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.
Country Music Memories: Willie Nelson Makes His Opry Debut
Nov. 28, 1964, was an unforgettable day for Nelson.
Willie Nelson Delivers All-Star Jam During Rock Hall Induction
He called for two of his colleagues to be inducted, too.
Chris Stapleton Will Play 2023 Rock Hall of Fame Ceremony
The event will live stream for the first time.
Country Music Memories: First Farm Aid Held in Champaign, Ill.
On Sept. 22, 1985, the very first Farm Aid was held in Champaign, Ill.
Country Music Memories: 'Heartbreak Hotel' Remake Hits No. 1
On Sept. 1, 1979, Nelson and Russell hit the No. 1 spot with their remake of the Elvis Presley hit "Heartbreak Hotel."
George Strait + Carrie Underwood Are Playing a Show Together
The concert is the second of back-to-back shows at the Atlanta football stadium.
Willie Nelson's 'Bluegrass' Puts a New Spin on Country Classics
Hear the first track from Nelson's first full foray into bluegrass.
Sturgill Simpson Collaborations That Will Blow Your Mind
No one does it quite like Sturgill Simpson.