Willie Nelson

Born 30 April 1933.
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Willie Nelson - Another Country Interview

Ricky secures a rare interview with Willie Nelson.

Featured in BBC Music Clips
 

Biography

Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 29, 1933) is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound. Nelson has acted in over 30 films, co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana.

Born during the Great Depression, and raised by his grandparents, Nelson wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Polka as their lead singer and guitar player. After graduating from high school, in 1950, he joined the Air Force but was later discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years but dropped out because he was succeeding in music. During this time, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky tonks. Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he wrote "Family Bible" and recorded the song "Lumberjack" in 1956. In 1958, he moved to Houston, Texas after signing a contract with D Records. He sang at the Esquire Ballroom weekly and he worked as a disk jockey. During that time, he wrote songs that would become country standards, including "Funny How Time Slips Away", "Hello Walls", "Pretty Paper", and "Crazy". In 1960 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and later signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price's band as a bassist. In 1962, he recorded his first album, ...And Then I Wrote. Due to this success, Nelson signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry the

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Heroes

    Heroes 2012

    Reviewed by Ninian Dunnett
    Simple virtues and matchless instinct from a legend at 79.
  2. Review of Country Music

    Country Music 2010

    Reviewed by Colin Irwin
    So assured is Nelson that it’s impossible not to feel the love.
  3. Review of American Classic

    American Classic 2009

    Reviewed by Michael Quinn
    A leisurely swim in the vast ocean of popular American song.
  4. Review of Legend: The Best Of

    Legend: The Best Of 2008

    Reviewed by Chris White
    It begs the simple but unavoidable question – surely quite literally everyone on the...
  5. Review of Moment Of Forever

    Moment Of Forever 2008

    Reviewed by Chris White
    There's no reason for this particularly perky pensioner to call it a day and retire to...
  6. Review of Countryman

    Countryman 2005

    Reviewed by Sue Keogh
    It’s Willie Nelson’s long lost reggae album. And contrary to what those words...
  7. Review of It Will Always Be

    It Will Always Be 2004

    Reviewed by Sue Keogh
    The quality writing, perceptive performances and moments of subtle beauty and humour...
  8. Review of Outlaws and Angels

    Outlaws and Angels 2004

    Reviewed by Sue Keogh
    The sound is muggy, the performances unrehearsed, and they whip through the whole...