Willie Nelson Talks About Money

On first glance, you might conclude that I may not be good with money.  But if you look closer, you’ll realize that I’m definitely not good with money.

From where I started — dirt poor in Abbott and working everywhere form the cotton fields to the school cafeteria to bringing in more money — you’d think I’d have learned the value of the stuff.  Maybe I’m just a slow learner.

After Daddy Nelson died, we moved from our two-story home to a house that wasn’t much more than a shack. I’d lay in bed at night, look at the stars through the cracks in the ceiling, and dream of making a success of myself and bringing in lots and lots of money.

In the meantime, during the day, I hocked my guitar so much, the pawn broker could play it better than me.

Remember my first paying music gig with the John Raycheck Band?  It was a big band and there was no way the audience would hear twelve-year-old me strumming my acoustic guitar, but maybe I got the gig because it looked good to have a plucky kid up there on stage.  Or maybe I just made Mr. Raycheck look tall.

I wasn’t always so lucky, and did a lot of scuffling for money in the next twenty years.

In the fifties, I sold the rights to some of my best songs like “Family Bible” and “Night Life.”  My daughter Lana was little when I sold “Family Bible” for fifty bucks, and she said it broke her heart for me to let something go that was so close to our family.  I’ve been asked a thousand times how I could sell a great song for fifty bucks, and the answer is pretty simple.  I really needed fifty bucks.”

The Tao of Willie
A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart
Willie Nelson with Turk Pipkin

Leave a Reply