Willie Nelson, “Stardust”

1. Stardust
2. Georgia on My Mind
3. Blue Skies
4. All of Me
5. Unchained Melody
6. September Song
7. On the Sunny Side of the Street
8. Moonlight in Vermont
9. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
10. Someone to Watch over Me
11. Scarlett Ribbons
12. I Can See Clearly Now

Year By Year: Five Essential Albums of 1978

by: Mat t Micucci

Willie Nelson, Stardust (Columbia)

Willie Nelson was one of the world’s biggest country stars when he shocked Columbia, his label, by insisting on recording an album of old pop standards. Nelson idiosyncratic versions of such songs as Hoagy Carmichael’s title track, “Georgia On My Mind,” “Blue Skies” and “Moonlight in Vermont,” among others, are meetings of the worlds of country, jazz, soul and beyond.

Stax maestro Booker T. Jones – who was his Malibu neighbor at the time – produced the record and arranged each track, creating warm settings for Nelson’s vocals, as the singer/songwriter showed a deep understanding and appreciation of what he called “the ten best songs I’ve ever heard.”

Despite Columbia’s reservations, Stardust became one of Nelson’s highest-selling albums ever and made him the highest-grossing concert act of 1978 in the U.S. on the year of its release.

There has also never been another standards album quite like it since.

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