Vote for Willie Nelson’s induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

With over 60 years in the music business, Willie Nelson (b. 1933) – songwriter, performer, anti-establishment outlaw, political activist, and philanthropist – is an American institution. Nelson may call country music his home, but he has always pushed stylistic boundaries – mixing in rock & roll, jazz, pop, and blues. 

Nelson’s first success came writing hits for country’s biggest stars, including Patsy Cline (“Crazy”) and Ray Price (“Night Life”), and songs that have become standards (“Funny How Time Slips Away”). In 1962, Nelson released the first of a staggering 73 solo studio albums. But he chafed at working within Nashville’s confines, and in 1972 he returned home to Texas to make music on his own terms. Connecting with Austin’s counterculture, Nelson recorded for Atlantic, combining country with rock and blues. Songs like the autobiographical “Me and Paul” (1971) groove and swing with blues licks, while pedal steel and piano soar in the foreground. Nelson and co-conspirators Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser ushered in the Outlaw Country movement, with their Wanted! The Outlaws becoming the first country album to go Platinum. 

By 1975, Nelson was a superstar. His concept album Red Headed Stranger (1975) delivered his first Number One hit, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” In true outlaw fashion, Nelson released a gospel album, Troublemaker (1976), and an album of pop standards (produced by Booker T), Stardust (1978); both went to Number One. While continuing to create a songwriter’s dream catalog, Nelson also formed supergroup the Highwaymen with Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Julio Iglesias, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Wynton Marsalis, and Snoop Dogg.  

Willie Nelson’s work has influenced generations of musicians, from Neil Young to John Mellencamp to Kacey Musgraves, and his personal actions have supported the welfare of millions of Americans. In 1985, Nelson cofounded Farm Aid to assist family farmers. He is co-chair of NORML, which supports marijuana legalization, and he advocates for numerous causes including animal welfare and LGBTQIA+ rights. 

Selected discography:  

“Me and Paul” (1971) • “Whiskey River,” Shotgun Willie (1973) • “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Red Headed Stranger (1975) • Stardust (1978) • “On the Road Again,” Honeysuckle Rose (1980) • “Always on My Mind”(1982) • “Still Is Still Moving to Me,” “Heartland,” Across the Borderline (1993) • Teatro (1998) • “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” (with Snoop Dog), Heroes (2012) • Band of Brothers (2014) 

Nominee: Willie Nelson 



Leave a Reply