miércoles, 5 de diciembre de 2007

Willie Nelson: Biography

Willie Nelson was born on April 30, 1933 in Abbot, Texas to parents Ira and Myrle Nelson. As a child, Willie and his sister Bobbie Lee Nelson were raised by their paternal grandparents. The young Nelsons' first musical experiences came from mail-order courses their grandparents taught to them. Willie Nelson was given his first guitar at age six.

Growing up, music had been a central part of Willie's life. He was fascinated by by big band, country (Texas-Style), and especially by the music of Frank Sinatra. Willie's first gig was playing at a dance at age 10. During his teenage years, Willie played dances and honkey-tonks with Bud Fletcher and Floyd Tillman, among others. Aside from the bands, He earned money as a door to door salesman. Later, in high school, Nelson worked for a local radio station, and by his graduating year he had his own radio show.

After briefly serving in the Air Force, Willie, now twenty three, singehandedly recorded, financed, and sold his first song, entitled "No Place For Me". By 1959, Willie had been married and divorced and was the father of two children. Willie was working as a full time disk-jockey and wrote songs in his spare time. One of his best works, "Family Bible" was written and sold for a little more than $100.

The next year, however, was a different story. Nelson finally made a decent amount of money from selling songs, particulary "Night Life" which he sold for and undisclosed amount to three Texas businessmen. Willie bought a buick convertible and set off, bound for Nashville. Compared to the 'Country Dump' Willie Nelson lived in before the move, he fell in love with Nashville. Rightly so, because after only two years he had well established himself as a writer and had already sold two number one hits to Faron Young and Patsy Cline. This began a real change of Nelson's attitude twoard things.

Willie continued writing and selling music until December of 1970 when his house burnt down. Nelson packed up his things and headed back to Texas. After living in Nashville for ten years, Nelson had forgot about the lack of musicians in Texas. With very few candidates in the market for buying Willie's music he soon became hard-pressed to sell anything. Since he couldn't write and sell music, Nelson did the next best thing; he began performing his own work. Within the first year back in Texas, Willie had recorded two albums, "Shotgun Willie" and "Phases And Stages".

Willie Nelson continued writing and preforming in Texas over the next few years. In 1973 as his popularity grew, he started an Independence Day picnic that has grown and is still around today. Then came 1975. One of his almost nameless albums, "Red Headed Stranger", was introduced to the charts. It was a smash success, placing the name Willie Nelson in the spotlight. This prompted a collection of older Nelson music, released on one album, "Wanted: The Outlaws". This Nelson album, with over 1,000,000 copies, became the top selling country music album in history.

Around 1978, Willie launched his acting career. Nelson played roles in several films, including "Red Headed Stranger", "Thief", "Honeysuckle Rose", "Barbarosa", "Pair of Aces", "Songwriter", "Electric Horseman", "Stagecoach", and many more. Willie Nelson has also done television acting and cameo appearances. Nelson's most recent acting work includes a reoccurring role on "Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman", a guest appearance on "Nash Bridges", and a role in 1997's "Wag The Dog".

Since then, Willie has continued along the road of stardom, continually producing new hits. In the early eighties, Nelson began preforming duets with such diverse talents as Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Neil Young, and many others. His success and popularity has withheld strongly into the 1990s. In 1993, Nelson's 1983 song "On The Road Again" was used in the critically acclaimed soundtrack to the movie "Forrest Gump". The 90s have also seen the introduction of many great Nelson albums, such as "Across The Borderline", "Moonlight Becomes You", and "Just One Love".

Willie Nelson has proved to be a representative of American persistance under adversity and of what we call Americana. Throughout his life, Willie Nelson has not only entertained, but has provided a part of himself as our country's heritage. As an overall answer to the question "Who is Willie Nelson?", I think Leon Russell put it best: With hair as long as the generosity and talent as big as the heart, there is also a compassion that appears to be endless. Willie is a giant among men who lives inside a quiet down to earth understanding.

Leon Russell.

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