What was Patsy Cline known for?

Willie Nelson

Laut.de biography

Willie Nelson

"At the very least, one has to admit that he's remarkable - no talent, no hits, and incapable of writing songs. Nevertheless, he still sets out on world tours and plays in front of sold-out halls, although he is now on his deathbed. "So the lovingly ironic comment on one of the countless Willie Nelson fansites.

Because hardly any musician of his generation is as adored as he is: Despite his hip-length red-blonde hair that does not fit into the stereotype of the stuffy Nashville, he is like Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings a symbol of the restless, non-conformist country musician, and together with them the most famous representative of the genre.

Born in 1933 in Abbott, Texas, Nelson showed unusual ambitions at a young age: he played his first guitar when he was six, his first appearance when he was ten, and had his own program on a local radio station in high school.

After a short period of service with the US Air Force, he released his first self-recorded single in 1957, "No Place For Me". In the following two years he married, had three children and got divorced. In the course of his life, three more marriages and another five children followed.

In 1960 the time had come musically as well: With the proceeds from songs he wrote alongside his work as a DJ, he bought a car and drove to Nashville. Nelson copes well with the move from the pampas to the capital of the country. In the following ten years he worked as a successful songwriter. In 1962 he had his first number one hits with Patsy Cline and Faron Young.

In 1970 his Nashville home burns down and Nelson decides to return to Texas. The demand for new songs and the choice of musicians is modest, so he begins to sing his material himself. Recordings and tours cemented his reputation, in 1975 he finally had a big hit: with "Red Headed Stranger" he conquered the charts, shortly afterwards the collection "Wanted: The Outlaws" became the most successful country album ever.

In 1978 Nelson started an acting career, including in his own film "Red Headed Stranger" and Kris Kristofferson's "Songwriter". In 1997 he can be seen in "Wag The Dog", in 2005 he played Uncle Jesse in "A Duke Seldom Comes Alone", the film adaptation of the cult TV series "The Dukes Of Hazzard". Jessica Simpson takes on the role of his pretty granddaughter. He can also be seen quite often on television, both in series ("Miami Vice", "Baywatch") and in commercials.

Since the 1980s, the avid golfer has been known for scooping all sorts of music prizes and for countless collaborations, including with Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and Neil Young. He plays with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson in the bad boy group The Highwaymen.

Nelson is also active on the political fringes. After he founded a happening called "Independence Day Picnic" in 1973, he started the charity concert "Farm Aid" in 1986 with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, which has been taking place annually with great success ever since. His patriotism is also evident after September 11th when he participated in the recording of the song "America The Beautiful", where he disapproved of the official version and believes that the towers of the World Trade Center were brought down by bombs.

Nelson also shows stubbornness when it comes to intoxicants. As co-chair of the organization NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) he advocates the legalization of light drugs. In 2006, the Texas police found 700 grams of marijuana and 91 grams of 'magic mushrooms' in the tour bus of the self-confessed stoner. He is also committed to gay marriage and is a co-owner of the company "Willie Nelson Bio-Diesel", which produces truck fuel from vegetable oils.

Nelson's musical activity hardly suffers from all these activities. Although his regular studio productions are rarely noteworthy - despite well-known guests - he still inspires audiences on his annual tours. As with the Wynton Marsalis country-jazz co-op "Two Men With The Blues" (2008) and the lavish compilation "One Hell Of A Ride", consisting of four CDs and a detailed booklet, which will be released in 2008 for his 75th birthday .

For Nelson, of course, no age to withdraw, on the contrary: After the end of his contract with Lost Highway, he switched to the renowned jazz label Blue Note and in 2009 recorded his best studio album in years with "American Classic". Diana Krall and Norah Jones will also be there.

He also tours the United States every year. Of course, the bio-fuel for his tour bus Honeysuckle Rose (now the third) comes from his own company. He spends the quiet moments on the island of Maui, Hawaii, in a largely self-sufficient community. His neighbors include old buddy Kris Kristofferson, actors Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson.

In 2012 Nelson gathered friends, musical companions and two of his sons around him and recorded the album "Heroes". On the 80th birthday, "Let's Face The Music And Dance" appears a year later, this time with his big sister Bobbie at the piano as the main guest. For his annual album 2014 he even picks up the pen again and writes most of the songs himself for "Band Of Brothers" (2014).

The return to the Sony Music label that accompanies these releases is entirely in keeping with the Bards, who are bursting with zest for action: "I'm really happy to be back at home with Sony Music. We have been partners for many years, have a great history together and I look forward to many more years together."

Said, sung: Four more albums will follow by 2018. In the very unusual acoustic song "Lonely Alone" he sings lively of how being alone can be numbed with gin and whiskey: "There is no reason to be lonely on your own. We can always enter a small community."The first and last lines of the song belong to Sheryl Crow. They gracefully frame the old master. The duet can be found on Sheryl's 2019 album" Threads ".