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

Willie Nelson & Family at the Apollo Theater – London, England (June 17, 2010)

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

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www.WillieNelson.com

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

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

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.”

Fun facts about Willie Nelson

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

ca. 1976, Dallas, Texas, USA — Willie Nelson — Image by © Philip Gould/CORBIS 

www.theboot.com
In a career that has encompassed performing, songwriting, acting and activism, there are so many highlights to consider when looking back at Willie Nelson’s life. Here are 25 of our favorite things you might not know about the American icon.

1. Willie Hugh Nelson was born April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas. Also born in Texas that same month were future TV stars Carol Burnett and Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family).

2. Because he was born close to midnight, some sources list Nelson’s birth date as April 30.

3. Nelson’s sister Bobbie, who plays piano in his band, is two years older than him.

4. Nelson was raised by his grandparents, Alfred and Nancy Nelson, who both studied music courses through the mail from the Chicago Music Institute.

5. The first song Nelson ever learned was “Amazing Grace.”

6. For his first-ever public performance, at 5 years old, Nelson recited a poem.

7. Because he was so nervous about reciting the poem, Nelson picked his nose until it bled, earning him the nickname “Booger Red.”

8. Nelson wrote his first song at 7 years old.

9. At just 13 years old, Nelson performed with Bob Wills, the inventor of Western swing music.

10. In 1950, Nelson played the role of Uncle Billy Babcock in his senior class’ production of Oh, Aunt Jerusha.

11. In addition to a stint in the Air Force, Nelson has worked as a cotton picker, saddle maker, disc jockey and Bible, vacuum cleaner and encyclopedia salesman.

12. Nelson was signed to Pamper Music as a songwriter. His $50-a-week salary was paid from a raise that fellow songwriter Hank Cochran was due to get but had sacrificed so that Nelson could be signed.

13. Nelson’s first album was titled And Then I Wrote. It includes “Crazy,” “Hello Walls” and “Funny How Time Slips Away,” songs that would initially become huge hits for Patsy Cline, Faron Young and Billy Walker, respectively.

14. One night, Nelson and Cochran wrote seven songs together in the basement of Nelson’s home in Ridgetop, Tenn.; among the songs was one called “What Can You Do to Me Now?” The next day, Nelson’s house burned down.

15. After his house burned down, Nelson moved to Austin, Texas, and later to Hawaii.

16. Nelson’s first Fourth of July Picnic was held in Dripping Springs, Texas, in 1973.

17. Nelson’s 1978 album of pop standards, Stardust, remained on the country album chart for 540 weeks — that’s 10 consecutive years.

18. In 1979, Nelson made his big-screen acting debut in The Electric Horseman, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

19. The following year, Nelson starred in Honeysuckle Rose.

20. Nelson wrote one of his most famous songs, “On the Road Again,” while on an airplane with director Sydney Pollack.

21. In 1980, Nelson played a concert at the White House for President Jimmy Carter and performed a duet with First Lady Rosalynn Carter. The song they performed: “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.”

22. Nelson’s trusty acoustic guitar, named Trigger after cowboy star Roy Rogers’ horse, is a 1969 Martin N-20.

23. While Trigger carries the signatures of many fellow artists, the first person to sign it was Leon Russell.

24. Nelson worked to settled his 1990s IRS tax debt by releasing a double-album called The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?.

25. Among his many honors, Nelson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and, for his support of family farms, the National Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2011.

This Day in Willie Nelson History: “Georgia on My Mind” #1 Country Chart (June 10, 1978)

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

On June 10, 1978 Willie Nelson’s remording of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind” tops the Billboard country chart.

Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss (and Family and Friends and Union Station) Radio City Music Hall! June 10, 2014

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

 

Thank you, Jeremy Tepper, of Sirius/XM radio, for sending along this photo of the billboard announcing the Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss and Union Station show at Radio City Music Hall on June 10th.

Concert Under the Stars – Willie Nelson & Family, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

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Willie Nelson & Family in Lincoln (June 7, 2017)

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Willie Nelson & Family in Amsterdam (June 7, 2000)

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Willie Nelson and Family, Hard Rock Cafe (June 6, 2013)

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

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Thanks to Willienelson.com for these great photos from the Willie Nelson & Family Family Show at the Hard Rock Café, in New York City, on June 6, 2013. The concert was a benefit for Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and the Animal Welfare Institute.

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Willie Nelson Interview, Billboard Country Music Summit, Nashville (June 5, 2012)

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

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photo: Michael Seto

www.CMT.com
by Edward Morris

Willie Nelson arrived 37 minutes late for his scheduled question-and-answer session Tuesday (June 5) at the Billboard Country Music Summit in Nashville. But the crowd was patient and gave him a standing ovation when he finally walked onstage.

Nelson was in town to perform later that evening with the Nashville Symphony and Wednesday on the CMT Music Awards airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CMT and CMT.com.
Wearing a black T-shirt and jeans and with his hair pulled back into a ponytail, Nelson looked and sounded considerably younger than the 79 years the calendar has imposed upon him.

He sat in a chair opposite Billboard‘s Ray Waddell, who primed him with questions about his long and laurelled career as a singer, songwriter and political activist.
On the matter of performing with the Nashville Symphony, Nelson was modest.

“They’re really good,” he said of the orchestra members, “and I’m kind of faking it now and then.”

Nelson’s sons, Lukas and Micah, appear on his new album, Heroes, and sometimes perform during his concerts.

“Working with your kids — there’s nothing better than that,” he said. “All the kids really make you proud when you’re out there.”

Asked if he encouraged his children to get into music, Nelson responded, “I left a lot of instruments lying around and kind of waited to see what they would pick up. For a long time, they didn’t pick up anything. Then, after a while, I saw Luke pick up a guitar, and Micah jumped on some drums, and it kind of caught on from there.”
Waddell pointed out that Nelson has recorded songs from virtually every musical genre and asked what made him choose one song over another.

“It’s one of those instant things,” Nelson replied. “When you hear a song or a melody or something, it hits you. It’s really not anything you have control over. You hear a good song and you wonder where it’s been all these years.”

So what led him to cover Coldplay’s “The Scientist” on Heroes, Waddell wondered.

“Lukas brought that to the studio, and Micah brought ‘Come On Up to the House,’ the Tom Waits song [also on the album]. So the kids have kind of been supporting me.”

Flashing back to when he first knew he wanted to play music, Nelson said the first guitar he picked up was an old Stella with its strings sitting high off the neck.

“My fingers were almost bleeding, but I didn’t care. I knew that was what I wanted to do,” he recalled. “I was about 6 years old.”

Waddell asked if it had been difficult for him to leave his native Texas to try his hand at music in Nashville all those many years ago.

“I had been told all my life that this was the place to go,” he said. “This is where the music folks are, and if you had something to sell, the folks here might buy it. It sounds commercial, but that’s the way it was to me back in those days because I needed some help. I was doing pretty good in Texas, but I needed to branch out a little bit.”

It was in Nashville, Nelson acknowledged, that he established himself as a songwriter. Reciting his successes, he said, “Faron Young did ‘Hello Walls.’ Billy Walker did ‘Funny How Time Slips Away.’ Patsy Cline did ‘Crazy.’ Roy Orbison did ‘Pretty Paper.’ Ray Price did ‘Night Life.’”

While Nelson customarily wrote songs by himself, he said he did occasionally write with others.

Hank Cochran and I used to write some together,” he said. “I remember one night in particular we were writing at my house out in Ridgetop [a community located north of Nashville], and we wrote seven songs that night. The last song that we wrote was ‘What Can You Do to Me Now,’ and the next day my house burned.”

In those early days, Nelson continued, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Nashville’s Lower Broadway was a songwriters’ haven, located as it was directly behind Ryman Auditorium, then the home of the Grand Ole Opry.

“I met Charlie Dick there, who was Patsy Cline’s husband. I brought ‘Crazy’ with me on a 45 [rpm record]. I had it on Tootsie’s’ jukebox. He listened and said, ‘I bet Patsy would like that.’ It was about 12 at night, and we’d had a couple of beers. He said, ‘Let’s go play this for Patsy.’ I said, ‘No, let’s don’t. Let’s wait until tomorrow.’ But he said, ‘No. Come on.’  “So I wouldn’t get out of the car. He went in and told Patsy that he had a song for her. She came out and made me come into the house. I sang the song for her. She loved it and recorded it the next week.”

Nelson next reminisced about his stint as a bass player in Ray Price’s band.

“First of all, Donny Young — or Johnny Paycheck [as he’d later call himself] — was playing bass for Ray, and he left the band. I was writing songs for Pamper Music, Ray’s publishing company.

“Ray called me and asked me if I could play bass, and I said, ‘Well, can’t everybody?’ So on my way up there on the bus [to meet Price], [steel guitarist] Jimmy Day taught me a few things on the bass. I played guitar and knew the top four strings were very similar.   “So I had something to go on, and he knew the Ray Price show. By the time I got there, I thought I knew it. Of course, I didn’t. I asked Ray years later if he knew I couldn’t play bass, and he said, ‘Uh huh.’”

Waddell next wanted to know what caused Nelson to leave Nashville after he had become a recording artist and return to Texas.

“My demo sessions were better than my records,” he said, “because I had the greatest musicians in the world [playing on the demos]. So I really loved my demos, but a lot of the time when [the labels] got through adding everything to it, I felt like it kind of watered it down a little bit. That was one of the problems I had with that kind of recording.”

