Archive for the ‘This Day in Willie Nelson History’ Category

This day in Willie Nelson history: Stardust breaks records; stays on Billboard Chart 520 weeks (1988)

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

On August 13, 1988 Willie Nelson becomes the first artist ever to have an album spend 10 years on the Billboard country chart as “Stardust” logs its 520th week.

On January 9, 1990, ‘Stardust’ is certified quadruple platinum

1. Stardust
2. Georgia on My Mind
3. Blue Skies
4. All of Me
5. Unchained Melody
6. September Song
7. On the Sunny Side of the Street
8. Moonlight in Vermont
9. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
10. Someone to Watch over Me
11. Scarlett Ribbons
12. I Can See Clearly Now

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Honeymoon in Vegas” soundtrack released (8/11/1992)

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

On August 11, 1992, Epic Records released the soundtrack to “Honeymoon in Vegas”.  In addition to Willie Nelson’s recording of “Blue Hawaii”, the album features remakes of Elvis Presley songs by Trisha Yearwood, Billy Joel, Travis Tritt, Ricky Van Shelton, Bono, Dwight Yoakam, Amy Grant and Vince Gill, among others.

Honeymoon in Vegas

Track List

1. All Shook Up – Billy Joel
2. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck – Ricky Van Shelton
3. Love Me Tender – Amy Grant
4. Burning Love – Travis Tritt
5. Heartbreak Hotel – Billy Joel
6. Are You Lonesome Tonight? – Bryan Ferry
7. Suspicious Minds – Dwight Yoakam
8. (You’re The) Devil in Disguise – Trisha Yearwood
9. Hound Dog – Jeff Beck, Jed Leiber
10. That’s All Right – Vince Gill
11. Jailhouse Rock – John Mellencamp
12. Blue Hawaii – Willie Nelson
13. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Bono

This day in Willie Nelson history: “One for the Road” duet with Leon Russell, goes gold (8/2/1979)

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015


On August 2, 1979, “One For The Road,” a duet album featuring Willie Nelson & Leon Russell, goes gold.

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Swing Vote” movie opens (August 1, 2008)

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

On August 1, 2008, the Kevin Costner movie “Swing Vote” debuted in theaters featuring cameo by Willie Nelson. Also in the movie: Kelsey Grammer, Larry King, Dennis Hopper and Richard Petty.

Willie Nelson filmed a scene for the Kevin Kostner movie “Swing Vote” at the Harn Homestead and Museum in Oklahoma City ( Willie was also in town performing in Last of Breed tour with Merle Haggard and Ray Price.

Cher Golding, executive director of the Museum, kindly sent pictures of Willie being filmed, and Willie posing with the staff at the museum.


“Attached are a few photos of the shoot at the Harn Homestead Museum. Willie played ‘Always on my Mind’ in front of our Event Barn. After filming, he signed a few autographs and posed for photos with the Harn Homestead Museum staff.”

Cher L. Golding, Executive Director
Harn Homestead Museum
Oklahoma City, OK

This day in Willie Nelson History: CMA Music Festival (7/14/2004)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015


Jul 14, 2004

On July 14, 2004, CBS aired “CMA Music Festival: Country Music’s Biggest Party,” featuring Willie Nelson, Brooks & Dunn, Terri Clark, Martina McBride, Montgomery Gentry, Gretchen Wilson, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, among others

This day in Willie Nelson history: CMT Crossroads with Sheryl Crow airs (6/15/2002)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow appear on “CMT Crossroads,” taped the previous month on the Sony Pictures lot in Los Angeles. In addition to their own material, they offer a duet on the Johnny Cash & June Carter classic “Jackson”

Nelson played an electric guitar throughout the night instead of his battered classical acoustic, dubbed “Trigger.” (Crow said her instruments have no names, but she might refer to them as “my little money makers.”) “My guitar,” Nelson explained, “is on the way to Amsterdam [for a European tour]. I am following soon behind.” (

This day in Willie Nelson History: “Whiskey for My Men (beer for my horses)” #1 on Billboard Country Chart (6/14/03)

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Country Weekly
October 14, 2003
by Chris Neal

Like a lot of great country music tales, this one begins with whiskey. Willie Nelson and Toby Keith were on Willie’s bus, passing the bottle back and forth — to be precise, a bottle of Willie’s own signature brand, Old Whiskey River. They were having fun, but Toby had a serious question for his hero.

