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 Writes 'Letters to America' in Latest Book
Pre-orders are available now.
Country Music Memories: The Highwaymen Begin Tour in Houston
On March 3, 1990, the country supergroup kicked off their concert tour at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
10 Iconic Country Music Duos Who Prove Two Are Better Than One
Country music has long lent itself to harmonizing and verse-swapping duos.
Willie Nelson's First Performance Didn't Go All That Well
It's hard to believe that this legendary performer ever fell victim to stage jitters.
Country Music Memories: 'Red Headed Stranger' Film Premieres
On Feb. 19, 1987, Nelson's movie 'Red Headed Stranger' premiered in Austin, Texas.
These Country Couples Have Been Married the Longest
These country couples know the meaning of "'til death do us part."
Country Music Memories: Willie Nelson Settles With the IRS
On Feb. 2, 1993, Nelson finally settled his long-outstanding debt to the IRS.