Willie Nelson Obituary, Death – US singer, songwriter, musician, political activist, and actor. He was instrumental in outlawing country, a late 1960s reaction to Nashville’s conservatism. After the critical and economic success of Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975), and Stardust (1978), Nelson became a country music legend. Nelson has appeared in over 30 films, co-written several books, and supported biofuels and marijuana legalization.
Nelson, raised by his grandparents during the Great Depression, wrote his first song at seven and joined his first band at ten. He fronted the Bohemian Polka in high school. After graduating high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force but was dismissed due to back problems. Nelson attended Baylor University for two years before leaving owing to his singing fame. He was a performer and songwriter as well as a disc jockey in Texas and the Pacific Northwest in the late 1950s.
“Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Hello Walls,” “Pretty Paper,” and “Crazy” were country hits he composed then. In 1960, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music to play bass in Ray Price’s band. His 1962 debut record was…And Then I Wrote. Due to his success, Nelson joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1965 after signing with RCA Victor. In 1972, Nelson moved to Austin, Texas, after mid-chart singles in Nashville. Austin’s vibrant music scene prompted Nelson’s return to performance.
After joining Atlantic Records in 1973, Nelson released Shotgun Willie and Phases & Stages, outlaw country albums. Red Headed Stranger, his 1975 Columbia Records debut, was well received. He recorded Wanted! The Outlaws with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser the next year. In the mid-1980s, he joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson to record hits like Honeysuckle Rose and “On the Road Again,” “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” “Pancho and Lefty.” Since 1985, Nelson has performed at Farm Aid concerts to support American farmers.
In 1990, the IRS seized Nelson’s assets for $32 million in overdue taxes. Poor 1980s investments compounded his debt. In 1992, Nelson released The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?, which paid off his debt. The 1990s and 2000s saw Nelson tour and release albums annually. Mixed reviews. He tried reggae, blues, jazz, and folk.
Nelson debuted in 1979’s The Electric Horseman. Nelson is a prominent liberal activist and NORML advisory board co-chair. Willie Nelson Biodiesel makes vegetable oil biodiesel. Texas Music Project’s honorary chairman is Nelson.