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.
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Do you know the nicknames of your favorite country stars?
Country Music Memories: Willie Nelson Earns Honorary Doctorate
Recipients are being "recognized for their achievements and influence in music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture."
Country Music Memories: Willie's 'Always on My Mind' Hits No. 1
On May 8, 1982, Nelson's version of "Always on My Mind" hit No. 1 on the charts.
Willie Nelson: See the Red-Headed Stranger Through the Years
Nelson's trademark braids make him one of the most instantly recognizable celebrities in the world -- but he looked a little (okay, a lot) different in his early years.
25 Things You May Not Know About Country Icon Willie Nelson
Did you know all of this?
Country Singers Who Have Admitted to Smoking Pot [PICTURES]
There are a number of country stars who enjoy a bit of marijuana every so often, or have at least tried it -- including some who may surprise you.
'American Idol': Caleb Kennedy Makes Top 9 w/ Willie Nelson Cover
Kennedy covered Nelson's "On the Road Again" during Sunday night's (April 18) 'American Idol' episode.