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

This day in Willie Nelson history: “On the Road Again” joins Grammy Hall of Fame

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

www.CMT.com

On December 10, 2010, the Grammy Foundation announced that Willie Nelson’s 1980 single, “On the Road Again,” is one of 30 songs joining the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Other selections  include “Lovesick Blues” (1949) by Hank Williams With His Drifting Cowboys and “Steel Guitar Rag” (1936) by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys featuring Leon McAuliffe. Honored recordings must be at least 25 years old and be recognized for their “lasting qualitative or historical significance,” according to press materials. Recordings are reviewed annually by a committee of recording industry professionals and final approval is made by the Recording Academy Trustees. The list now totals 881 recordings.

This day in Willie Nelson history: Grand Ole’ Opry Debut (11/28/64)

Friday, November 28th, 2014

On November 28, 1964, Willie Nelson made his Grand Ole Opry debut, as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly Saturday night country music radio program broadcast live on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the oldest continuous radio program in the United States, having been broadcast on WSM since November 28, 1925. It is also televised and promotes live performances both in Nashville and on the road.

History

The Grand Ole Opry started out as the WSM Barn Dance in the new fifth floor radio station studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company. The featured performer on the first show was Uncle Jimmy Thompson, a fiddler who was then 77 years old. The announcer was program director George D. Hay, known on the air as “The Solemn Old Judge.” He was only 30 at the time and was not a judge, but was an enterprising pioneer who launched the Barn Dance as a spin-off of his National Barn Dance program at WLS Radio in Chicago, Illinois. Some of the bands regularly featured on the show during its early days included the Possum Hunters, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the Crook Brothers and the Gully Jumpers. They arrived in this order. However, Judge Hay liked the Fruit Jar Drinkers and asked them to appear last on each show because he wanted to always close each segment with “red hot fiddle playing.” They were the second band accepted on the “Barn Dance.” And, when the Opry began having square dancers on the show, the Fruit Jar Drinkers always played for them.

In 1926, Uncle Dave Macon, a Tennessee banjo player who had recorded several songs and toured the vaudeville circuit, became its first real star. The name Grand Ole Opry came about in December, 1927. The Barn Dance followed NBC Radio Network’s Music Appreciation Hour, which consisted of classical music and selections from grand opera. Their final piece that night featured a musical interpretation of an onrushing railroad locomotive. In response to this Judge Hay quipped, “Friends, the program which just came to a close was devoted to the classics. Doctor Damrosch told us that there is no place in the classics for realism. However, from here on out for the next three hours, we will present nothing but realism. It will be down to earth for the ‘earthy’.” He then introduced the man he dubbed the Harmonica Wizard — DeFord Bailey who played his classic train song “The Pan American Blues”. After Bailey’s performance Hay commented, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’” The name stuck and has been used for the program since then.

As audiences to the live show increased, National Life & Accident Insurance’s radio venue became too small to accommodate the hordes of fans. They built a larger studio, but it was still not large enough. The Opry then moved into then-suburban Hillsboro Theatre (now the Belcourt), then to the Dixie Tabernacle in East Nashville and then to the War Memorial Auditorium, a downtown venue adjacent to the State Capitol. A twenty-five cent admission began to be charged, in part an effort to curb the large crowds, but to no avail. In 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium.

On October 2, 1954, a teenage Elvis Presley made his first (and only) performance there. Although the public reacted politely to his revolutionary brand of rockabilly music, after the show he was told by one of the organizers that he ought to return to Memphis to resume his truck-driving career, prompting him to swear never to return. Ironically, years later Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.

The Ryman was home to the Opry until 1974, when the show moved to the 4,400-seat Grand Ole Opry House, located several miles to the east of downtown Nashville on a former farm in the Pennington Bend of the Cumberland River. An adjacent theme park, called Opryland USA, preceded the new Opry House by two years. Due to sagging attendance, the park was shuttered and demolished after the 1997 season by the Opry’s current owner, Gaylord Entertainment Company. The theme park was replaced by the Opry Mills Mall. An adjacent hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, is the largest non-gambling hotel in North America and is the site of dozens of conventions annually.

Still, the Opry continues, with hundreds of thousands of fans traveling from around the world to Nashville to see the music and comedy on the Opry in person.

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Wanted: The Outlaws” — 1st country album to go platinum

Monday, November 24th, 2014

On November 24, 1976, “Wanted: the Outlaws” became the first country album to receive the new platinum certification, signifying one million units shipped.

