Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas, and, along with his older sister Bobbie, was raised largely by his grandparents. Nelson’s grandfather introduced him to the guitar, and Nelson and his sister began performing all over Texas while they were still children. Following his graduation from high school, Nelson briefly joined the U.S. Air Force before enrolling in Baylor University to study agriculture, though he ultimately dropped out to pursue his music career. The future country icon got his start by working as a disc jockey and released his first album, 'No Place for Me', in 1936. As of 2020, Nelson has released more than 160 albums and earned over 25 No. 1 singles, including “On the Road Again,” “Blue Skies” and “Always on My Mind.” In addition to writing most of his own songs, Nelson has also penned hits for other artists, including Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and “Funny How Time Slips Away” by Billy Walker, among others. Nelson has enjoyed a successful career as an actor as well, appearing in films such as 'The Electric Horseman', 'The Dukes of Hazzard' and 'Blonde Ambition'. He is also an outspoken advocate for the legalization of marijuana and has been arrested numerous times for possession of the drug. In 1990, Nelson’s assets were seized by the IRS, due to millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. Three years later, the artist paid the debt in full, thanks in part to the release of his double-album, 'The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?', and his decision to sell many of his possessions. In recent years, Nelson has canceled or cut short a handful of concerts due to health issues; however, he continues to play shows and release albums, including 2020's 'First Rose of Spring.' Nelson has seven children, including singer-songwriter Lukas Nelson, and lives in Maui, Hawaii.
Willie Nelson Will Be the Keynote Speaker at SXSW 2021
SXSW will go virtual this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Country Music Memories: 'Wanted! The Outlaws' Is Released
In 1976, some of Music City's most eccentric, outside-the-box artists turned the town upside down, staging a commercial revolution against the Nashville establishment that resulted in a paradigm shift in country music.
Country Music Memories: 'Stardust' Certified Quadruple Platinum
On Jan. 9, 1990, 'Stardust' album was certified quadruple platinum.
50 Country Albums Everyone Must Hear Before They Die
Whether you're a country fan or not, these albums are must-listens!
Country Music Memories: Willie Nelson Makes His Film Debut
Dec. 21, 1979, was a career-changing day for Nelson ...
Willie Nelson Does Sinatra's 'Cottage for Sale' on New Tribute LP
The country icon pays tribute to the legendary crooner.
All the Country Stars Who Have Received Kennedy Center Honors
Eleven country artists have received Kennedy Center Honors over the years.