Hank Cochran Talks About Willie Nelson

Barry Klein interviewed Hank Cochran on February 11, 2002, and during the course of the interview he talked about Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, and the music industry, in general.  Here is a portion on Willie, but if you want to read a great interview full of music writing history, here is the link:

BARRY:  I know you and Willie have been friends for a long time. You even appeared in his movie, “Honeysuckle Rose”. Willie left Nashville and became one of the leaders of the “outlaw” movement in Texas in the 70’s. Where were you in the 70’s when all that was going on? How did that affect you? Did that affect you at all or your songwriting? You stayed in Nashville didn’t you?

HANK: Yeah, I stayed in Nashville. He called me and I was on my boat in Florida. He wanted me to come out to Garland, Texas. He wanted me to show him somethin’ or me help him with it. I went out there and he was cuttin’ “Red Headed Stranger”.

BARRY: So that would have been like ’73 or so …

HANK: l974. It came out in 1975. He said, “What do you think?” I said, “Willie, I don’t have the slightest idea. It sure is different, and it sure is good”. He had cut one of my songs for that album and then they did an instrumental deal, which was mine also. I said, “If it comes around to them releasing the single, and if you think it’s happening and you put out my song, I’ll spend all the money and put that other instrumental in the back, I’ll spend all that working on it and try to get us a hit.” He said, “Well, we’ll see.” Then he called and I said, “What’s happening with the record?” He said, “Well, CBS don’t want it.” I said, “What the hell do they know?”. He said, “I don’t know, but I told them I didn’t give a damn whether they wanted it or not, I had their money and I stuffed it in my pocket, and they wasn’t getting the album or their money back.” He over-rode whoever it was, and they put the album out and the disc jockeys picked “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” and wow! If you sold a million records back then, you had done somethin’.

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