Wondering About Willie?

Willie Nelson with alt-country musician Ryan Adams.

Willie Nelson goes by many names—red-headed stranger, outlaw, highwayman, activist, entrepreneur, songwriter, singer, music icon. And at 74, Nelson shows little signs of slowing down with a new album and a worldwide tour on tap for 2008.

Closer to home, Nelson will kick off this year’s Silver Springs Concert Series on Saturday, Jan. 19. And while you’re waiting for Willie to come out on stage, here are some fun little tidbits to ponder before joining in for the chorus of “On The Road Again.”    

1. First Gig: Playing guitar in polka bands when he was 10.

2. Wanted Outlaw: Has been with seven record labels: Justice Records, Liberty, RCA, Atlantic, Columbia, Island, Lost Highway. Established own record company, Pedernales Records, in March 2007.

3. BioWeed Willie: Co-chair of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

4. Whoa, Guitar: His guitar is named Trigger, after Roy Rogers’ Palomino horse.

5. Rags To Riches: Sold his first published song, “Family Bible,” in 1960 for $50. In 1990, IRS gave him a bill for $16.7 million in back taxes.

6. BioDiesel Willie: Formed Willie Nelson BioDiesel in 2005, a company that markets biodiesel fuel to truck stops. Check out www.biowillieusa.com to learn more.

7. Not His Blue Eyes: Didn’t write one of his biggest hits, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” which was written by Fred Rose in 1945.

8. Art Imitating Life: Appeared as himself in 2006 movie Beerfest, where he recruited teammates to join him in a mythical world-championship marijuana-smoking contest in Amsterdam.

9. Travelin’ Man: When on the road again, travels in his biodiesel-fueled tour bus, Honeysuckle Rose IV.

10. Actor’s Studio: Has appeared in many TV shows and 19 movies, including two in 2008—Blond Ambition and Swing Vote.

11. Peachy Keen: In March 2007, Ben & Jerry’s released Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler Ice Cream.1

2. Marryin’ Kind: Has been married five times and fathered nine children.

13. Mr. Prolific: Has been involved in the recording of more than 250 albums and has written more than 2,000 songs.

14. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That: Sings “He Was a Friend of Mine” on soundtrack of 2006 movie, Brokeback Mountain. Shortly thereafter, released “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other” through iTunes Music Store on Valentine’s Day 2006.

15. Peace, Man: In April 2007, founded Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute on premise that peace on Earth is the birthright of our global human family. Visit www.willienelsonpri.com to learn more.

16. Author, Author: Has published three books—Willie: Autobiography (1988), The Facts of Life & Other Dirty Jokes (2002), The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart (2006).

17. Hallelujah: In summer 2006, bought the Methodist church that he attended and sang in while growing up south of Dallas in Abbot, Texas.

On The Record
The Essential Willie Nelson Discography

Red Headed Stranger (1975): Album went gold and featured hit song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

Wanted! The Outlaws (with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter & Tompall Glaser) (1976): Featured “Good Hearted Woman,” hit duet with Waylon Jennings and was first platinum country album.

Waylon & Willie (1978): Delivered another hit duet with Waylon Jennings, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”

Honeysuckle Rose (1980): Movie soundtrack highlighted by “On The Road Again.”

Highwayman (1985): Joined by Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash.
Across the Borderline (1992): Collaboration with Bob Dylan, Sinead O’Connor and Paul Simon.

Teatro (1998): Nelson and Emmylou Harris produce critically acclaimed music.

Willie: Alive and Kickin’ (2003): Contains #1 duet with Toby Keith, “Beer For My Horses,” as well as guest appearance by Norah Jones.

Last of the Breed (2007): Collaboration with Ray Price and Merle Haggard. Enough said!

For ticket information, reserved VIP seating and parking for the January 19 show at Silver Springs, visit silversprings.com or call (352) 236-2121. To win a pair of VIP tickets from Lake & Sumter Style, send an email to dean@lakeandsumterstyle.com telling us why you love Willie Nelson. Please include your name, address, and phone number. One entry will be chosen at random from the emails we receive.

Sources: Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll; National Public Radio; The Sydney Morning Herald: Wikipedia; Shock Ink; BioWillie USA; Great American Country.

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