Born during the Great Depression, and raised by his grandparents, Willie Hugh Nelson wrote his first song at the age of seven and joined his first band at ten. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Polka as their lead singer and guitar player. After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force but was later discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years but dropped out because he was succeeding in music. During this time, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky tonks.
Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he wrote “Family Bible” and recorded the song “Lumberjack” in 1956. In 1960, he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which 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”. In 1962, he recorded his first album, And Then I Wrote. Due to this success, Nelson signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year. After mid-chart hits in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Nelson retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas. The rise of the popularity of hippie music in Austin motivated Nelson to return from retirement, performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters. His career is still booming, and he is one of the biggest household names to come out of country music since country music was created.
Nelson is one of the biggest faces supporting the legalization of marijuana, and has performed with some of the greatest musical acts known to man, including Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaverand Sheryl Crow.
Now here is some of his awesomeness in video form:
Seven Spanish Angels with Ray Charles:
Maria (Shut up and Kiss Me):
She is Gone:
Super Man with Snoop Dogg:
Beer for my Horses with Toby Keith: