Willie Nelson’s TEXAS Concerts
FYI, Willie is in his 80’s and yet still going strong.
During an interview one time the interviewer asked him when he was going to retire. Willie Nelson kinda looked at the guy/gal? surprised and said: “Well, let’s see. I play golf or play my music whenever I want. What would I retire from?”
And as of this writing, Willie Nelson is still playing strong today.
Willie Nelson’s BIO:
Willie Nelson, born Willie Hugh Nelson in Abbot, TX – April 30, 1033. His parents broke up within 6 months of his birth. Willie and his sister, Bobbie (who is part of his band) were raised by their grandparents, during the Great Depression.
Willie started playing on his first guitar at the tender age of 6.. and never looked back. He even began writing his own music at the age of six. He sold his first song ‘ Family Bible’ to his guitar teacher for $50 bucks.
Willie Nelson 1950’s – 1960’s
The first band Willie Nelson joined was ‘Bud Fletcher and the Texans’.. They had local gigs, and Willie’s sister Bobbie later married Bud Fletcher. After graduating from high school in 1950, Willie actually went into the Air Force. Knowing Willie as we do today, we’d never guess our free spirited singer would want to be a part of regimented life in the service. Sure enough, he was out fairly soon… due to back problems. He tried college after that and odd jobs including selling encyclopedias door to door. He also worked as a radio disc jockey and played local gigs again. Willie Nelson wrote some of his most memorable songs during this time in the 1950’s: Crazy, Night Life, Funny How Time Slips Away.
Willie married Martha Matthews in 1952 when he was only 17 and she was 16. They had an extremely unstable marriage but still managed to have three children together.
Texas lost Willie for a full decade when he moved to Nashville in 1960. There he had two big hits with other Artists singing his songs: Hello Walls (sung by Faron Young) and Crazy (sung by Patsy Cline).. Then in 1963, Ray Price made Willie Nelson’s ‘Night Life’ a big hit in 1963. Willie was divorced from Martha by now, and he married Shirley Collie in 1963. His marriage with Shirley ended when she found that he had fathered a child with his mistress, Connie Koepke. He married Connie before his divorce was even final with Shirley.
Willie gained the reputation as somewhat of an outlaw because he would not conform to the typical Nashville country and western singer… along with the fact that he was a hard-drinking guy. Anyone who knows Willie, knows that he became more known for his pot smoking than drinking in the ensuing years.
Willie Nelson 1970’s – 1980’s
In 1970, Willie Nelson’s Tennessee home burned down. Fortunately for us here in Texas, he decided to come on home to Austin. During the seventies is when Willie really began to make a name for himself. He also was able to be himself. Long-haired, bandanna wearing, soft-spoken, pot smokin Willie was to become one of Texas’ most beloved icons.
After a string of hits including ‘Blue Eyes Cryin in the Rain’ and albums, ‘Shotgun Willie’, ‘Phases and Stages’ and ‘Red Headed Stranger’.. Willie won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best County Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Mama’s Don’t let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys’.
Willie also started his acting career about this time. He appeared in The Electric Horseman with Robert Redford, and much more famously Honeysuckle Rose with Dyan Cannon and Amy Irving. Honeysuckle Rose also featured Willies song ‘On the Road Again’… which won him the Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1980. He didn’t do as well on a personal note because, like in the movie where he has an affair with Amy Irving, he really did have an affair with Amy Irving. And unlike his wife in the movie, his real life wife tossed him out. Willie may be an amazing song writer and singer.. and much loved here in Texas.. but he sure can’t behave himself with women. At least, not at that time.
In 1973, began what was to become a tradition, his annual 4th of July Picnic. As a side note, we gave away two tickets to Willies fourth of July picnic (2010) on our original Austin site AustinConcertTickets.net.
January 1976 Willie Nelson was the very first artist to play at our now famous Austin City Limits. My husband and I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland,OH. They just happened to have the Austin City Exhibit there at the time and we actually got to see Willie’s contract with ACL. Austin City Limits begins 2011 in a new venue at Moody Theater. A statue of Willie graces the Moody Theater which is on Willie Nelson Blvd. Obviously, we Austinites love our Willie. 🙂
Willie Nelson had some of his most memorable songs in the 80’s..
‘Always on my Mind’ – another Grammy Award, this time for Best Country Vocal Performance.
‘To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before’ with Julio Iglesias seemed to play on the radio every hour, and Saturday Night Live did a hilarious skit with it.
He co-wrote his memoir with Bud Shrake, ‘Willie: An Autobiography”
Wiilie Nelson – Farm Aid
Willie, along with fellow musicians Neil Young and John Mellencamp, put together the first Farm Aid concert in an effort to help struggling American farmers. The Farm Aid organization has now raised thirty million plus dollars as it continues to help our farmers.
Willie Nelson 1990’s to present
During the 1990’s Willie still cranked out hits.. but it was a devastating time in his personal life. Started out in 1991 with the IRS breathing down his neck for back taxes. I had just moved to Austin and can remember he lived in a downtown hotel when the Internal Revenue seized all his property. I want to say that some of his friends bought a few of his properties and then gave them back to Willie.. but honestly that might have just been a rumor at the time. He produced his album, The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy my Memories, and plowed all those profits into paying off his IRS debt.
In 1991 Willie Nelson married Ann D’Angelo of which they have two children. Tragically that same year, Willie’s son, Billy, committed suicide.
Ever the pot smoker, Willie was busted in 1994. He was busted again in 2006 and then he was busted in November 2010 and if there were other times, I’m not really sure. Willie Nelson is a long time supporter of NORML (Working to Reform Marijuana Laws) as well as a member of their advisory board, so I think that says it all.
In 2001, after the tragic strike to our country at the World Trade Center, Willie led a Telethon Broadcast called “America – A Tribute to Heroes” where he began the event with America the Beautiful.
Willie is known for being a generous giver of his money and his time. I’ve never seen anyone play so long. He’ll pretty much play as long as his fans want him to. He’s helped out his hometown, Abbott, TX. The Farm Aid, of course, and in 2007 he started a “green'” company that helps preserve our environment.
He is still going strong, playing numerous gigs yearly that would probably tire a younger man. Hah! He even won another Grammy for “Lost Highway” as recently as 2008. He’s played in more films and continues to release new music.
We (as in my family and myself) moved to Spicewood TX.. just outside of Austin, in 2005. Willie lived right across the street on a ranch he called “Luck Texas”.. We lived on the Willie Nelson Golf course and Willie would drive his golf cart from his ranch to the golf course to play. First time my husband saw him, he thought ‘Why is that little ole lady out there playing’ because from a distance, Willies legendary braids made him look like a woman.. Haha! As you know, Willie cut his trademark braids in 2010. (Update: he’s grown back his braids.)
He sold his ranch “Luck Texas” around 2008 to developers. He had been going back and forth between his Texas ranch and Hawaii for sometime. It’s my understanding he’s spending more time in Hawaii now. I’ll have to get you a picture of the new development’s entrance cause it has a cool guitar sculpture.