Willie’s First Grammy

When Willie Nelson recorded his concept album Red Headed Stranger in Garland, Texas, in 1975, he insisted on simplicity for the tracks.  But according to the books Willie, by Michael Bane, that simplicity proved a bit too much for the studio musicians and his record label.

As Willie recorded the song, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” he stopped the session, played through the tune with just guitar and vocal and asked the band to play only what was necessary.  Several of the musicians, realizing that they basically had nothing to do, voluntarily got up and left the session.

Willie remembers that his record label was also not exactly receptive to the bare-bones product.  “They expected more Shotgun Willie, something more tempo,” he says in the book. But the label released the album along with the sing, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” which surprisingly started climbing the charts.  It became Willie’s first No. 1 hit in October of 1975.

“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” was also responsible for another Willie milestone.  On Feb. 28, 1976, Willie picked up his first Grammy award, winning the honor for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male.

Leave a Reply