|The late 1960s and 1970s saw the resurgence of a
more traditional country sound. The Nashville sound, by 1970,
was well-worn, and had merged into the pre-British Revolution
pop culture in many areas. Southern Country Rockers such
as The Outlaws, The Marshall Tucker Band, David Allan Coe, The
Charlie Daniels Band, and others took country to a new, higher
level. Without a doubt, though, it was the outlaws who defined
this era in country music.
My what a good looking fellow he is!!!
|Born in Abbot, Texas, on April 30, 1933, Willie
Nelson was raised by his grandparents after his own parents had
separated. His grandparents taught him some chords and by his
teens he was becoming proficient on guitar. After his discharge
from the Air Force in the early '50s, Nelson took a job hosting
country shows on a Fort Worth station, doubling at night as a
musician in some rough local honky-tonks and, whenever he could,
he was jotting down songs.
When he finally made his way to Nashville and found a job in Ray
Price's band as a bass player, he found that he was finally
playing his songs. Price, a huge name of that era, made Nelson's
"Night Life" his theme song (more than 70 artists have
since recorded "Night Life"). Faron Young cut
"Hello Walls," and Patsy Cline "Crazy,"
both in 1961, and Willie himself recorded "The Party's
After poaching most of Ray Price's band from him, Nelson went on
the road, and got remarried, settling in Fort Worth, Los
Angeles, and Nashville. Besides recording 18 albums in three
years, he also helped the career of Charley Pride, featuring him
on his show in the deepest South during the racially sensitive
years of civil rights.
During the '60s, the smooth Nashville Sound was in its
ascendancy and Willie found himself becoming increasingly
disillusioned with big business methods, hankering to make his
mark as a singer rather than as a songwriter and preferably on
his own terms.
Nelson's music in the early and middle 1960's is credited with
sparking the "outlaw" or progressive country music
movement. His biggest hits, however, came later, in the 1970s.
After leaving RCA (with the help of Neil Reshen, who later
became his manager), Nelson signed with Atlantic, an established
label new in country music.
Willie reconciled hip and redneck musical interests and helped
lead a new explosion of interest in country music, teaming up
with Waylon Jennings to top the country charts with "Good
Hearted Woman" in 1976, and to be featured on country's
first certified platinum album, the "Wanted:
The Outlaws" compilation. Nelson recorded his most
popular (and arguably his best) album in 1978 with Jennings,
Leon Russell, and Ray Price entitled "Stardust," a
collection of Tin Pan Alley standards.
Strangely enough, Nelson can also be credited with starting the
cross-over movement, with his 1975 pop hit "Blue
Eyes Cryin' in the Rain." Two of Nelson's other
pop/country hits, "Always On My Mind," and "On
the Road Again," also fueled the Urban Cowboy movement.
Included here is a classic Willie Nelson track, "Nothing's
Changed, Nothing's New."
Refusing to be tied down to commercial considerations, Nelson
has recorded such diverse album projects as
"Stardust," "The Troublemaker" (a gospel
set), "To Lefty From Willie" (a tribute to Lefty
Frizzell), "Angel Eyes" (featuring jazz guitarist
Jackie King), and his acclaimed return to mainstream audiences
in 1993, "Across the Borderline" (produced by Don Was,
and featuring Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and others).