Bobbie Nelson and Willie Nelson

By Russ:

The meaning of family has always been of uppermost importance to this sister and brother, even though their upbringing was threatened by ravages of the heartless Great Depression in America. Their ancestry includes English, Irish, and Cherokee.

In a small Texas town in the 1930s, a 6-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother learned the power and magic of making music together, and they’ve been doing it ever since. There has always been a special instinctive connection between these two siblings that isn’t felt with any other musician.

The girl became a pianist and singer while her slightly younger brother became an incredibly prolific songwriter, singer and entertainer.

So much has been already written about these living legends, so I will try to limit my coverage to just a few of the many highlights of their amazing careers.

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Bobbie Lee Nelson

Young musician Willie Nelson sits with his guitar for a studio portrait sans beard in 1960.

Young Willie Nelson sits with his guitar for a studio portrait sans beard in 1960.

Willie Hugh Nelson

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Videos:

1965 / Willie Nelson – Grand Ole Opry

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1974 / Willie Nelson – Medley

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Bobbie Nelson – Down Yonder

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Willie Nelson – Always On My Mind (Bobbie on piano is seen at beginning and you can hear her throughout)

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Willie Nelson with Sheryl Crow – City Of New Orleans (Gary’s Favourite Willie Song)

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Audio:

Willie Nelson uses a variety of music styles to create his unique, distinctive blend of “country music” – a mix of jazz, pop, blues, rock and folk. Some folks have labelled it “progressive country”.

Willie’s “unique sound” uses a “relaxed, behind-the-beat singing style and gut-string guitar”. His “nasal voice and jazzy, off-center phrasing”, has been responsible for his wide appeal, and has made him a “vital icon in country music”, influencing the “new country, new traditionalist, and alternative country movements of the ’80s and ’90s”

Here are just a FEW of the hundreds of Willie’s recordings, along with ratings on the U.S. Country Charts

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1976 / Remember Me (When The Candle Lights Are Gleaming) / U.S. Country #2
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Bobbie Lee Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas, on January 1; 1931.

Willie Hugh Nelson was born in Abbott on April 30, 1933.

They were children of the Great Depression. Their biological parents, Myrle Marie (née Greenhaw) and Ira Doyle Nelson, were a pair of married teenagers who had moved from Arkansas during the Depression in 1929, to look for work in Abbott, Texas, a farming community about 70 miles south of Dallas.

Little Bobbie and Willie’s father, Ira, had spent many years as chief mechanic at a Ford dealership in Fort Worth. Mother Myrle, 20 years old at the time, was a scrapper, a free spirit and a fun–lover; she and Ira fought frequently, and when Bobbie was three and Willie just a baby, she split.

Their father remarried and also moved away, leaving the kids to be raised by their paternal grandparents, whom they called Mama and Daddy. Grandfather William Nelson, was by trade a blacksmith and by practice, a Methodist. It was the Nelson grandparents, who taught singing back in Arkansas, who started their grandchildren in music.

Bobbie’s grandmother started instructing her to play keyboard on a pump organ at the age of five. Bobbie’s grandfather took her to singing gospel conventions that were held on the courthouse in Hillsboro, Texas, where she did her first performance in front of nearly 1,000 people.

After successful appearances at gospel conventions held in Hillsboro, and recognizing both her talent and enthusiasm, Bobbie’s grandfather bought a piano from the local grocer for $35 when she was 6.

When he passed away three years later, William still owed money on the instrument, and Bobbie remembers her grandmother selling calves to pay off the debt so they could keep the piano. Willie joined her on the piano bench when he was old enough.

I must have been about 8 or 9 whenever we first started playing together,” says Bobbie. “My grandmother stood at the treble end of the piano and sat Willie at the bass end, and she showed him three different chords and how to do the other parts. She would sing while Willie and I played, so we really started learning to play together.

We might have been some of the poorest people in town, but we didn’t know it,” she laughs. “We thought we were rich as could be. We knew we didn’t have any money, but we had a real good time!

BobbieGrandmotherWillie

Bobbie and Willie with paternal grandmother Nancy

When Willie was six, Daddy Nelson, a proficient player of stringed instruments, (before he passed away) had bought Willie his first Stella guitar. He gave the boy a chord book, which he studied diligently.

Soon “the Nelson Kids” would play a tune together for anyone who asked. Bobbie soon started playing piano with brother Willie on guitar, and with her grandmother singing in the house. Their grandparents had showed them the chords to “The Great Speckled Bird.”

Daddy Nelson was the sweetest person I’ve ever known,” Bobbie said. “He had the most gorgeous tenor voice. It was just so amazing to us that I could play one part and Willie could play another and together we had a song. We’d look at each other and our eyes would light up.

Pneumonia took Daddy Nelson in 1939, and Willie, then age 7, began writing songs on his little Stella guitar about loss and heartbreak . In those days, because of his flame–red hair, his nickname was Booger Red.

After Daddy Nelson died, the brother and sister took to tunes, both spiritual and secular, to soothe their sorrow. “Playing music made us realize that there was something bigger out there, something more than human life,” she said.

Willie wrote his first song at age 7. At age 9, as a guitar player he joined John Raycheck’s Bohemian Polka Band and regularly sang gospel music in church.