Also, he noted, he had a big fan base in Texas and played there a lot. Often, it made it difficult for him to get back to Nashville in time to play on the Grand Ole Opry, where he performed regularly.

In Texas, he noticed the audiences looked a little different from those in Tennessee.

“I played a lot of places where there were longhaired cowboys and shorthaired cowboys, and the air was kind of smelling different,” he said. “And I noticed a lot of the people were getting along pretty good out there. So I said we might ought to try something different.
“This was just after Woodstock. So I thought we might try something in Austin or Dripping Springs. So me and Leon Russell and a few more of us gathered up and had a little show down there [in 1973]. . . . We had about 50,000 people.” Thus was born the first of a series of annual Willie Nelson Picnics.

On the recording side, Nelson had turned to making concept albums — including Shotgun Willie, Phases & Stages, Yesterday’s Wine and Red Headed Stranger — instead of the usual collections of unrelated songs.

“I don’t really know what made me think it would work,” Nelson reflected. But obviously it did.
Asked about the “outlaw” tag tacked to him after the release of Wanted! The Outlaws, the 1976 package of songs that also featured Waylon Jennings and Tompall Glaser, Nelson said, “I loved it. I thought that was the best sales idea we came up with. . . . I thought it was ingenious.”

He noted that the term “outlaws” was coined by Hazel Smith, who now writes CMT.com’s Hot Dish column.
Nelson also spoke fondly of touring with Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson as the Highwaymen.

“Every night I got to hear my heroes sing,” he said. He added that there were 278 pieces of luggage they had to lug around on the Highwaymen tour.
Nelson said he didn’t realize in 1985, when he helped launch the first Farm Aid to call attention to America’s embattled family farmers, that it would develop into an annual event.

“I really thought that if we did one Farm Aid and all the smart guys in Washington saw what was going on, they would do something about it. But then I found out that they were part of the problem — that the big corporations had taken over the farms, and they were trying to squeeze out the family farmers. And they’re doing a damn good job of it.

“What’s really going to have to happen is we’re going to have to get our farmers back growing food and fuel and keep us from going around the world and starting wars over oil when we can have our own resources right here.”

This remark drew cheers from the crowd.

“One of our biggest problems,” he continued, “is that guns and drugs are going back and forth across our southern border. . . . It would save a lot of money and a lot of lives by decriminalizing some of the less harmful drugs.”

He later referred to marijuana, the drug with which he’s become associated and celebrated, as “the best stress medicine there is.”
Waddell asked Nelson why he is so open to meeting with and helping younger artists. That question took Nelson back to the days when he was a fan looking toward his own idols.

“I remember meeting [Western movies actor] Johnny Mack Brown when he came to Hillsboro [Texas]. I shook his hand and got an autograph. I realize how happy that made me. So if I can make somebody else that happy, that would be a good deal.”

Returning to his new record, Heroes, Nelson had nothing but praise for Snoop Dogg, who sings with him on the raucous “Roll Me Up (And Smoke Me When I Die).”

“He didn’t rap it. He really crooned it,” Nelson marveled.

He confirmed the rumor that in the hard times of his early career, he sold the rights to several songs that are now priceless, among them “Family Bible” (which went for $100) and “Night Life.” He said at the time it made sense and helped him pay his bills.

“I really don’t feel horrible about it, but I wish I hadn’t.”

Summarizing the way he looks at life now, Nelson concluded, “I’m just glad for the moment. That’s about all I can think about right now.”

This Day in Willie Nelson History: US Festival (June 4, 1983)

Monday, June 4th, 2018

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THe US Festival was held over two weekends in 1982 and 1983. Steve Wozniak co founder of Apple Computer, funded the concerts and accompanying technology exposition, as well as the construction of a brand-new outdoor venue in Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernadino, CA. Nearly every musical genre was represented by bands as diverse as U2, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Ozzy Osbourne, Waylon Jennings, Van Halen, The Police and The Clash. Over the combined seven days of the festival, more than one million people passed through the entrance gates.

June 4, 1983, was “Country Day” at the US Festival, and the headliner was none other than the legendary Willie Nelson. Featuring many of his best-loved songs and greatest hits, this concert showcases the country music superstar.

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Willie Nelson & Family at FreePress SummerFest, in Houston (June 3, 2012)

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

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Willie Nelson and his fans in Houston, Texas

Thanks so much to Karl Kuenning for letting me share his great photos that the took yesterday, from his great stage view. Such great photos, Karl.

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Karl has lots more photos at his facebook page and also, you can visit his website at www.Roadie.net.

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Red Rocks ’76 (Willie Nelson/Waylon Jennings/ Flying Burrito Brothers (June 1st)

Friday, June 1st, 2018

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Tickets: $6.00

Willie Nelson & Friends in in Charleston, WV (May 29, 1983)

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

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Willie Nelson receives fifth level black belt, in Austin (May 28, 2014)

Monday, May 28th, 2018

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