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L E’s Stories – Tribute To Shotgun Willie Nelson: That Red Headed Stranger Who Sits Around In His Underwear

This particular L E’s Story has been long overdue….for the subject of this story has been an integral part of the “Austin Music Scene” for the past 50 years….who is not only beloved and revered by all Austinites as a native son and “homeboy”….in addition to being a legend of the highest order throughout the history of the Capitol of Texas….and of most importance to this story, Bone Daddy knew Willie personally…..as he played golf in a pick-up foursome once with him…..while having been at more than a couple of parties where Willie was at….plus, being first hand at Monica White’s house, as the artist who painted the cover to Willie’s “Red Headed Stranger” album, as well as the five (5) sports oil paintings that hung in BD’s bar….and not to mention, Willie came to Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place at 302 E. 6th Street in downdown Austin, Texas on multiple occasions…..and best of all, Bone Daddy saw Willie Nelson perform on more occasions than you can shake a stick at…..which makes this post very near and dear to this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile….and to put a cherry on top of all of that, here is a video of a new 2020 recording by Willie at age 87 singing….as seen in this video below….which proves that God sent Willie Nelson to this Earth to move HUMAN emotions with a song.                                                                                

Music – 2020 – Willie Nelson – The First Rose Of Spring

                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess when you get down to it….Willie Nelson and Bone Daddy are  “brothers of another mother” cuz they were definitely “kindred spirits”…..as the truth be known….they both loved music….they both loved sports….they both enjoyed having a good time…..and they both were “night creatures”….as evidenced by the third song of this rare vintage video….where Willie sings “Hello Walls”“Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away”“Night Life” and “Crazy”.                                                                                                                                     

Music – 1962 – The Grand Ole Opry – Featuring Willie Nelson Singing “Hello Walls” + “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away” + “Night Life” + “Crazy”

                                                                                                                                                                                  Born in Abbott, Texas on April 29, 1933 during the Great Depression…..Willie was ultimately raised by his grandparents….when he wrote his first song at age seven….and joined his first band at ten….while 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 U.S. Air Force but was later discharged due to back problems….after which he attended Baylor University for two years….but dropped out because he was succeeding in music….when Willie moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he wrote “Family Bible” and recorded the song “Lumberjack” in 1956…..plus , he also worked as a disc jockey at various radio stations in Vancouver and nearby Portland, Oregon.                                                                                                   

Music – 1956 – Willie Nelson – “Lumberjack” + “No Place For Me”

                                                                                                                                                                              Then in 1958, after signing a contract with D Records, he moved to Houston,Tx…. where he sang at the Esquire Ballroom weekly…..and worked as a disk jockey around HTown…..during which time, he wrote songs that would become country standards….. which included “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…..and as a result of the success of this album, he signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year.  After mid-chart hits in the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s, Nelson retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas. The ongoing music scene of Austin motivated Nelson to return from retirement….while performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters.

 

Music – 2004 – Willie Nelson – “It Always Will Be”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nelson moved to Austin, Texas, where the burgeoning hippie music scene rejuvenated the singer. His popularity in Austin soared as he played his own brand of country music marked by country, folk and jazz influences.  In March, he performed on the final day of the Dripping Springs Reunion, a three-day country music festival aimed by its producers to be an annual event. Despite the failure to reach the expected attendance, the concept of the festival inspired Nelson to create the Fourth of July Picnic, his own annual event, starting the following year.

 

Music – 2004 – Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – “Reasons To Quit” + “No Reason To Quit”

                                                                                                                                                                          Nelson decided to return to the recording business….when he signed Neil Reshen as his manager to negotiate with RCA…..who got the label to agree to end his contract upon repayment of $14,000….after which Reshen signed Nelson to Atlantic Records for $25,000 per year…..where he became the label’s first country artist. He formed his backing band, The Family, and by February 1973, he was recording his acclaimed Shotgun Willie album at Atlantic Studios in New York City…..which was released in May 1973, while earning excellent reviews….but it didn’t sell very well….however, the album led Willie to a new style ….as he later stating that Shotgun Willie had “cleared his throat”.  His next release, Phases and Stages, released in 1974, was a concept album about a couple’s divorce….which was inspired by his own experience….while Side 1 of the record is from the viewpoint of the woman….and Side 2 is from the viewpoint of the man. The album included the hit single “Bloody Mary Morning.”  The same year, he produced and starred in the pilot episode of PBS’ Austin City Limits.                                                                        

Music – 1974 – Austin City Limits – Willie Nelson – “Bloody Mary Morning”