The album, featuring Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and Jessie Colter was certified gold on March 30, 1976.

This day in Willie Nelson history, on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists List (11/23/11)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

photo:  Paul Natkin, Photo Reserve, Inc.
www.RollingStone.com

Like his conversational singing, Willie Nelson’s guitar playing is deceptively laidback, playfully offbeat and instantly recognizable. Amazingly, Nelson has been playing the same Martin M-20 classical guitar, nicknamed Trigger, since 1969; it has defined his sound, a nylon-stabbing mix of country, blues and Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz. Though  the guitar now has a large gaping hole, Nelson still plays it nightly. “I have  come to believe we were fated for each other,” he said. “The two of us even look alike. We are both pretty battered and bruised.”

We assembled a panel of top guitarists and other experts to rank their favorites and explain what separates the legends from everyone else.  Read about The Voters.

1. Jimi Hendrix; 2. Eric Clapton; 3. Jimmy Page; 4. Keith Richards; 5. Jeff Beck; 6. B.B. King; 7. Chuck Berry; 8 Eddie Van Halen; 9. Duane Allman; 10. Pete Townsend; 11. George Harrison; 12. Stevie Ray Vaughan; 13. Albert King; 14. David Gilmore; 15. Freddie King; 16. Derek Trucks; 17. Neil Young; 18 Les Paul; 19. James Burton; 20. Carlos Santana;  21. Chet Atkins; 22. Frank Zappa; 23. Buddy Guy; 24. Angus Young; 25. Tony Iommi; 26. Brian May; 27. Bo Diddley; 28. Joey Ramone; 29. Scotty Moore; 30. Elmore James; 31. Ry Cooder; 32. Billy Gibbons; 33. Prince; 34. Curtis Mayfield; 35. John Lee Hooker; 36. Randy Rhoads; 37. Mick Taylor; 38. The Edge; 39. Steve Cropper; 40. Tom Morello;  41. Mick Ronson; 42. Michael Bloomfield; 43. Hubert Sumlin; 44. Mark Knofler; 45. Link Wray; 46. Jerry Garcia; 47. Stephen Stills; 48. Jonny Greenwood; 49. Muddy Waters, 50. Richie Blackmore; 51. Johnny Marr; 52. Clarence White; 53. Otis Rush; 54. Joe Walsh; 55. John Lennon; 56. Albert Collis; 57. Rory Gallagher; 58. Peter Green; 59. Robbie Robertson; 60. Ron Asheton; 61. Dickey Betts; 52. Robert Fripp; 63. Johnny Winter; 64. Duane Eddy; 65. Slash; 66. Leslie West; 67. T-Bone Walker; 68. John McLaughlin; 69.  Richard Thompson; 70. Jack White; 71. Robert Johnson; 72. John Frusicante; 73. Kurt Cobain; 74. Dick Dale; 75. Joni Mitchell; 76. Robbie Krieger; 77. Willie Nelson; 78. John Fahey; 79. Mike Campbell; 80. Buddy Holly; 81. Lou Reed; 82. Nels Cline; 83. Eddie Hazel; 84. Joe Perry; 85. Andy Summers; 86. J. Mascis; 87. James Hetfield; 88. Carl Perkins; 89. Bonnie Raitt; 90. Tom Verlaine; 91. Dave Davies; 92. Dimebag Darrell; 93. Paul Simon; 94. Peter Buck; 95. Roger McGuinn; 96. Bruce Springsteen; 97. Steve Jones; 98.  Alex Lifeson; 99. Thurston Moore; 100. Lindsay Buckingham.

Read about all 100 at Rolling Stone site. 
CONTRIBUTORS: David Browne, Patrick Doyle, David Fricke,  Will Hermes, Brian Hiatt, Alan Light, Rob Tannenbaum, Douglas Wolk

This day in Willie Nelson history, “Come Early Morning” Soundtrack (Nov. 10, 2006)

Monday, November 10th, 2014

comearly

On November 10, 2006, the Ashley Judd soundtrack to the movie “Come Early Morning” was released. The soundtrack features Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Eddy Raven, Don Gibson, Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan, Jim Chesnut, Emmylou Harris and Billy Joe Shaver.

