Willie Nelson Chronology (pre 1995)

Country Weekly
7/18/1995

1933     Born April 30 in Abbott, Texas

1937     First Public performance at age 4, reciting poem at Gospel sing-along and picnic

1943     Had his first professional gig, strumming acoustic guitar for John Raycjeck’s Bohemian Polka Band at the age of 10

1954     Became an air personality on KCNC in Fort Worth, Texas, signing on each day with:  “This is your ‘ cotton pickin’, snuff dippin’, tobacco chewin’, stump jumpin’, coffee pot dodgin’, dumplin’ eatin’, frog giggin'” hillbilly from Hill County.”

1956     First recording, “No Place for Me,” which Willie the disc jockey self-financed and sold to his radio listeners in Vancouver, Washington.  In the late 1950’s he returned to Texas, this time to Houston, and wrote “Nght Life” and “Family Bible.”

1960     Moved to Nashville at the urging of “Heartbreak Hotel” co-writer Mae Boren Axton.  Began hanging out at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge with fellow songwriters Hank Cochran, Mel Tillis, Roger Miller and Kris Kristofferson.

1961     Patsy Cline recorded his “Crazy” in August.  Faron Young followed with “Hello Walls.”

1962     Attained first singing success with “Willingly.” a duet with second wife Shirley collie, and “Touch Me.”  Both hit the Top 10.

1964     Made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry, Nov. 28

1970     On Dec. 23, left Nashville for Texas when his house near Nashville burned down.  This happened just after he wrote a song called “What Can they Do to Me Now.”

1973     Inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

1974     Began the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnics

1975     Released his breakthrough album Red Headed Stranger, country music’s first concept album, which contained his first No. 1 hit, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”  The track earned him a Grammy for Best Country Vocal performance, Male.

1976     Shared the Country Music Association’s Vocal Duo of the Year and Single of the Year Awards with Waylon Jennings.

1978     Released Stardust, which stayed on the charts for 10 years.  Earned a grammy for “Georgia on My Mind,”  and another with Waylon Jennings for ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys.”

1979  Earned the country Music Association’s and the Academy of country Music’s Entertainer of the Year Awards.

1980  Appeared in his first movie, The Electric Horseman, which starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.  The same year he was the star of the  Honeysuckle Rose, with supporting actresses Amy Irving and Dyan cannon.  Earned a Grammy for “On the Road Again.”

1982 Won a Grammy for “Always on My Mind,” which was also the CMA Single of the Year.  The triple-platinum album Always on My Mind won CMA Album of the Year.

1983  CMA Vocal Duo of the Year with Merle Haggard.  First country artist and only the fourth recipient of the National Academy of Popular Music’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

1984     won CMA Vocal duo of the year Award with Julio Iglesias and ACM Single of the Year Award with Iglesias

1985     Founded the Farm Aid organization and hosted the first of many Farm Aid concerts.  released Highwaymen with Jennings, Kristofferson and Johnny Cash.

1991     Wed fourth wife Annie d’Angelo, September 16.  They have two young sons, Lucas Autry and Jacob Micah.  Willie also has four grown children:  Paula Carlene, Amy Lee, Lana and Susie.

1993     Elected to the country music Hall of Fame

1994     Released Moonlight Becomes You

1995     Released Healing Hands of Time and the third Highwaymen album, The Road Goes on Forever.  the 10th anniversary Farm Aid concert is tentatively slated for September in Louisville, KY.

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