                                                                                                                                                                                Nelson then moved to Columbia Records, where he signed a contract that gave him complete creative control, made possible by the critical and commercial success of his previous albums. The result was the critically acclaimed and massively popular 1975 concept album Red Headed Stranger. Although Columbia was reluctant to release an album with primarily a guitar and piano for accompaniment, Nelson and Waylon Jennings insisted. The album included a cover of Fred Rose’s 1945 song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”, that had been released as a single previous to the album, and became Nelson’s first number one hit as a singer  Throughout his 1975 tour, Nelson raised funds for PBS-affiliated stations across the south promoting Austin City Limits. The pilot was aired first on those stations, later being released nationwide. The positive reception of the show prompted PBS to order ten episodes for 1976, formally launching the show…..which is still live on PBS in July 2020….to which we here at ImaSportsphile have literally hundreds of ACL videos that aired from 1976 to 1991.                                                                                               

Music – 1965 – Grand Ole Opry – Featuring Willie Nelson – “Mr Record Man”

                                                                                                                                                                                  As Jennings was also achieving success in country music in the early 1970s, the pair were combined into a genre called outlaw country, since it did not conform to Nashville standards.  The album Wanted! The Outlaws in 1976 with Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser cemented the pair’s outlaw image and became country music’s first platinum album.  Later that year Nelson released The Sound in Your Mind (certified gold in 1978 and platinum in 2001) and his first gospel album Troublemaker (certified gold in 1986).                       

Music – 1964 – Grand Ole Opry – Willie Nelson – “The Party Is Over”

                                                                                                                                                                                    In the summer of 1977, Nelson discovered that his manager Reshen had been filing tax extensions and not paying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since he took over as his manager…and in June, a package containing cocaine was sent from Reshen’s office in New York to Waylon Jennings in Nashville…..as the package was followed by the DEA, and Jennings was arrested. The charges were later dropped, since Reshen’s assistant, Mark Rothbaum stepped in and took the charges…..as Rothbaum was sentenced to serve time in jail….and this attitude impressed Nelson….who fired Reshen and hired Rothbaum as his manager.                                                                                                                                                                             

Music – 2015 – PBS News Hour With Jeffery Brown Interview With Willie Nelson On His Tour Bus

                                                                                                                                                                                   In 1978, Nelson released two more platinum albums. One, Waylon & Willie, was a collaboration with Jennings that included “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”, a hit single written and performed by Ed Bruce….also, even though observers predicted that “Stardust” would ruin Willie’s career, it went platinum the same year.  Nelson continued to top the charts with hit songs during the late 1970’s, including “Good Hearted Woman”, “Remember Me”, “If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time”, and “Uncloudy Day”.                                                                                                                                                            

Music – 2010 – Willie Nelson Live In Amsterdam – “Pancho & Lefty” + “Till I Gain Control Again”

                                                                                                                                                                                    In 1982, Pancho & Lefty, a duet album with Merle Haggard produced by Chips Moman was released.  During the recording sessions of Pancho and Lefty, session guitarist Johnny Christopher and co-writer of “Always on My Mind”, tried to pitch the song to an uninterested Haggard. Nelson, who was unaware of Elvis Presley’s version of the song asked him to record it. Produced by Moman, the single of the song was released, as well as the album of the same name. The single topped Billboard’s Hot Country Singles, while it reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The release won three awards during the 25th Annual Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance. The single was certified platinum; while the album was certified quadruple-platinum, and later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. During the 1980s, Nelson recorded a series of hit singles including “Midnight Rider”, a 1980 cover of the Allman Brothers song which Nelson recorded for The Electric Horseman, the soundtrack “On the Road Again” from the movie Honeysuckle Rose, and a duet with Julio Iglesias titled “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”.

 

Music – 1983 – Country Music Awards Show Special – Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias Sing “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”

                                                                                                                                                                    Meanwhile, two collaborations with Waylon Jennings were released….WWII in 1982….and Take it to the Limit in 1983…..then In the mid-1980’s, Nelson, Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash formed The Highwaymen….who achieved platinum record sales and toured the world.  Meanwhile, he became more involved with charity work, such as singing on We are the World in 1984.  In 1985, Nelson had another success with Half Nelson….which was a compilation album of duets with a range of artists such as Ray Charles and Neil Young.                                                                                                                                                

Music – 2000 – Willie Nelson – “What A Wonderful World”

                                                                                                                                                                                    In 1980, Nelson performed on the south lawn of the White House. The concert of September 13 featured First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Nelson in a duet of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother”. Nelson frequently visited the White House, where according to the biography by Joe Nick Patoski, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, he smoked marijuana on the White House roof.                                             

Music – 1986 – Willie Nelson – “Sunday Morning Coming Down”                                                                              

There is so much content in the saga of Willie Nelson that it is impossible to cover it all in just one post….so, let it be known…with 6,000 more videos left to post from our incredible video museum here at ImaSportsphile….I can tell you without question, there will be more Willie Nelson videos posted…..as well as some really “inside the fence” stories of this incredible man of song still left to be told.

Music – 2019 – The Jimmy Fallon Show – Featuring Willie Nelson As “Chief Tester” at His Weed Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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