earlymorning
Nov 10, 2006

Tracklisting
1. Killing the Blues – The Malcolm Holcombe Group
2. End of the Wine – Misty Morgan/Jack Blanchard
3. Going to See Cal
4. The Way I Am – Merle Haggard
5. Don’t Knock – Taylor Grocery Band
6. An Invitation and a Kiss
7. Silver Wings – Merle Haggard
8. Frog Leg Champ
9. I Got Mexico – Eddy Raven
10. Goodnight Lucy
11. Oh Lonesome Me – Don Gibson
12. Movin’ Out, Movin’ Up and Movin’ On – Troy Cook Jr./The Long Haul Band
13. Argument in the Parking Lot
14. I’m Going Nowhere – Troy Cook Jr./The Long Haul Band
15. What’s Done Is Done – Jeannie Max Lane
16. Owen Is Leaving
17. Jesus on the Main Line – Taylor Grocery Band
18. Gaining Strength
19. Get Back to Loving Me – Jim Chestnut
20. Daddy and Daughter
21. Leavin’ Ain’t the Only Way to Go – Eric James Jochmans
22. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces – Willie Nelson/Emmylou Harris
23. Lucy is Free
24. Old Chuck of Coal – Billy Joe Shaver
25. It Anybody Asks You (Callin’) – Shannon Boshears

This day in Willie Nelson history: “On the Road Again” #1 on Billboard Country Singles Chart (1980)

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

ontheroadagain.

On November 8, 1980, Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” rose to #1 on Billboard Country Singles chart.

Willie Nelson performs “On The Road Again” live at the US Festival, 1983. “On the Road Again” became Nelson’s 9th Country & Western No. 1 hit overall in November 1980. In addition, the song reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his biggest pop hit to that time. Nelson won Grammy Award for Best Country Song a year later. Buy the entire concert here at: http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/1…

This day in Willie Nelson history: ‘City of New Orleans’ (#1 Billboard) (Nov. 3, 1984)

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

city

On November 3, 1984, Willie Nelson’s recording of the song, ‘City Of New Orleans” is #1 on the Billboard country chart.

Here is a great video of scenes from old trains, set to Willie Nelson’s recording of the song.

robestes

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Come Early Morning” soundtrack (10/31/06)

Friday, October 31st, 2014

comearly

On November 10, 2006, the Ashley Judd movie “Come Early Morning” debuts in theaters. The soundtrack features Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Eddy Raven, Don Gibson, Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan, Jim Chesnut, Emmylou Harris and Billy Joe Shaver.

earlymorning
Nov 10, 2006

Tracklisting
1. Killing the Blues – The Malcolm Holcombe Group
2. End of the Wine – Misty Morgan/Jack Blanchard
3. Going to See Cal
4. The Way I Am – Merle Haggard
5. Don’t Knock – Taylor Grocery Band
6. An Invitation and a Kiss
7. Silver Wings – Merle Haggard
8. Frog Leg Champ
9. I Got Mexico – Eddy Raven
10. Goodnight Lucy
11. Oh Lonesome Me – Don Gibson
12. Movin’ Out, Movin’ Up and Movin’ On – Troy Cook Jr./The Long Haul Band
13. Argument in the Parking Lot
14. I’m Going Nowhere – Troy Cook Jr./The Long Haul Band
15. What’s Done Is Done – Jeannie Max Lane
16. Owen Is Leaving
17. Jesus on the Main Line – Taylor Grocery Band
18. Gaining Strength
19. Get Back to Loving Me – Jim Chestnut
20. Daddy and Daughter
21. Leavin’ Ain’t the Only Way to Go – Eric James Jochmans
22. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces – Willie Nelson/Emmylou Harris
23. Lucy is Free
24. Old Chuck of Coal – Billy Joe Shaver
25. It Anybody Asks You (Callin’) – Shannon Boshears

This day in Willie Nelson History: Grand Opening of Patsy Cline Theater (10/29/09)

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

On October 29, 2009, Willie Nelson and Family performed in Winchester, West Virginia, at the official grand opening of the Patsy Cline Theater. Patsy’s husband and daughter attended the festivities.

Thanks again to Christian Schweiger, co-producer of the event, for sharing with me about the show, and sending me one of the programs and post cards from the

Local singers opened the show for Willie Nelson and his band, and they got the shirts to prove it.

