The first Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place April 26, 2014. The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is located at The Moody Theater and consists of a photo gallery, timeline/anthology mural and an interactive online library of Austin City Limits content.
It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when Willie Nelson was not an American icon.
In the early ‘70s, Nelson was best-known for writing hits for other people. The Abbott, Texas native had a successful career as a Nashville songwriter (“Crazy,” “Hello Walls,” “Night Life,” etc.) but had not yet achieved recognition under his own name. In 1974 all that would change. With the release of 1973’s Shotgun Willie and 1974’s Phases and Stages, two imaginative and successful LPs, the stage was set for his career to take off.
Then on October 17, 1974, Willie and his Family band entered Studio 6A to record the pilot for Austin City Limits. Broadcast as part of the national pledge drive in March 1975, the show was one of the top programs on PBS that year, securing a future for ACL as a series.
Willie has appeared on the show 16 times, with six headlining slots (most recently in 2009), seven songwriters specials and three guest appearances with Johnny Rodriguez, Roger Miller and Asleep at the Wheel. Not only is he the artist who launched Austin City Limits, he’s also one of our most frequent – and favorite – guests.
All of America watched as the Flood of ’93 left thousands of Midwest families homeless. Heavy rains caused the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to rise up and overflow their banks, swallowing entire towns along the way. Eight million acres of crops were destroyed and 20 million acres were damaged. With their backs already against the wall due to heavy debt and low farm prices, Midwest family farmers had few resources left to deal with the effects of the flooding.
In response to the flood, Farm Aid created the Family Farm Disaster Fund to support organizations that worked directly with farm families stricken by the flood. When farmers needed help to avoid foreclosure due to losses from the flood, Farm Aid-funded groups were there to help them save their farms.
The 1993 concert included performances by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, the Highwaymen, Sawyer Brown, Bruce Hornsby, Martina McBride, the Kentucky HeadHunters, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam, Ringo Starr, Waylon Jennings, Bryan Adams, Paul Simon, Travis Tritt, Ricky Van Shelton and many others.
On April 9, 2003, Willie Nelson hosted a birthday concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City, celebrating his 70’t birthday. The special aired on USA tv. He invited friends Paul Simon, Ray Price, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, ZZ Top, Leon Russell, Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson and more.
On January 30, 2004, the movie “The Big Bounce”, opened.
Thank you, Mark, from Willie Nelson’s Museum and General Store, (www.WillieNelsonMuseum.com), for finding this gem, a still from the movie, “The Big Bounce” released in 2004, also starring Owen Wilson, Gary Sinese, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Sheen, Bebe Neuwirth, Harry Dean Stanton, Gregory Sporleder, Steve Jones, Director: George Armitage
on January 21, 1985: “Wanted: The Outlaws,” featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser, certifies double-platinum, along with the “Waylon & Willie” album.
In 1976, the album was the first country album to receive the new platinum certification, signifying one million units shipped.
My Heroes Have Always
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (Waylon)
Honky Tonk Heroes (Waylon)
I’m Looking for Blue Eyes (Jessi)
Suspicious Minds (Waylon and Jessi)
Good Hearted Woman (Waylon and Willie)
Heaven or Hell (Waylon and Willie
Me and Paul (Willie)
Yesterday’s Wine (Willie
T for Texas (Tompall)
Put Another Log on the Fire (Tompall)
It’s unfortunate that there still has to be a sampler, or primer, or golden book of some of the best singers working anywhere, but apparently not everyone has gotten the message yet. Maybe this album can introduce you to some people you would have liked to have known sooner but just didn’t have the opportunity to meet.
These are some special people, very special. They’ve been waiting in the wings for years, too many years, to assume their proper places in the structure of American Music. When it became apparent to them that their proper places were perhaps being unduly delayed becasue of certain resentments harbored against them because of their real and imagined unconventionality, they — by God — decided to take matters into their own hands. There resulted a rather difficult period of figurative doors being smashed and general confusion and namecalling in Nashville. When the smoke cleared and the fallout returned to earth, there was effected a major shift in country music. “Progressive Country” (for want of a better term) was on the map, and was here for good. And these are the people responsibile for that. Call them outlaws, call them innovators, call them revolutionaries, call them what you will. They’re just some damned find people who are also some of the most gifted songwriters and singers anywhere.
They are musical rebels, in one sense, in that they challenged the accepted way of doing things. Like all pioneers, they were criticized for that but time has vindicated them.
Tompall Glaser was one of the first in Nashville to chart his own musical course and it was lonely for him for years but now he is beginning to receive the recognition due him.
Waylon Jennings, as the most visible of the progressive country pack, has been quietly fighting for years in his own way for acceptance. Both he and Jessi Colter (who, coincidentally is also known as Mrs. Waylon Jennings) were authentically ahead of thier time. Now, the times have caught up with them.
