nelson 1
2008 Moment of Forever Willie Nelson 3 1
2009 American Classic Willie Nelson 2
2010 Willie and the Wheel Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel 5 1
2011 Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis feat. Norah Jones 2
2011 Remember Me, Volume 1 Willie Nelson 1
2012 Heroes Willie Nelson 3 2
2013 Let's Face the Music and Dance Willie Nelson and Family 1
2013 To All The Girls... Willie Nelson 3
2014 Band of Brothers Willie Nelson 2
2015 Django and Jimmie Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard 4
2016 For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price Willie Nelson 3
2016 Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin Willie Nelson 1
Blame It On The Times Willie Nelson 1
Broken Promises Willie Nelson 1
Columbus Stockade Blues Willie Nelson 1
December Days Willie Nelson 1

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