84 Reasons to Love Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson, who will be 84 on Saturday, gave an inspiring RodeoHouston performance back in March.
Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
*** His new album, God’s Problem Child, includes a song called “Still Not Dead.”
*** The album will be released this Friday, the day before his 84th birthday.
*** He drew 75,008 fans to his RodeoHouston 2017 concert, helping set a new single-day total attendance record of 185,667.
*** He co-founded Farm Aid.
*** He tosses bandannas to the crowd at most every show.
*** He has the most concise definition of his genre: "Three chords and the truth – that’s what a country song is.”
*** His instantaneous and deeply felt kinship with Snoop Dogg.
*** His picnics.
*** Yesterday’s Wine
*** “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”
*** B.B. King’s version of “Night Life”
*** He kept Trigger when the FBI took everything else.
*** Bruce Robison’s “What Would Willie Do?”
*** Willie’s Reserve, retail marijuana
*** Against corporate cannabis.
*** Mickey Raphael, harmonica badass
*** Robert Earl Keen’s “Picnic” story on 1996 live album No. 2 Live Dinner.
*** Supports Bernie Sanders.
*** Across the Borderline
*** “On the Road Again”
*** Patsy Cline’s version of “Crazy”
*** Dislikes Donald Trump (perhaps the only person alive he does).
*** Has made many, many, many, many, many appearances on Austin City Limits.
*** He owns his own biodiesel firm, and it's called BioWillie.
*** He made long hair braids acceptable among the manliest men around.
*** Sister Bobbie and “Down Yonder”
*** He got sewed up in a sheet and beaten with a broom by his ex-wife...and forgave her.
*** He was BFFs with Waylon Jennings
*** Waylon and Willie
*** “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”
*** The Supersuckers’ version of “Bloody Mary Morning”
*** Represents what Texas should be about: freedom, individual rights and individuality.
*** He smoked a joint on the roof of the White House during the Jimmy Carter administration.
*** He made the most successful commercial recording artist in Europe at the time, Julio Iglesias, into a household name in America.
*** His statue in downtown Austin.
*** The Raelyn Nelson Band (Willie’s granddaughter)
*** Willie just said no...to taxes.
*** He is the only known person in human history to be accused (if that is the correct word) of completing a nine-hour sex marathon with a full somersault while still engaged in the act with his partner.
*** Shotgun Willie
*** “Hello Walls”
*** Chris Stapleton’s brand-new version of “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning”
*** Luck, the Old West town/movie set he owns.
*** He and late University of Texas coaching legend Darrell K. Royal were thick as thieves.
*** His 1993 “Graceland” duet with Paul Simon on Saturday Night Live.
*** He stood up for Charley Pride when nobody else would.
*** Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real (Willie’s son)
*** He’s a Taurus, the astrological signifier of practicality, ambition, dependability and sensuality.
*** His Gershwin Prize For Popular Song, awarded in 2015.
*** “Angel Flying too Close to the Ground”
*** Alison Krauss’s cover of “I Never Cared For You”
*** He makes great gospel music, too; listen to 1976’s The Troublemaker.
*** He’s the only watchable part of the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard movie.
*** He adores golf.
*** He knows Bob Wills is still the king.
*** The Highwaymen
*** Honeysuckle Rose (the movie)
*** Honeysuckle Rose (the tour bus)
*** “Always On My Mind”
*** Norah Jones’s version of “Hands On the Wheel”
*** No other octogenarian rocks the pigtails like he does.
*** His friendship and occasional collaborations with the late Ray Price.
*** His mugshot from the Pasadena (TX) PD, c. 1960
*** He has inspired three (count ’em) excellent, very different biographies — Willie by Bud Shrake; Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski; and his autobiography (with David Ritz), It’s a Long Story: My Life.
*** Timekeeping brothers Paul and Billy English
*** He and Kinky Friedman co-wrote a book called Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.
*** He is a major character in Friedman’s 1997 mystery novel Roadkill.
*** Phases and Stages
*** “Me & Paul”
*** Elvis Presley’s version of “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away”
*** Old Whiskey River bourbon
*** He used to go by “Wee Willie Nelson” as a DJ in the Pacific Northwest.
*** Instant conversation-stopper whenever people bag on Texas for being a right-wing loony bin: “Willie Nelson is from there.”
*** Bee Spears (RIP) and current Family bassist Kevin Smith
*** He wrote his first song before he learned long division.
*** That cameo in Half Baked.
*** Django and Jimmie, his 2015 joint album with Merle Haggard
*** “Pancho & Lefty”
*** Willie’s version of “Write Your Own Songs”
*** He’s the only pothead my dad ever liked.
*** He’s still playing live shows at a rate that should humble musicians half his age.
*** Happy birthday, Willie!
Written by Selena Dieringer, Jack Gorman, Chris Gray, Matthew Keever, Chris Lane, David Rozycki and Jesse Sendejas Jr.