“I’ve got a project I’d love to talk to you about,” he offered. “It’s singing the second verse on a song that I think fits you like a glove.”

“What’s the name of it?” asked Willie. “Whiskey for My Men; Beer for My Horses,” replied Toby.

“Hell, let’s go cut it!” Willie exclaimed with a laugh. “It’d be hard to have a bad song with a title that good.”

Many months later, Willie’s judgment turned out to be right on. “Beer for My Horses” shot to No. 1 and stayed there for six weeks.

“Johnny Cash said one time that all that’s wrong with any of us can be cured with a No. 1 song,” said Willie. “And I think he was about right. I’m almost cured of everything.”

The ride actually began many years ago, way back in mid-Sept. 1976. Toby, then 15, made his way backstage when Willie was appearing in concert at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., as part of an “Outlaws” tour with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser.

At the time, Toby already idolized Willie, who was then riding high with the No. 1 Waylon duet “Good Hearted Woman” – a song Toby himself would sing with Willie months after Waylon’s death in 2002.

Toby still remembers meeting Willie that night, 27 years ago. “He was his usual polite self,” he smiles. “Willie is a real sweetheart. He takes care of everybody and wants everybody to have a piece of him.”

By the time they met again in the ‘90’s, Toby had followed in Willie’s footsteps to become a star himself. It happened that Toby’s guitarist, Joey Floyd, had played the part of Willie’s son in the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose, and still kept in touch. Joey made the introductions — and Toby and Willie’s friendship was off and running.

“I’d already heard his music before I met him,” recalls Willie. “I think he’s a great talent. He’s one of those guys coming along — well, I don’t know how young he is. Younger than me for damn sure.” (Toby is 42.)

“Probably the thing that ties us together most is the music,” says Toby. “But he’s got a great sense of humor, and so do I. We call each other all the time and tell our latest jokes, and we really have a good time when we’re hanging out.”

Perhaps the most notorious occasion the two spent “hanging out” was during this year’s ACM Awards. Tongues wagged after Toby was named entertainer of the Year at the evening’s end, but wasn’t around to accept it because he’d already left.

Where was he?

“I was up in my room, at the same hotel where the show was going on,” explains Willie. “I was watching it on TV. Next thing you know, there’s a knock on my door and there’s Toby. He said, “Hell, I ain’t gonna win.” I said, ‘OK, come in here and we’ll write a song or something.” So we got the whiskey bottle going around — again — and we were having some fun.”

“You can tell when it’s your night,” explains Toby, “And it didn’t feel like it was my night.”

So Toby figured that spending time with his friend and idol sounded better than waiting around to not win an award.

“That’s important to me, getting a chance to enjoy some of the stuff I grew up wanting to do,” he says. “But I did feel real bad when they said my name and “Entertainer of the Year.”

There’s always the upcoming CMAs, where “Beer for My Horses” is nominated for Single, Song, Vocal Event — and Music Video of the Year, for it’s imaginative clip featuring Willie and Toby as father and son police detectives chasing a killer.

The two are lining up tour dates together, including a New Year’s Eve show. Willie is currently making a new album with Toby’s producer, which will include at least one song Toby wrote. And both men say they’re reading and willing to duet again.

“I’ve had a lot of fun singing with Toby,” declares Willie. “He’s one of us.”

But one question remains: Do horses really like beer?

“Good God yeah” says Willie. “It’s got wheat, barley, corn — why wouldn’t a horse like it? It’s horse soup.”