They played together for hours every day, and on Sundays they played and sang at the Abbott Methodist Church (which Willie later bought in July 2006 when he heard prospective buyers had planned to move it to another town). Bobbie, who could read music at age 6, also played at other churches in the area.

During the summers, the Nelson family picked cotton along with other citizens of Abbott. Willie didn’t like picking cotton, so he earned money by singing in dance halls, taverns, and honky tonks from age 13, and continuing through high school.

Willie’s musical influences were Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong .

Young Bobbie Nelson

Young Bobbie Nelson

Bobbie began playing piano and singing in functions on Abbott High School, and by age 14, she began traveling with evangelists around Austin and through Texas.

Willie also attended Abbott High School, and was quite active in the athletic area, playing halfback on the school football team.

willie-nelson-highschool

 

He also played basketball as a guard, and shortstop in baseball.

Bobbie and Willie - School Yard Pals

Bobbie and Willie – School Yard Pals

When she was 16, Bobbie met 21-year-old ex-GI Bud Fletcher at a revival at Vaughn Methodist Church, near Hillsboro. The couple married a few months later, while Bobbie was a senior at Abbott High. “I’d kiss my husband goodbye every morning then get on the school bus,” she recalled.

Not long after the honeymoon, Fletcher, seeing so much talent in his new bride and the brother she called “Hughtie,” organized a western swing dance band around them – “Bud Fletcher and the Texans”. She joined on the piano, while Willie, who was still at school, joined on vocals and guitar.

When I got married, Bud immediately organized our first band,” says Bobbie. “He loved Willie, and Willie went with us on all of our dates. He also loved to dance and to drink beer, and he knew all the joints in West and Waco, which Willie and I had never been to. It was a big beginning for me.

Bud Fletcher and the Texans, with the Nelsons at left

Bud Fletcher and the Texans, with the Nelsons at left

A non-musician in the beginning, Fletcher took on the role of emcee, adding a Bob Wills-ian “Ah-Ha” to hot solos, introducing band members and pumping up the crowd. He eventually learned to play bass fiddle and then the drums. “Bud was one of those outgoing guys who could talk to anyone,” Bobbie said. “And he was a fabulous dancer.” Bobbie became pregnant with her first of three boys, Randy, when she was 19.

In 1950 Willie graduated from high school and joined the United States Air Force for eight to nine months, but was later discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years but dropped out because he was becoming quite successful in music.

In 1952, Willie married Martha Matthews and he went on to work as a disc jockey at local radio stations. He had short stints with KHBR in Hillsboro, Texas, and later with KBOP in Pleasanton, Texas, where he did his last show in 1954.

It was at Radio station KBOP in 1954 that Willie also sang over the air what became his first recording: here is When I’ve Sang My Last Hillbilly Song with [edited] DJ  intro by Rodney Crowell
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From 1954 to 1956 he  studied agriculture at Baylor University. He joined the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, but dropped out to pursue a more serious future in music.

Meanwhile, Bobbie, by age 23 had three sons and was still playing in her husband’s band. But too many nights in a roadhouse were wearing Fletcher down and he was sick [with alcoholism]. “Bud was a great person and we loved each other very much, but he was having a rough time,” she said. “That’s why, to this day, I hate alcohol. I’m so glad Willie doesn’t drink anymore.

The young parents of three small boys had very little money. In 1955, Bud’s parents went to court to get custody of Randy, Michael and Freddy and won. “They tried to portray me as unfit because I played honky tonk piano. It just broke my heart.” Bobbie said. “Bud’s father was the road commissioner of Hill County and had a lot of influence”. Bud Fletcher’s Texans band was dissembled in 1955 after Bobbie and Bud divorced.

Now Willie was a becoming a real going concern. He held jobs as a tree-trimmer, saddle-maker, as well as selling door-to-door bibles, vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias.

In 1956, Willie moved to Vancouver, Washington, to begin his formal musical career. His first record, “No Place For Me” included Leon Payne’s “Lumberjack” on the B-side, but was not successful.
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He continued working as a radio announcer and singing in Vancouver clubs. He sold his song “Family Bible” for only US$50 to a guitar instructor, and, ironically, the song turned into a huge hit for Claude Gray in 1960.
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WillieNelson2

In 1960,

Willie signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which was owned in part by Ray Price. This allowed him to join Ray Price’s band as a bassist. During that time, he wrote songs that would become country standards, including “Funny How Time Slips Away“, “Hello Walls“, “Pretty Paper“, and “Crazy“.

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In 1961, Bud Fletcher died on a car accident and Bobbie Nelson suffered a devastating breakdown. She was admitted into a hospital in Fort Worth after custody of her children was granted to Fletcher’s parents. “The Fletchers hated the Nelsons,” said Freddy Fletcher. “They looked down on musicians and blamed my mother for getting my father involved, when in reality it was his idea to start a band.

To get back custody of her kids, Bobbie married again and started working at a television repair shop in town. The owner of the store even rented a piano for her to be a comfort to her problems.

Bobbie gave up the nightlife, took bookkeeping courses and got a job with the Hammond Organ Company in Fort Worth. She then got her sons back after a year with their grandparents and moved to Austin, Texas. She later remarried, but that union ended in divorce after a few years, as did her third and final marriage in the late 1960s.

While Bobbie’s life revolved around her three sons, Willie started to hit the jackpot as a Nashville songwriter. “I was just so proud of him,” Bobbie said. “People got tired of hearing me say ‘my brother Willie wrote that one’ whenever one of his songs came on the radio.

