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

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

This day in Willie Nelson history: Farm Aid VI (1993) (Ames, Iowa)

Friday, April 24th, 2015


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.

Neil Young, Willie Nelson, “Four Strong Winds” (Farm Aid IV) (April 24, 2015)

Friday, April 24th, 2015

This day in Willie Nelson history: “Half Nelson” awarded Gold Album status

Monday, April 6th, 2015


On April 6, 1987, Willie Nelson received a gold album for his duets compilation, “Half Nelson”.

Track List:

1. “Pancho and Lefty”, with Merle Haggard
2. “Slow Movin’ Outlaw”, withLacy J. Dalton
3. “Are There Any More Real Cowboys?”, with Neil Young
4. “I Told a Lie to My Heart”, with Hank Williams
5. “Texas on a Saturday Night”, with Mel Tillis
6. “Seven Spanish Angels” Ray Charles
7. “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”, with Julio Iglesias
8. “They All Went To Mexico, with Carlos Santana
10. “Half a Man”, with George Jones

This is one of the songs from the album.  You can listen to all the great duets here:

This day in Willie Nelson history: Leon Russell @Grand Ole Opry House, with Willie Nelson (April 2, 1979)

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015


On April 2, 1979, Leon Russell makes his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry House, playing piano with Willie Nelson.   Crystal Gayle was in the audience.

This day in Willie Nelson History: “Crazy” chosen for inclusion in Library of Congress (3/19/2004)

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

On March 19, 2004, the Library of Congress adds 50 titles to its National Recording Registry. The new additions include Willie Nelson’s, “Crazy”, sung by Patsy Cline; “Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison,”and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys’ “New San Antonio Rose,” plus music by Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Carole King.

This day in Willie Nelson History: Dripping Springs (3/17/1972)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015


On March 17, 1972, Willie Nelson performed in Dripping Springs, Texas, along with Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Roy Acuff, Buck Owens, Kris Kristofferson, Tex Ritter and Tom T. Hall.

This day in Willie Nelson history: Farm Aid V (Irving, Texas) (1992)

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

March 14, 1992

Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid V plays to about 40,000 fans in Irving, Texas, with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Joe Walsh, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lorrie Morgan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ricky Van Shelton, The Kentucky HeadHunters, Hal Ketchum and Paul Simon.

Economic Recovery starts in the Heartland with Family Farmers” was Farm Aid’s theme for 1992. Farmers Home Administration sent out 40,000 foreclosure notices to troubled farms. The impact of the loss of these farms on rural communities was devastating. Every five farms that closed down took one small business with them. Small towns across America were being boarded up. Schools, hospitals and farm houses were left empty.

Willie Nelson and Farm Aid helped to bring this to the attention of the new Clinton Administration. Farm Aid joined family farm organizations in expressing hope for greater access to this administration in order to change federal policies to support family farming.

Arc Angels
Asleep At The Wheel
Bandaloo Doctors
Eddie Brickell
Mary-Chapin Carpenter
Tracy Chapman
Mark Chesnutt
John Conlee
Joe Ely
Geezinslaw Brothers
Georgia Satellites
Johnny Gimble
Arlo Guthrie
Merle Haggard
John Hiatt
Waylon Jennings
Kentucky Headhunters
Kris Kristofferson
Little Village
Lynyrd Skynyrd
John Mellencamp
Lorrie Morgan
Willie Nelson
Bonnie Raitt
Michelle Shocked
Paul Simon
Texas Tornadoes
Ricky Van Shelton
Joe Walsh
Jimmy Webb
Neil Young

This day in Willie Nelson history; induction into Austin Film Society Hall of Fame (3/11/2002)

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

On March 11, 2002, Willie Nelson was inducted into the Austin Film Society Hall of Time.  He was presented by Lyle Lovett and Billy Gibbons.

Willie Nelson’s musical reputation is matched by his sterling songwriting (“Crazy,” “Nightlife,” “On The Road Again”) but when he appeared in 1979’s THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, a character actor for the ages was born. His first starring role was in 1980’s HONEYSUCKLE ROSE with Amy Irving and Dyan Cannon, filmed around Austin, followed by the western BARBAROSA (1982) and the underrated SONGWRITER (1984).

Numerous TV parts came to the Abbott native while film roles such as RED-HEADED STRANGER (1986), GONE FISHIN’ and WAG THE DOG (1997), and STARDUST (2000) kept his big screen image popular. Nelson’s downhome appeal is most evident when he plays himself (AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, 1999) and he rallied a grieving nation performing “America The Beautiful” on AMERICA: A TRIBUTE FOR HEROES.

The Texas Film Hall of Fame, which operates under the auspices of the Austin Film Society, was co-founded in 2001 by Louis Black, the editor of The Austin Chronicle, and Evan Smith, Editor-In-Chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune and former editor of Texas Monthly. Every year, at a gala held at Austin Studios, on the site of the city’s onetime municipal airport, the Texas Film Hall of Fame inducts or honors Texans who’ve made a significant contribution to film or filmmaking, as well as non-Texans who’ve made significant strides in the advancement of the Texas film industry. Classic Texas films are also honored, with a member of the cast or crew accepting on behalf of his colleagues. In 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, the gala was emceed by Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, who died on September 13, 2006. The 2007 gala commemorated her passing by celebrating her life and her passion for film, emceed by New York columnist and 2001 Inductee Liz Smith.


This day in Willie Nelson history: “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” premiere in Nashville

Monday, March 9th, 2015


Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006)

On March 9, 2006, Willie Nelson attended a screening of the film “Neil Young: Heart Of Gold” at Nashville’s Green Hills 16, along with Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Jeff Hanna, Kim Carnes, Jon Randall and musicians Al Anderson, James Burton, Spooner Oldham and Ben Keith