Photo by:  Rick Foster

“I recorded a song called “I Fall to Pieces,” and I was in a car wreck. Now I’m worried because I have a brand-new record, and it’s called “Crazy”!”-Patsy Cline

 

patsy4

Thanks to Christian Schweiger, Schweiger/Dearing Production, for sharing artwork  for the dedication of the Patsy Cline Theater in Winchester, VA in 2009.

patsy1patsy3
patsy2

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Good Hearted Woman” recorded in Nashville (10/21/1971)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Oct 21, 1971 Willie Nelson records a solo version of “Good Hearted Woman” in an afternoon session at Nashville’s RCA Studio B. A duet version of the song with Waylon Jennings becomes a standard four years later

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame” (10/14/1973)

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

img750

 

On October 14, 1973 Willie Nelson was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame, along with Jack Clement (“Ballad Of A Teenage Queen”), Don Gibson (“I Can’t Stop Loving You”), Harlan Howard (“Busted”), Roger Miller, and Ed and Steve Nelson (“Bouquet Of Roses”).

http://www.nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com/

Willie Nelson, inducted 1973

Former Occupations:
cotton picker, encyclopedia salesman,
farmer, saddle maker, plumber,
vacuum cleaner salesman, disc jockey,
U.S. Air Force (during the Korean War)Â

Education:
High School–Abbott High School (graduated in 1951)
College–Baylor University (studied agriculture and business)
College–Waco University (from 3/54 to 7/54)

 

This day in Willie Nelson history: Grand Opening “SiriusXM” Radio Station in Austin (10/12/12)

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

opening

On October 12, 2012, SiriusXM Radio celebrated the opening of its new studio at ACL Live on Willie Nelson Blvd. in Austin, TX with a historic broadcast on SIRIUS XM Willie’s Roadhouse.

Host Dallas Wayne was joined in-studio by Willie Nelson, as well as Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Melissa Etheridge, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kinky Friedman, Johnny Bush, Junior Brown, Amber Digby, Darrell & Mona McCall, Justin Trevino and Tommy Alverson.

See more great pictures of Willie Nelson and others at Sirius/XM Radio’s Willie’s Roadhouse Facebook page.

grandopening

Sirius/XM Producer Jeremy Tepper, Willie Nelson, Dallas Wayne at grand opening celebration for opening Sirius/XM Satellite Studio.
austin4

 

This day in WIllie Nelson History (10/11/1981)

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

sign

On October 11, 1981, Willie Nelson recorded “Always On My Mind” and “The Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning” at his Pedernales Studio outside of Austin, Texas.

This day in Willie Nelson History (“Yesterday’s Wine”, by Merle Haggard, George Jones #1 on Billboard Country) (10/9/82)

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

On October 9, 1982, Merle Haggard & George Jones rendiation o fWillie Nelson’s, “Yesterday’s Wine,” to #1 on the Billboard country chart

This day in Willie Nelson history: Farm Aid 2000, Bristow, VA (9/17/2000)

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


by Andrew Essex
Rolling Stone
October 26, 2000

When Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp founded Farm Aid in 1985, Ronald Reagan ran the Oval Office, big hair ruled and Britney Spears was three. A lot has changed in the past fifteen years, but if you happen to own a family farm, chances are you’re hurting worse than ever. Despite a raging economy, the average independent farmer currently earns about $7,00000 a year off his own land. Originally conceived to assist the kind of foreclosure devastated town that Mellencamp and Nelson grew up in Farm Aid must now contend with plummeting crop prices and the explosion of corporate agribusiness. Though it has spread about $15 million in grants through forty-four states (from legal support to drought relief to a crisis hotline), America’s 1.9 million family farmers — the little guys depicted in Mellencamp’s “Rain on the Scarecrow” — are still in bad shape.

“I thought the first Farm Aid would be enough to convince all the smart people how much we needed to do,” said Nelson before the concert began. “Things continue to get worse,” added a stone-faced Young. “It’s not what we wanted.”

All of this goes a long way toward explaining the tense mood at the Farm Aid 2000 pre concert news conference. At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 17th, under a tent beside the Nissan Pavilion, a grassy outdoor shed in Bristow, Virginia, Nelson and Young found themselves seated on a dais set with hay bale, gourds, and Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader.

Though Nelson had issued personal invitations to all four presidential candidates, George W. Bush had passed. Young wasn’t pleased: “Notably absent,” he pointed out after shaking hands with Buchanan, “Is anyone from the Bush campaign? Looks like another one of Bush’s great moves.” (“His idea of a good farm program,” groaned one Texas cattle rancher, “is Hee Haw,”)

Meanwhile, Al Gore, who had the day off, had sent Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota in his place. Buchanan clearly relished the open-minded audience. “Factory-farm cartels,” he told the crowd, “are shafting the America farmer.” Nader, already a big favorite with the disgruntled farmers, was treated to savior-like applause. He called the family-farm situation “the worst since the Depression – a human tragedy.”