In 1962, Willie recorded his first album, And Then I Wrote.

willie-nelson-and-then-i-wrote

Due to great  success of Willie’s first album, he signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year.

Willie Nelson performing on a Grand Ole Opry package show in 1965

Willie Nelson performing on a Grand Ole Opry package show in 1965

In 1965 Bobbie moved to Austin from Fort Worth to demonstrate a Hammond organ for the El Chico restaurant set to open at the spanking new Hancock Center.

Young Bobbie Nelson sitting at a Hammond Organ

Young Bobbie Nelson sitting at a Hammond Organ

Impressed by her interpretations of such standards as “Stardust” and “Laura,” as well as her boogie-woogie and swing numbers, the owners offered Bobbie a job playing nightly. She later opened the Chariot Inn in North Austin and played regularly at the Lakeway Inn.

Later in 1965 after her third marriage failed Bobbie moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she played in restaurants and different venues for several years.

WillieNelsonRadio

After mid-chart hits in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Willie retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas.

Even in the mid-60s Willie was regarded as something of an outlaw in Nashville.  He wasn’t an angry man, far from it.  Mainly, he went his own  way as he does today.  The brass in Music City USA told Willie to forget about a singing career and concentrate on writing songs.

But the rise in popularity of hippie music in Austin enticed Willie to come back out of retirement, and he started performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters.

In 1973 Willie signed with Atlantic records and went to New York to do some recording. He turned to outlaw country, including albums such as Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages.

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One day in early 1973, Bobbie got a call from Willie, summoning her to New York to play piano on his gospel album “The Troublemaker.” The deal that Willie signed with Atlantic Records gave him complete creative control, including choice of session players, that had been denied him in Nashville.

1973 Bobbie and Willie

1973 Bobbie and Willie

When Willie called me to come to New York , I was ready,” Bobbie said. “I was always playing the piano, using music to survive, so I never got rusty.” So at age 42, empty-nester Bobbie Nelson took her very first airplane flight and embarked on a new musical journey that is still going strong.

Although Willie and producer Arif Mardin had blocked out five days at Atlantic studio, Bobbie would be needed only the first day, when “The Troublemaker” was knocked out in ten hours. The next day, Willie was back with his band to record what would become “Shotgun Willie.”

WIllieNelson-Shotgun

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Bobbie had planned to do some shopping and then head home to Austin. “They must’ve missed me,” Bobbie said, “because when I stopped by the studio the next day, Willie asked me to stick around and play the piano some more.

Thus, “sister Bobbie“, as she is known,  joined The Family, full time, and began touring with her brother and has been with the extended Nelson family ever since . They have been musical partners for an incredible 70 years.

Willie said there’s an instinctive connection between him and his sister that he doesn’t feel with any other musician. “She knows what I’m going to do even before I do sometimes,” he said with a laugh.

In 1975, Willie switched to Columbia Records, where he recorded the critically acclaimed album, Red Headed Stranger.

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The same year, he recorded another outlaw country album, Wanted! The Outlaws, along with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser.

In 1976, Willie bought Bobbie an $85,000 Bösendorfer grand piano like the one she played on “Red Headed Stranger.” But when IRS agents seized Willie’s property in 1990 to help satisfy a $16.7 million tax lien, Bobbie’s piano was among the Pedernales studio contents auctioned off.

Friends of the Nelsons bought the Bosendorfer and gave it back to Bobbie. It’s the piano she plays so exquisitely on “Audiobiography” and all of Willie’s records.

In the mid-70s, when “Red Headed Stranger” hit, and the parties and groupies got crazy, Bobbie didn’t ride with Willie and the band but flew to gigs and stayed in hotels. But she’s traveled with Willie since 1983 and has learned to tolerate the ever-present illegal perfume.

I think he smokes (marijuana) too much,” Bobbie said, “but that’s just because I’m worried about his health.

Willie said his sister’s physical well being is also foremost in his mind. “We were all very concerned (in March), but she has great doctors and they caught the problem early,” he said.

If any two people deserve to live forever, they are Bobbie and Willie Nelson, who have filled the air with beautiful music and helped whomever they could. But one day, one of them will have to go on without the other, a prospect neither Willie nor Bobbie wants to face.

Every day is so precious,” Bobbie said. “Every time I play with Willie is a gift. We are just so blessed to be still doing what we’re doing after all these years.

1982 was a super year for Willie. He released the album Always on My Mind

WillieNelson-AlwaysLP

It was the Billboard number one country album of the year for 1982, and stayed 253 weeks on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts, peaking at number one for a total of 22 weeks, as well as spending 99 weeks on the Billboard 200 for all albums, peaking at number two for 3 weeks.

During recording sessions for this collaboration album with Merle Haggard, Pancho & Lefty, the producer Chips Moman and Bobby Emmons suggested to cover a song of Johnny Christopher’s; Always on My Mind. Haggard had no interest in record a version of the song for the album; instead Nelson recorded his own version and the album that was entitled Always on My Mind.

Later in his autobiography, Willie stated: “We’ll never know what would have happened if Merle had really heard the song right. “Always on My Mind” bowled me over the moment I first heard it, which is one way I pick songs to record“.