This day in Willie Nelson History: “The Party’s Over” (Jun 8, 1966)

Monday, June 8th, 2015


On June 8, 1966, Willie Nelson recorded “The Party’s Over.

The song gave Don Meredith a song to sing on Monday Night Football.


This day in Willie Nelson history (5/27/10): Austin names Willie Nelson Boulevard

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015


photo:  Janis Tillerson

On May 27, 2010, the Austin City Council voted to honor Willie Nelson, by naming portion of Second Street as Willie Nelson Boulevard.


This day in Willie Nelson history: “Beer for My Horses” receives ACM Best Video award (5/26/04)

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

On May 26, 2004, the music video for “Beer for my Horses”, the Toby Keith/Willie Nelson duet, received the Best Video award by the Academy of Country Music Awards at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. For what, I believe, is the best five-minute movie ever.

This day in Willie Nelson history: CMT Crossroads with Sheryl Crow (5/21/2002)

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Photo: Rick Diamond

On May 21, 2002, Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow tape an installment of “CMT Crossroads” on the Sony Pictures lot in Los Angeles. Here is the entire show, as it aired on June 7, 2002.

Enjoy the entire show that someone uploaded to youtube.

Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow met first in 1999 when they were part of a New York tribute concert honoring Johnny Cash. Nelson and Crow opened their CMT Crossroads taping with “Jackson,” one of the songs they performed at the Cash tribute. As they did in New York, Nelson played Cash to Crow’s June Carter.

Their friendship has grown since their first meeting. Crow, raised in a musical household in Missouri, reveres Nelson as the “king of phrasing” and “the voice that was the soundtrack to my childhood.” Nelson regards Crow as a worthy musical colleague, an inheritor of his musical “outlaw” spirit and a fit audience for his dirty jokes.

Nelson played an electric guitar throughout the night instead of his battered classical acoustic, dubbed “Trigger.” (Crow said her instruments have no names, but she might refer to them as “my little money makers.”) “My guitar,” Nelson explained, “is on the way to Amsterdam [for a European tour]. I am following soon behind.”

The singers each took care to match the other’s vocal phrasing, casting sidelong glances at each other throughout their performance. Of “Let It Be Me,” Nelson proclaimed the duo “happy to be resurrecting a great song.” He toyed with the familiar phrasing and seemed to challenge Crow to do the same. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was tasty,” she said after the first take.


01. Jackson
02. Abilene
03. City of New Orleans
04. Let It Be Me
05. It’s So Easy
06. You Remain
07. Crazy

This day in Willie Nelson history: Willie Nelson receives Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music (5/11/13)

Monday, May 11th, 2015

by: Johanna Kaiser

Some of the most respected names in music celebrated the next generation of singers, songwriters, performers, and producers Saturday at Berklee College of Music’s commencement ceremony.

Award-winning musicians Carole King, Willie Nelson, and Annie Lennox joined 6,000 students, friends and family members at Berklee’s commencement ceremony at Agganis Arena Saturday morning to receive honorary doctorates of music.

During her commencement address, Lennox, best known as a member of the duo Eurythmics and for her solo music career, looked back on her journey to becoming a famous singer-songwriter.

“I didn’t even know that such a thing was possible,” she said, recalling her parents paying for music lessons even when it was hard to make ends meet, her first instruments, and some of her first performances.

Lennox, who has won four Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, the American Music Awards Lifetime Achievement, Billboard’s Century Award, said she hoped her story would inspire the graduates and show them the “value of unorthodoxy.”

From The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, from Marvin Gaye to Aretha Franklin, Lennox recalled the musicians of the 1960s and 1970s that inspired her and to the delight of the more than 1,050 graduating students she even belted out lines from songs some of their songs—including on by fellow honoree King.