That streak of rugged individualism that is the unifying bond for these musical outlaws is nowhere more evident than in Willie Nelson’s life and times. Unquestionably one of the finest songwriters who ever lived, Willie was known for years only to other writers and to a slowly growing cult of followers. All that has changed now. “Miracles appear in the strangest of places,” Willie sings in Yesterday’s Wine,” one of my favorites from his collection of remarkable songs, and that’s true. When I first started keeping track of Willie and Waylon and Jessi and Tompall, I (along with their other cult followers) felt almost responsible for them since they weren’t that well known to the public and the music industry as a whole didn’t like to acknowledge them. They didn’t wear Nudie suits and thier music didn’t confirm to the country norm of songs of divorce and alcohol and life’s other little miseries. The only thing that worried me was that I knew these people were born scrappers and really loved fighting for acceptance. What would happen to them, I wondered, when they inevitably won (as I knew they would)? Would they like so many who struggle just for the sake of the struggle, grow fat and lazy when they grew successful?
There was no need to worry. This last year each of them has gotten better, writing better, and singing with breathtaking confidence.
They’re the cutting edge of a brand of American music that I find the most satisfying development in popular music in the past decade. It’s not country and it’s not country-rock, but there’s no real need to worry about labeling it. It’s just damned good music that’s true and honest and you can’t ask for more than that.
On January 18, 1979, “Willie and Family Live” was at #1 on the country music album chart. The double album was recorded live at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Nevada in April 1978. EmmyLou Harris and Johnny Paycheck are featured on the album.
“Whiskey River” – 3:40
“Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)” – 3:24
“Funny How Time Slips Away” – 2:45
“Crazy” – 1:47
“Night Life” – 3:55
“If You’ve Got the Money (I’ve Got the Time)” – 1:44
“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” – 3:33
“I Can Get Off on You” – 2:06
“If You Could Touch Her at All” – 3:00
“Good Hearted Woman” – 2:57
“Red Headed Stranger Medley” 14:25
“Time of the Preacher” – 2:13
“I Couldn’t Believe It Was True” – 1:03
“Medley: Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger” – 2:40
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” – 2:29
“Red Headed Stranger” – 4:31
4. “Under the Double Eagle” – 2:43
“Till I Gain Control Again” – 5:59
“Bloody Mary Morning” – 3:33
“I’m a Memory” – 1:52
“Mr. Record Man” – 2:01
“Hello Walls” – 1:29
“One Day at a Time” – 2:05
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken” – 2:18
“Amazing Grace” – 5:12
“Take This Job and Shove It” – 2:52
“Uncloudy Day” – 3:40
“The Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” – 1:29
“A Song for You” – 2:43
“Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms” – 1:56
“Georgia on My Mind” – 4:09
“I Gotta Get Drunk” – 1:22
“Whiskey River” – 2:42
“The Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” – 2:12
Willie Nelson wins Favorite Country Male Artist award on January 16, 1984 at the American Music Awards. Willie Nelson is on tour, and the presenters Gregg Allman and John Schneider accept the award on his behalf.
Lost Highway releases Willie Nelson’s album “The Great Divide”
Maria (Shut Up And Kiss Me)
Last Stand In Open Country
Won’t Catch Me Cryin’
Be There For You
The Great Divide
Just Dropped In (To see what condition my condition was in)
Don’t Fade Away
Time After Time
On January 9th, 1990, Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album was certified quadruple-platinum
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
Forty-one years ago today, on Jan. 2, 1975, Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. The show’s inaugural episode, which aired as part of a PBS pledge drive, featured Willie Nelson as its very first guest.
ACL‘s original first episode actually taped on Oct. 13, 1974, and included an appearance by B.W. Stevenson. But when that recording was found unusable, Nelson became the first guest on the now-iconic show, singing “Good Hearted Woman,” “Whiskey River,” “Okie From Muskogee” and “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”
Austin City Limits was so popular that it was quickly made into a regular series. Although the show was designed to focus on Texas music, including Texas swing and Tejano music, it quickly became known as a place for talent of all genres to perform. The Foo Fighters, Alabama Shakes, Björk, Bruce Hornsby, Suzanne Vega and Nine Inch Nails are among the many, many artists who have graced the ACL stage.
In 2014, Austin City Limits aired a star-studded prime-time special in honor of its 40th anniversary, hosted by Jeff Bridges, Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey. Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson were among the performers during the two-hour show.
“This is a huge milestone for us,” ACL executive producer Terry Lickona said. “This show captures the essence of what Austin City Limits is all about. We set the bar high for this celebration, and we exceeded it! The lineup of talent speaks volumes about the respect that artists have for ACL.”
Austin City Limits is the longest-running music program in television history to date.
Also in 2014, Austin City Limits launched the ACL Hall of Fame. Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt are among the inductees so far.
More information on Austin City Limits, including a TV schedule, can be found on their website.