The rest of the album was constituted by adult-contemporary and pop standards, such as “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water“.

The Highwaymen: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, WIllie Nelson, Kris Kristoferson

The Highwaymen: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, WIllie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson

During the mid 1980s, Willie joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen, along with fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.  During that time he was creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose and recording hit songs like “On the Road Again“, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before“, and “Pancho & Lefty“.

In 1989 Bobbie lost two of her three sons, Michael to leukemia and Randy in a car crash, in a six-month period. “Me and my three boys grew up together, and we had so much fun … and then to lose two of your three babies, well, it’s something you never get over,” Bobbie said. “It taught me to never take life for granted.” Another reminder came in March, when Bobbie underwent heart surgery to insert a pacemaker.

In 1990 Willie’s assets were seized by the Internal Revenue Service, which claimed that he owed US $32,000,000. It was later discovered that his accountants, Price Waterhouse, did not pay Nelson’s taxes for years. The difficulty of paying his outstanding debt was aggravated by weak investments he had made during the 1980s.

In 1991, Willie released The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?

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By 1993, the profits of the double album, destined to the IRS, and the auction of Nelson’s assets cleared his debt.

Over the years, the brother and sister have never had an argument, Bobbie said, even after she was awakened by police in Louisiana in September 2006 and charged, with Willie and three others, with possession of a pound and a half of marijuana and three ounces of psychedelic mushrooms.

The prim and proper churchgoer has never used drugs, but since they were found on the bus she was traveling in, Bobbie was cited with the others. “All I knew was that if Willie was going to jail, they’d have to take me to jail, too,” she said. But Willie and company were issued only misdemeanor citations and sent on their way.

amily photo of Bobbie (left) and Willie Nelson circa 1973.

Willie and Bobby 2007

In 2008 76-year-old Bobbie stepped out of the background with her first solo album, “Audiobiography,” titled so because it’s the story of her life through the songs she’s played. “I’ve always expressed myself best through music,” she said recently at the Pedernales recording studio owned by her son Freddy Fletcher. “I remember when I got my first piano. I thought, ‘I’ll never be lonely again.’

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Audiobiography” contains 10 piano instrumentals, bookended by a pair of Willie Nelson originals. It’s just Willie and Bobbie on those two new tunes, just like on their tour bus, where Bobbie slides a keyboard from the bottom of an adjoining bunk and Willie pulls out a guitar whenever inspiration hits.

Even after two and a half hours on stage, the brother and sister act whose ages add up to more than 150 will often play gospel standards or work out new songs on the Honeysuckle Rose IV bus as it hurtles through the deep darkness between gigs.

It was also just Willie and Bobbie on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Tonight Show”, as the younger brother has pledged to promote his sister’s album however he can. “It’s long overdue,” Willie said. “Whenever our band plays, Sister Bobbie is the best musician on the stage.

During the 1990s and 2000s, Willie continued touring extensively, and released new albums every year. Reviews ranged from positive to mixed. He has explored genres such as reggae, blues, jazz, and folk. Nelson even made his first movie appearance in the 1979 film The Electric Horseman, followed by other appearances in movies and on television.

 (L-R) Willie and Bobbie Nelson performing in concert in 2012

(L-R) Willie and Bobbie Nelson performing in concert in 2012

Today Willie swears that he doesn’t care about the current Nashville controversy, of the old guys getting no airplay because the video–genic young bucks are all over the place.

What’s funny to me, today they say, ‘Well, I wish I’d hear more of the old players — whatever happened to Randy Travis and George Strait?’ I knew when I heard that. I was out of luck, that they forgot about me years ago.

Willie Nelson is widely recognized as an American icon. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, and he received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998. In 2011, Nelson was inducted to the National Agricultural Hall of Fame, for his labor in Farm Aid and other fund risers to benefit farmers.

A street sign named after Willie

A street sign named after Willie

Nelson lives in Maui, Hawaii, in a largely self-sustaining community where all the homes use only solar power. Neighbors include Kris Kristofferson, Woody Harrelson, and Owen Wilson.

Guitars

In 1969, the Baldwin company gave Willie an amplifier and a three-cord pickup electric guitar. During a show in Helotes, Texas, Nelson left the guitar on the floor of the stage and it got stepped on by a drunk. He sent it to be repaired in Nashville by Shot Jackson, who told Nelson that the damage was too great.

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Martin N-20 Classical Guitar

Jackson offered Willie a Martin N-20 Classical guitar, and, at Nelson’s request, moved the pickup to the Martin. Nelson purchased the guitar unseen for US$750 and named it after Roy Rogers’ horse “Trigger“.

The next year Nelson rescued the guitar from his burning ranch.

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Willie Nelson’s Martin N-20

There are several damages in the soundboard, near the sound hole there is a big hole and the wood is worn out in the surrounding areas of it. The guitar has several signatures on it. there is a blue and white strap in the sound hole.
Willie Nelson’s guitar, Trigger, has been signed by several of Nelson’s friends

Constant strumming with a guitar pick over the decades has worn a large sweeping hole into the guitar’s body near the sound hole—the N-20 has no pick-guard since classical guitars are meant to be played finger style instead of with picks.