It wasn’t the kind of morning that made you want to break into song. By all rights, the opening of Farm Aid 2000 should have been a jubilant occasion. To commemorate its fifteenth anniversary, the organization was releasing its first CD: Farm Aid: Volume One Live, which feature best of performances by Dave Matthews Band, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Young, Mellencamp and — Farm Aid’s oddest double bill – Beck and Willie Nelson playing “Peach Picking Time Down in Georgia” (the double CD does leave out Guns n’ Roses, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Don Henley and several other alums).

After skipping 1988, ’89 and ’91, and surviving Nelson’s distracting IRS situation, Farm Aid has settled into a well-oiled annual event. Even the weather was perfect. Still, the dark mood persisted. For all the unimpeachable good intentions, some farmers grudgingly admitted that Farm Aid has a long, long way to go.

“It’s pretty bad out there,” said George Naylor, a third-generation corn-an-soybean man from Churdan, Iowa. “A lot of my colleagues are driving trucks.” Others worried that making Farm Aid into an annual event risked afflicting young people with “Compassion fatigue” — becoming sort of like an agricultural Jerry Lewis telethon. Nader wouldn’t hear of it. “Come on” he said, insulted by the idea. “Look at slavery, the women’s movement, civil rights. Don’t do it. Stand up and fight for something.”

In his trailer a few moments before showtime, Nelson pondered the fatigue question. “I don’t even think about that,” he said. “It took longer than fifteen years for the Berlin Wall to come down. We’re not going away ‘win, lose or draw.'”

Half a day later, it was clear that the commitment to what Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar calls “rolling a rock up a hill” had energized the performers. After Arlo Guthrie turned in a rousing set that would have made his father, Woody, proud — he’d earlier said that family farmers had been reduced to “a class of serfs” — things accelerated following workmanlike sets by Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson and Barenaked Ladies. Young re-emerged in a red “STOP FACTORY FARMS Shirt and delivered a kind of modified Crazy Horse set, complete with those staggeringly raunchy guitar solos that drive the guys in Pearl Jam crazy.

As the lat light faded from the sky, Mellencamp finally appeared. His set was all acoustic, including a violin-driven version of “I Saw You First,” sung by Eighties teenpop star Tiffany. Mellencamp was entirely without politics. He didn’t utter a single word about farming.

Fortunately, Young was willing to say enough for everyone. Back onstage with former partners Crosby, Stills and Nash to sing “Marakesh Express,” “Love the One You’re With” and others, he told the cheering crowd, “We need more decisions made at kitchen tables, not boardrooms in New York City or Chicago.”

At press time, the 2000 edition was unable to divulge the evening’s take — in the past, Farm Aid has raised slightly more than $1 per event — though a spokeswoman said there was no reason to expect that the tradition wouldn’t continue. “It looks pretty crowded out there,” she said.

Of course, no Farm Aid performance is complete without a closing set from Willie Nelson and his enormous band, which included Rep. Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, who’s forming a caucus for politicians who play music. Then Nelson announced a special guest. The name Gore echoed through the venue — but it wasn’t Al. Suddenly, Tipper Gore was sitting behind a conga set, jamming along with Willie. Let the record show that the second lady has a find sense of rhythm. “She’s pretty good,” offered Peterson.

As the music wound down, former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, a longtime Farm Aid associate, seemed to best sum up the event’s future. “Farm Aid’s got to raise less corn,” he said “and a lot more hell.”
Laying down his guitar, Nelson agreed. “We won’t survive if we don’t” he said. “But we’re stubborn. We’re determined to get things done.

To donate to Farm Aid, or learn more about how they help farmers:
www.FarmAid.org.

September 17, 2000
Bristow, Virginia

After a successful show at the Nissan Pavilion in 1999, Farm Aid brought its 15th Anniversary show to an enthusiastic audience in Virginia in 2000. Farm Aid 2000 was blessed with a sunny day and a lineup which included Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Arlo Guthrie, Sawyer Brown, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, the Barenaked Ladies and even Tipper Gore on drums with Willie Nelson and Family! The day began with a forum that included farmers and presidential candidates.

Before the concert, Willie Nelson issued a Letter to America urging voters and candidates to remember family farmers on election day. During the concert on CMT: Country Music Television, we aired a piece about the dangers of synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone or rBGH. As always, Farm Aid used the concert as not only entertainment, but also as an opportunity to educate people about important food and farm issues that affect us all.

www.FarmAid.org