“I realized that I had to unlearn just about everything I had been taught about music and embrace the spectacular notion that I actually was a singer-songwriter and I was going to my own thing in my own way,” she said


Lennox, King, and Nelson for the joined students for a concert Friday night where students paid tribute the musicians and performed with Nelson and longtime collaborator Kris Kristofferson.

dr nelson 2

“The history of music has been good, but the future is even better thanks to you folks,” Nelson told the more than 1,050 graduating students—the largest graduating class in school history–after receiving his honorary degree.

Berklee president Roger H. Brown congratulated the students on their achievements, but urged them to use their success to benefit others.

“Not only did they excel in music, but they used their music to do something good in the world,” Brown said. “I hope you students will take note of that.”

King has worked with environmental groups to support forest wilderness preservation, and Nelson co-founded Farm Aid to assist American family farmers. Lennox is an ambassador for UNAIDS, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and the British Red Cross, and has worked to prevent gender-based violence and the spread of HIV around the world.

“So let us go and work and expand that spirit of creative and harmonious community far behind the confines of our small campus,” Brown said.

Lennox, who dropped out of the Royal Academy of Music in London and worked as a waitress before forming the Eurythmics with David Stewart, reminded the graduating students, who ranged in age 19 to 57, that they could go anywhere from here.

“Wherever you think you’re heading right now, you might turn out to take a completely different route down a completely different path,” she said. “And what looks like the end might actually be the start of a brand new beginning.”

by:  Sarah Rodman

His songs have no doubt healed many hearts over the course of his legendary career, but now it’s official: Willie Nelson is a doctor.

On Saturday, the Berklee College of Music in Boston awarded Willie an honorary doctor of music degree. He briefly addressed the graduates, telling them, “The history of music has been good, but the future is even better thanks to you folks.”

Willie got to know some of the students Friday night (May 10) when he took part in the annual commencement concert, jamming with them on his tune “Night Life” and Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya (On the Bayou),” for which he was joined by good friend Kris Kristofferson. Kris also surprised Willie on Saturday when he donned a cap and gown to help bestow the doctorate honors onstage.

In a chat on his bus before the show, Willie said he was humbled to receive the honors and tickled that the students were so well-versed in his music. “I’m naturally shocked and surprised that this whole thing is happening to begin with, and to have a bunch of young musicians that are very knowledgeable of your music and are playing it, that’s very good.”

When asked what advice he might have for the aspiring musicians, Willie said he only ever gave one piece of advice: “Don’t take my advice, do what you want to do. If it’s something that you believe in, don’t take no for an answer.”

It’s a philosophy that has served him well.

This day in Willie Nelson History: “The Tao of Willie” released (2006)

Saturday, May 9th, 2015


When the evenin’ sun goes down
You will find me hangin’ ’round
Oh, the night life, it ain’t no good life
but it’s my life

–Willie Nelson, “Nightlife”

Scuffling around as a young man looking for a way to get ahead, I landed in Fort Worth, where I played dance halls on Saturday night and taught Sunday school the next morning.

Church folks like to have a good time, too, so I used to sing “Amazing Grace” on Sunday morning to some of the same people who’d heard me sing “Whiskey River” on Saturday night. I didn’t have any problem with that, and neither did they.

The minister at the church, unfortunately, couldn’t see the beauty of this arrangement. Maybe he wasn’t aware that contradiction exists in all of us. Or maybe I hadn’t connected to him the way I had with his congregation.

Much of life can be summed up as connecting with other people. You may accomplish that with an easy smile, by being a good friend, or by lending a hand when you can. Maybe you do it through all of those and more. Someone repeatedly saying they’re your friend is not nearly so convincing as repeated displays of friendship.

In all things, your actions do speak louder than words.

The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart
Willie Nelson with Turk Pipkin

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Earth to LA Concert” (May 6, 2004)

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015


On May 6, 2004, Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow participate in an environmental benefit, “Earth To L.A.–The Greatest Show On Earth!” The $500 ticket also features Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Farrell.