Its soundboard has been signed by over a hundred of Nelson’s friends and associates, ranging from fellow musicians to lawyers and football coaches. The first signature on the guitar was Leon Russell’s, who asked Nelson initially to sign his guitar. When Nelson was about to sign it with a marker, Russell requested him to scratch it instead, explaining that the guitar would be more valuable in the future. Interested in the concept, Nelson requested Russell to also sign his guitar.

In 1991, during his process with the IRS, Nelson was worried that Trigger could be auctioned off, stating: “When Trigger goes, I’ll quit“. He asked his daughter, Lana, to take the guitar from the studio before any IRS agent got there, and bring it to him on Maui. Nelson then hid the guitar in his manager’s house until his debt was paid in 1993.

In his book, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to Happiness in Your Heart, Nelson described the influence of the guitar in his style: “One of the secrets to my sound is almost beyond explanation. My battered old Martin guitar, Trigger, has the greatest tone I’ve ever heard from a guitar […] If I picked up the finest guitar made this year and tried to play my solos exactly the way you heard them on the radio or even at last night’s show, I’d always be a copy of myself and we’d all end up bored. But if I play an instrument that is now a part of me, and do it according to the way that feels right for me […] I’ll always be an original“.

Willie Nelson is a major liberal activist and the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which is in favor of marijuana legalization. On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil. Nelson is also the honorary chairman of the Advisory Board of the Texas Music Project, the official music charity of the state of Texas.

Thanks to Wikipedia and Michael Corcoran for some of this material.

2012 CMA Music Awards – Willie Nelson Tribute (He can be seen near the end of this video playing his faithful Martin guitar, “Trigger” and then he received a Lifetime Achievement Award)

Willie Nelson singles discography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Nelson_singles_discography

List of songs written by Willie Nelson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This list contains songs written by American singer-songwriter Willie Nelson, including those where he is credited as co-author. The songs are arranged alphabetically.

A

A Moment Isn’t Very Long
Ain’t It Funny How Wine Sips (co-written With Sheb Wooley)
Albania Albania
Always Now
American Dream (co-written With Bob Dylan)
Amnesia
And So Will You My Love
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
Annie
Any Old Arms Won’t Do (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Are You Ever Coming Home (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Are You Sure (co-written With Buddy Emmons)
Ashamed
Au Jardin De Mes Reves (Albert Babin, rearranged)

B

Bach Minuet In G (rearranged)
Back On The Road (co-written With Nathan Mackey)
Back to Earth
Baja Oklahoma (co-written With Dan Jenkins)
Bandera
Bird (co-written With Robert Braddock, Hal Coleman, Barry Etris, Claude Putman, Jr. And John Bush Shinn III)
Bird Medley
Blame It On The Times
Bloody Mary Morning
Blue Rock Montana
Both Ends Of The Candle
Broken Promise
Buddy

C

Chain Of Love
Changing Skies
Christmas Blues (co-written With Booker Jones)
Cling To The Spark
Cold Empty Spark
Come On Back Jesus
Congratulations
Country Willie
Crazy
Cry Softly Darling
Crying In The Heart

D

Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
Darling Are You Ever Coming Home
December Day
Denver
Devil In A Sleeping Bag
Did I Ever Love You
Do Your Thing You’re A Cowboy
Don’t Way Love Or Nothing
Down At The Corner Beer Joint
Dream Come True

E

Ehrbares Madchen
El Niño
Electric Horseman
Eleven Dixie Mudcats
End Of Understanding
Everybody’s Baby
Everything But You
Everywhere I Go

F

Face Of A Fighter
Family Bible
Follow Me Around
Following Me Around
Forgiving You Was Easy
Funny
Funny How Time Slips Away

G

Ghost
Go Away
Goin’ Home
Good Hearted Woman (co-written With Waylon Jennings)
Good Times
Great Divide

H

Half A Man
Half Black Half Leopard
Happiness Lives Next Door
Hard Edge Texas (co-written With Kris Kristofferson)
Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall
He’s Not For You
Healing Hands Of Time
Heartaches Of A Fool
Heartland
Heaven And Hell
Heebie Jeebie Blues No. 2
Hej Meddig
Hello Darling
Hello Fool
Hello Wall Number 2
Hello Walls
Hero
Hint Of Song
Hold Me Tighter
Home Is Where You’re Happy
Home Motel
Homecoming In Heaven
Hot Blooded Woman
Hot Time In Music City Blues
How Does It Feel
How Long Is Forever

I

I Am The Forest
I Can Cry Again
I Can Get Off On You
I Can Still Reach Yesterday
I Can’t Find The Time
I Didn’t Sleep A Wink
I Don’t Feel Anything
I Don’t Understand
I Feel Sorry For Him
I Gotta Get Drunk
I Guard The Canadian Border
I Guess I Ve Come To Live Here
I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye
I Just Don’t Understand
I Just Stopped By
I Let My Mind Wander
I Live One Day At A Time
I Never Cared For You
I Should Have Kissed Her More
I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone
I Thought About You
I Want A Girl
I Want To Be Alone
I Write You Letters
I’d Already Cheated On You
I’d Rather You Didn’t Love Me
I’ll Stay Around
I’m A Memory
I’m Building Heartaches
I’m Falling In Love Again
I’m Gonna Lose A Lot Of Teardrops
I’m Not Trying To Forget You
I’m So Ashamed
I’m Still Not Over You
I’m Waiting forever
I’ve Got A Wonderful Future
I’ve Just Destroyed The World
I’ve Loved You All Over The World
I’ve Seen All This World
If You Could Only See
If You Really Loved Me
In God’s Eyes
In The Car Again
Is The Better Part Over
Is There Something On Your Mind
Island In The Sea
It Could Be Said That Way
It Should Be Easier Now
It’s A Dream Come True
It’s Not For Me To Understand
It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way

