Country Music Singer-Songwriter; "Always on My Mind;" Author, "It's A Long Story"
Singer, songwriter, actor and philanthropist Willie Nelson was born on April 30, 1933, in Abbott, Texas. During his extensive career, Nelson has written more than 2,500 songs and has released close to 300 albums. He has won multiple awards, including countless Grammys, American Music Awards and Country Music Awards. In 2012, the Country Music Association…
Singer, songwriter, actor and philanthropist Willie Nelson was born on April 30, 1933, in Abbott, Texas. During his extensive career, Nelson has written more than 2,500 songs and has released close to 300 albums. He has won multiple awards, including countless Grammys, American Music Awards and Country Music Awards.
In 2012, the Country Music Association honored Nelson with an all-star tribute at the CMAs in Nashville. He is recognized worldwide as an American troubadour and icon, transcended musical genres and has remained relevant through five decades for his music, acting and as the face of such social causes as Farm Aid, development of bio-diesel and the legalization of marijuana.
Nelson had dropped out of college and worked as a radio disc jockey for several years and played gigs in his spare time. He would write songs, producing some of his most famous works — inclucing “Night Life,” “Crazy” and “Funny How Time Slips Away” — in the late 1950s.
In 1960, Nelson moved to the country music capital: Nashville, Tennessee. He got a job as a songwriter for Pamper Music, earning about $50 a week. The next year, two of Nelson’s songs become hits for other artists — Faron Young’s version of “Hello Walls” and Patsy Cline’s legendary rendition of “Crazy.” His first album was released the next year without generating much notice.
Singer Ray Price, with whom Nelson had played with previously, made Nelson’s song “Night Life” a big hit in 1963. It seemed that his songs were only successful when they were sung by other people. With his gritty, road house sound, Nelson did not fit into the traditional Nashville country music scene. Producers tried to make him fit the more classic country mold, but they just stripped away his unique style, such as his unusual manner of phrasing. And his resistance to these efforts made him a bit of an outlaw, as did his reputation as a hard-drinking, hard-living man.
Nelson moved to Austin, TX, and kept recording albums, but now he was definitely going his own way. Soon the long haired, bandana-wearing guitarist started to develop a following. Shotgun Willie (1973) is considered to be one of his greatest albums of all time, and showcased his abilities as a singer, storyteller, and performer. The next year, Nelson released Phases and Stages, which became another popular album for the rising star.
With his album, Red Headed Stranger, Nelson had his first taste of crossover success. It did well on both the country and rock charts and featured the hit “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” which was written by Fred Rose. Along with being his first song to reach No. 1 on the country charts, the song also brought Nelson his first Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1975.
Always interested in different music styles, Nelson recorded his own takes on some American standards on his album Stardust. His cover of Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell’s “Georgia on My Mind” earned him his second Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance.
Around this time, Nelson also branched out into acting. He first appeared in “The Electric Horseman” starring Robert Redford. Soon after, Nelson starred in “Honeysuckle Rose,” in which he played a veteran country musician performer. The film also featured the song “On the Road Again,” which earned Nelson an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. The ballad “Always on my Mind” won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1982.
The following year, Nelson teamed up with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson to form the Highwaymen. Their first release was a big hit, as was the title track, and they produced another album.
Nelson still tours heavily, playing approximately 150 to 200 dates a year. Always experimenting, Nelson continues to try out new types of material. In 2005, he released Countryman, which incorporated elements of reggae. Nelson’s album, Heroes, featured appearances by Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristoferrson and Sheryl Crow, among others. In 2012 the Country Music Association honored Nelson with an all-star tribute at the CMAs in Nashville.
Nelson has also appeared on the big screen in more films such as “Surfer Dude” in 2008, “Shoot Out of Luck,” “Beer for My Horses” and “The Boom Boom Room.”
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
An Evening With Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson and His Sons Discuss Growing up on Tour and Performing as a Family
1 HOUR OR LESS