– NRDC’s (Natural Resources Defense Council) biennial fundraiser “Earth to L.A.! – The Greatest Show on the
Earth,” featuring Tom Hanks as host and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as keynote
speaker, has emerged as the hottest ticket in town. The irreverent evening of
music, message and comedy, to be held on Thursday, May 6 at the Wadsworth
Theatre in Los Angeles, sold out in record time. It has also already exceeded
NRDC’s financial goal by raising over $2.5 million to advance the
environmental organization’s mission to safeguard the Earth’s natural
resources; far surpassing previous benchmarks.

“The level of support for this event is truly unprecedented,” said NRDC
trustee Laurie David, who created “Earth to L.A.!” four years ago. “The
entertainment community cares deeply about what is happening to our
environment. From the writers, to the talent in the show, to all of the
people donating their time to make this event happen — everyone wants to
support NRDC.”

“Earth to L.A.!” is designed to raise awareness about environmental
problems, particularly global warming. More than 90 cents of every dollar
raised from the event will be used for NRDC’s programs to protect the planet.

The live show will include standup comedy, musical performances and
sharp-edged commentary and appearances by Willie Nelson, Jack Black, Sheryl Crow, Larry
David, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Ferrell, Diane Keaton, Stephen Colbert, Eric
Idle and Meg Ryan.

The night also features a “green carpet” celebrity arrival event with some
of Hollywood’s top talent who are NRDC supporters, including: Toby Maguire,
Ben Stiller, Pierce Brosnan, Albert Brooks, Carole King, Julia Louis-Dreyfus,
Tom Ford, Rob Reiner, Rita Wilson, Martin Short, and Mark Burnett.

“We have had tremendous support from great friends, supporters and
sponsors including Ralph Lauren Fragrances, who have been instrumental in
helping us raise money and awareness for NRDC’s critical work,” said Elizabeth
Wiatt, NRDC trustee and event co-chair. Wiatt co-founded NRDC’s Action and
Executive Forums, which lobby the government on environmental issues.

Event chairs for “Earth to L.A.!” are Larry David, Cindy Horn, Jim Wiatt
and NRDC trustees Laurie David, Alan Horn, Peter Morton and Elizabeth Wiatt.
Emmy Award-winning producer Joel Gallen is overseeing production, and Academy
Award-nominated designer Michael Riva will once again create the sets. Ralph
Lauren Fragrances is the premier sponsor of the event’s after-party.
Underwriters include Warner Bros., MTV Networks, HBO and Village Roadshow

NRDC is making the concert Climate Cool(TM) by purchasing clean power from
Vermont-based NativeEnergy, which will offset every ton of global warming
emissions generated by the event, including all power for the sound and
lights. Clean power proceeds will help build a wind farm on the Rosebud Sioux
Reservation in South Dakota and support Northwest wind farms that generate
energy without the heat-trapping pollution that causes global warming.

NRDC’s lawyers, scientists and policy analysts are often described as the
most effective environmental advocates in the nation. NRDC’s purpose is to
safeguard the Earth, its people, its plants and animals, and the natural
systems on which all life depends. In 1970, when there were few environmental
laws on the books to protect our water, air and wilderness, several leading
attorneys identified the need to create a law firm with one client — the
Earth. For over 30 years, NRDC has helped craft, pass and defend some of the
nation’s key environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act and the
Endangered Species Act.

NRDC’s strategy is to get results using the most effective tools
available, whether it’s working with the construction industry to promote
wood-efficient building techniques, or mobilizing public opinion to force the
Environmental Protection Agency to enact stricter guidelines to protect
children from harmful chemicals. Today, NRDC has more than 1 million members
and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington,
Santa Monica and San Francisco. For more information visit

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Texas 150: A Celebration Special (4/28/1986)

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015


On April 28, 1986, ABC News broadcast “Texas 150: A Celebration Special” with Willie Nelson, George Strait, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Lee, Delbert McClinton, Gary Morris, Johnny Rodriguez, Charley Pride, B.J. Thomas and others