J

Jimmy’s Road
Jingle Bells (James Pierpoint, rearranged)
Just As I Am (Charlotte Elliott, William B. Bradbury)
Just For The Moment

K

Kneel At The Feel Of Jesus

L

Laying My Burdens Down
Lear And A Limo (co-written With Mickey Raphael)
Leave Alone
Let Me Be A Man
Let My Heart Be Broken
Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers
Little Old Fashioned Karma
Little Things
Local Memory
Loco
London
Lonely Little Mansion
Looking For A Place To Fall (co-written With Merle Haggard And Freddy Powers)

M

Makin’s Of A Song (co-written With Max Barnes, Waylon Jennings And Troy Seals)
Man With The Blues
Mariachi
Matador
Me And Paul
Mean Old Greyhound Bus
Message
Misery Mansion
More Than One Way To Cry
Mr. Record Man
My Kind Of Girl
My Love
My Love For The Rose
My Own Peculiar Way
My Party’s Over

N

New Way To Cry
Night Life
No Love Around
No Place For Me
No Tomorrow In Sight
Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy
Nobody Slides My Friend

O

O’er The Waves (Juventino Rosas, rearranged)
Old Age And Treachert
On the Road Again
On The Road Too Long
Once Along
One Day At A Time
One In A Row
One Step Beyond
Opportunity To Cry
Our Chain Of Love
Over You Again

P

Pages
Part Where I Cry
Party’s Over
Permanently Lonely
Pet Wrangler
Phases, Stages, Circles, Cycles
Pick Up The Pieces
Pick Up The Tempo
Place To Fall Apart (co-written With Merle Haggard And Freddy Powers)
Precious Memories
Pretend I Never Happened
Pretty Paper
Pride Wins Again
Promises Promises
Pullamo

R

Rainy Day Blues
Raysha’s Theme
Remember The Good Times
Ridge Top
Right From Wrong
Road Happy (co-written With Dolly Parton)
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die
Run Jody Run

S

Sad Songs And Waltzes
Save Your Tears
Shall We Gather
She Always Comes Back To Me
She Is Gone
She Might Call
She’s Gone (co-written With Fred Foster)
She’s Not For You
She’s Still Gone (Shirley Nelson)
Shelter Of My Arms
Shotgun Willie
Sister’s Coming Home
Sit On My Lap
Sitting Here In Limbo
Slow Down Old World
So Much To Do
So You Think You’re A Cowboy
Solidarity
Some Other Time
Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
Someone Waiting For You
Something To Think About
Sometimes She Lies (Harlan Howard, rearranged)
Somewhere In Texas
Songwriter
Sorrow Tearing Me Apart
Sound In Your Mind
Spirit I-iii
Spirit Of E Nine
Stage Coach Score (co-written With David Alan Coe)
Still Is Still Moving To Me
Storm Has Just Begun
Storm Within My Heart
Suffer In Silence
Summer Of Roses
Sweet Bye And Bye

T

Take My Advice (co-written With David Alan Coe)
Take My Word
Talk To Me
Tell It To Jesus
Texas
That’s What Children Are For
That’s Why I Love Her
There Are Worse Things Than Be
There Goes A Man
There Is A Fountain
There Is No Easy Way
There Shall Be Showers Of Blessings
There’s A Way
There’s Gonna Be Love In My Home
There’s No Tomorrow In Sight
There’s Worse Things Than Being Alone
These Are Difficult Times
They’re All The Same
Things To Remember
Three Days
Time Of The Preacher
To Make A Long Story Short
Today’s Gonna Make A Wonderful
Too Sick To Pray
Too Young To Settle Down (co-writen With Jack Rhodes)
Touch Me
Tougher Than Leather
Truth Will Set You Free
Turn Out The Lights (co-written By Hank Craig)
Twice The Man (co-written With Edwin Griens And Maribeth Murray)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Two Different Roads (Hank Cochran, Jan Crutchfield; rearranged)
Two Sides To Every Story
Two Stories Wide

U

Uncloudy Day
Under The Double Eagle
Undo The Right (co-written With Hank Cochran)

V

Valentine
Vir Ewig Is Ek Joune

W

Waiting Forever For You
Waiting Time
Wake Me When It’s Over
Walking
Wanted On Mother (co-written With Harlan Howard)
We Don’t Run
We Look For Love
We Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
What A Way To Live (co-written With Hank Craig)
What Can You Do To Me Now (co-written With Hank Cochran)
What Do You Think Of Her Now (co-written With Hank Cochran)
What Do You Want Me To Do
What Right Have I
When I’ve Sung My Last Hillbilly
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
When We Live Again
Where Do You Stand
Where My House Lives
Where The Soul Never Dies
Where’s The Show
Whispering Hope
White Cadillac Convertible Blue
Who Do I Know In Dallas (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Who’ll Buy My Memories (co-written With Eddie Noack)
Why Are You Picking On Me
Why Do I Have To Choose
Wilie Tuning
Will You Remember
Will You Remember Mine
Within Your Crowd
Wonderful Future
Words Don’t Fit The Picture
Write Your Own Song

Y

Yesterday’s Wine
You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore
You Dream About Me
You Left A Long Long Time Ago
You Memory Won’t Die
You Ought To Hear Me Cry
You Took My Happyness Away
You’ll Always Have Someone (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Your Country Boy
You Wouldn’t Cross The Street
List of songs written by Willie Nelson
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See also Willie Nelson albums discography, and Willie Nelson singles discography.

