Willie Nelsonwas born on April 30, 1933, in Abbott, Texas. He is an American singer, songwriter, and actor. He received his greatest success in the 1970's during the so called, outlaw country movement. Willie’s grandparents and Nancy Elizabeth Smothers gave him mail order music lessons beginning when he was six years old. Willie played the guitar and his brother, Bobbie, played the piano. Willie met Bud Fletcher who was a fiddler and both brothers joined his band, known as Bohemian Fiddlers. Willie was still in high school at the time. Willie joined the Air Force after high school but left because of back problems, after about a year. He went to Baylor University for about a year. He then became a DJ for a radio station in Fort Worth, Texas, and also sang at the local honky tonk bars. In 1956, Willie moved to Vancouver, Washington, to begin his musical career. He recorded the song, Lumberjack, which was written by Leon Payne. The solo was a minor hit. He worked as a radio announcer in Vancouver and played in the bars. He sold the song, Family Bible, and it was later a hit by Claude Gray and was considered by some as a gospel music classic.
Willie later moved to Tennessee and received a publishing contract at Pamper Music. Ray Price recorded Willie’s song, Night Life and after that Willie joined Ray’s touring band as a bass player. While he was with the group, many of his songs became hits. Willie wrote songs such as Crazy (Patsy Cline), Hello Walls (Faron Young), Pretty Paper (Roy Orbison), and Funny How Time Slips Away (Billy Walker). Willie signed on with Liberty records in 1961 and released the singles, Willingly, and Touch Me. In 1965, Willie moved to RCA Victor Records and joined the Grand Ole Opry. He was not satisfied with the music business so he retired and moved to Austin. While in Austin, he decided to return to music and his popularity in Austin grew. He played his own style of music which was a combination of rock and roll, jazz, folk, and western swing. Willie and Waylon Jennings got together in the 1970's and became The Outlaws. They had some great success with their releases together. The Outlaws consisted of Willie, Waylon, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser. Their album, The Outlaws, became a platinum album.
Willie went on to release 2 more platinum albums. In the Mid 1980's he formed the group called The Highwaymen, which included not only Willie but, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash. They were very successful and also had platinum record sales. Willie also became involved in charity work, one which was to get aid for farmers. Willie was married 5 times and has 9 children. He has released a total of 56 albums, both solo and with others, and also 30 singles.
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