This list contains songs written by American singer-songwriter Willie Nelson, including those where he is credited as co-author. The songs are arranged alphabetically.

Contents:
Top   0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A

A Moment Isn’t Very Long
Ain’t It Funny How Wine Sips (co-written With Sheb Wooley)
Albania Albania
Always Now
American Dream (co-written With Bob Dylan)
Amnesia
And So Will You My Love
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
Annie
Any Old Arms Won’t Do (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Are You Ever Coming Home (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Are You Sure (co-written With Buddy Emmons)
Ashamed
Au Jardin De Mes Reves (Albert Babin, rearranged)

B

Bach Minuet In G (rearranged)
Back On The Road (co-written With Nathan Mackey)
Back to Earth
Baja Oklahoma (co-written With Dan Jenkins)
Bandera
Bird (co-written With Robert Braddock, Hal Coleman, Barry Etris, Claude Putman, Jr. And John Bush Shinn III)
Bird Medley
Blame It On The Times
Bloody Mary Morning
Blue Rock Montana
Both Ends Of The Candle
Broken Promise
Buddy

C

Chain Of Love
Changing Skies
Christmas Blues (co-written With Booker Jones)
Cling To The Spark
Cold Empty Spark
Come On Back Jesus
Congratulations
Country Willie
Crazy
Cry Softly Darling
Crying In The Heart

D

Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
Darling Are You Ever Coming Home
December Day
Denver
Devil In A Sleeping Bag
Did I Ever Love You
Do Your Thing You’re A Cowboy
Don’t Way Love Or Nothing
Down At The Corner Beer Joint
Dream Come True

E

Ehrbares Madchen
El Niño
Electric Horseman
Eleven Dixie Mudcats
End Of Understanding
Everybody’s Baby
Everything But You
Everywhere I Go

F

Face Of A Fighter
Family Bible
Follow Me Around
Following Me Around
Forgiving You Was Easy
Funny
Funny How Time Slips Away

G

Ghost
Go Away
Goin’ Home
Good Hearted Woman (co-written With Waylon Jennings)
Good Times
Great Divide

H

Half A Man
Half Black Half Leopard
Happiness Lives Next Door
Hard Edge Texas (co-written With Kris Kristofferson)
Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall
He’s Not For You
Healing Hands Of Time
Heartaches Of A Fool
Heartland
Heaven And Hell
Heebie Jeebie Blues No. 2
Hej Meddig
Hello Darling
Hello Fool
Hello Wall Number 2
Hello Walls
Hero
Hint Of Song
Hold Me Tighter
Home Is Where You’re Happy
Home Motel
Homecoming In Heaven
Hot Blooded Woman
Hot Time In Music City Blues
How Does It Feel
How Long Is Forever

I

I Am The Forest
I Can Cry Again
I Can Get Off On You
I Can Still Reach Yesterday
I Can’t Find The Time
I Didn’t Sleep A Wink
I Don’t Feel Anything
I Don’t Understand
I Feel Sorry For Him
I Gotta Get Drunk
I Guard The Canadian Border
I Guess I Ve Come To Live Here
I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye
I Just Don’t Understand
I Just Stopped By
I Let My Mind Wander
I Live One Day At A Time
I Never Cared For You
I Should Have Kissed Her More
I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone
I Thought About You
I Want A Girl
I Want To Be Alone
I Write You Letters
I’d Already Cheated On You
I’d Rather You Didn’t Love Me
I’ll Stay Around
I’m A Memory
I’m Building Heartaches
I’m Falling In Love Again
I’m Gonna Lose A Lot Of Teardrops
I’m Not Trying To Forget You
I’m So Ashamed
I’m Still Not Over You
I’m Waiting forever
I’ve Got A Wonderful Future
I’ve Just Destroyed The World
I’ve Loved You All Over The World
I’ve Seen All This World
If You Could Only See
If You Really Loved Me
In God’s Eyes
In The Car Again
Is The Better Part Over
Is There Something On Your Mind
Island In The Sea
It Could Be Said That Way
It Should Be Easier Now
It’s A Dream Come True
It’s Not For Me To Understand
It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way

J

Jimmy’s Road
Jingle Bells (James Pierpoint, rearranged)
Just As I Am (Charlotte Elliott, William B. Bradbury)
Just For The Moment

K

Kneel At The Feel Of Jesus

L

Laying My Burdens Down
Lear And A Limo (co-written With Mickey Raphael)
Leave Alone
Let Me Be A Man
Let My Heart Be Broken
Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers
Little Old Fashioned Karma
Little Things
Local Memory
Loco
London
Lonely Little Mansion
Looking For A Place To Fall (co-written With Merle Haggard And Freddy Powers)

M

Makin’s Of A Song (co-written With Max Barnes, Waylon Jennings And Troy Seals)
Man With The Blues
Mariachi
Matador
Me And Paul
Mean Old Greyhound Bus
Message
Misery Mansion
More Than One Way To Cry
Mr. Record Man
My Kind Of Girl
My Love
My Love For The Rose
My Own Peculiar Way
My Party’s Over

N

New Way To Cry
Night Life
No Love Around
No Place For Me
No Tomorrow In Sight
Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy
Nobody Slides My Friend

O

O’er The Waves (Juventino Rosas, rearranged)
Old Age And Treachert
On the Road Again
On The Road Too Long
Once Along
One Day At A Time
One In A Row
One Step Beyond
Opportunity To Cry
Our Chain Of Love
Over You Again

P

Pages
Part Where I Cry
Party’s Over
Permanently Lonely
Pet Wrangler
Phases, Stages, Circles, Cycles
Pick Up The Pieces
Pick Up The Tempo
Place To Fall Apart (co-written With Merle Haggard And Freddy Powers)
Precious Memories
Pretend I Never Happened
Pretty Paper
Pride Wins Again
Promises Promises
Pullamo

R

Rainy Day Blues
Raysha’s Theme
Remember The Good Times
Ridge Top
Right From Wrong
Road Happy (co-written With Dolly Parton)
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die
Run Jody Run

S

Sad Songs And Waltzes
Save Your Tears
Shall We Gather
She Always Comes Back To Me
She Is Gone
She Might Call
She’s Gone (co-written With Fred Foster)
She’s Not For You
She’s Still Gone (Shirley Nelson)
Shelter Of My Arms
Shotgun Willie
Sister’s Coming Home
Sit On My Lap
Sitting Here In Limbo
Slow Down Old World
So Much To Do
So You Think You’re A Cowboy
Solidarity
Some Other Time
Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
Someone Waiting For You
Something To Think About
Sometimes She Lies (Harlan Howard, rearranged)
Somewhere In Texas
Songwriter
Sorrow Tearing Me Apart
Sound In Your Mind
Spirit I-iii
Spirit Of E Nine
Stage Coach Score (co-written With David Alan Coe)
Still Is Still Moving To Me
Storm Has Just Begun
Storm Within My Heart
Suffer In Silence
Summer Of Roses
Sweet Bye And Bye

T

Take My Advice (co-written With David Alan Coe)
Take My Word
Talk To Me
Tell It To Jesus
Texas
That’s What Children Are For
That’s Why I Love Her
There Are Worse Things Than Be
There Goes A Man
There Is A Fountain
There Is No Easy Way
There Shall Be Showers Of Blessings
There’s A Way
There’s Gonna Be Love In My Home
There’s No Tomorrow In Sight
There’s Worse Things Than Being Alone
These Are Difficult Times
They’re All The Same
Things To Remember
Three Days
Time Of The Preacher
To Make A Long Story Short
Today’s Gonna Make A Wonderful
Too Sick To Pray
Too Young To Settle Down (co-writen With Jack Rhodes)
Touch Me
Tougher Than Leather
Truth Will Set You Free
Turn Out The Lights (co-written By Hank Craig)
Twice The Man (co-written With Edwin Griens And Maribeth Murray)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Two Different Roads (Hank Cochran, Jan Crutchfield; rearranged)
Two Sides To Every Story
Two Stories Wide

U

Uncloudy Day
Under The Double Eagle
Undo The Right (co-written With Hank Cochran)

V

Valentine
Vir Ewig Is Ek Joune

W

Waiting Forever For You
Waiting Time
Wake Me When It’s Over
Walking
Wanted On Mother (co-written With Harlan Howard)
We Don’t Run
We Look For Love
We Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
What A Way To Live (co-written With Hank Craig)
What Can You Do To Me Now (co-written With Hank Cochran)
What Do You Think Of Her Now (co-written With Hank Cochran)
What Do You Want Me To Do
What Right Have I
When I’ve Sung My Last Hillbilly
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
When We Live Again
Where Do You Stand
Where My House Lives
Where The Soul Never Dies
Where’s The Show
Whispering Hope
White Cadillac Convertible Blue
Who Do I Know In Dallas (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Who’ll Buy My Memories (co-written With Eddie Noack)
Why Are You Picking On Me
Why Do I Have To Choose
Wilie Tuning
Will You Remember
Will You Remember Mine
Within Your Crowd
Wonderful Future
Words Don’t Fit The Picture
Write Your Own Song

Y

Yesterday’s Wine
You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore
You Dream About Me
You Left A Long Long Time Ago
You Memory Won’t Die
You Ought To Hear Me Cry
You Took My Happyness Away
You’ll Always Have Someone (co-written With Hank Cochran)
Your Country Boy
You Wouldn’t Cross The Street

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One response to “Bobbie Nelson and Willie Nelson

  1. HUGH "BABE" O'DONNELL

    Gary and Russ you always amaze me with your great information about singers and musicians.. Keep up the good work sometime I will have to give you the name of THE GUITARMAN who owns 20 rare instruments and has his own state-of-the-art recording studio and worked with well-know singers for 2o years his name is Don CAPPA for a head start.
    I am sorry when BOBBIE LEE NELSON sang in Pittsburgh, Pa. in 2017 she missed me seeing her lovely voiced and beauty.

    THE EMPEROR OF PARTIES AND GREAT MUSIC

    HUGH “BABE” O’DONNELL

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