The Life Of Willie Nelson

via @AustinCityLimitsTV | Youtube

Willie Nelson is known for his hit songs, “Crazy” and “On the Road Again.”

He was born in Texas in 1933, he rose to prominence before the end of the 1960s as a country singer and songwriter, and was known for his contribution to the sub-genre, “outlaw country.” He has written some of the most memorable country songs of all time and was an award-winning artist. Most of his songs have been covered by a wide range of various artists. 

He started his musical journey at a young age, he was born on April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas – son to Myrle and Ira D. Nelson. He has an older sister, Bobbie, and both were raised by their grandparents during the Great Depression.

It was his grandmother who introduced him to music. Her grandmother bought both Willie and Bobbie to attend their town’s small Methodist, which exposed them to their earliest music experience. “The first music we learned was from the hymn books. Willie had such a beautiful voice,” Bobbie told Texas Monthly in 2008. Both of their parental grandparents had a musical background which encouraged them to play. 

He got his first guitar at the early age of six, and by then he started writing his own songs. One of the first songs he ever wrote was the famous gospel song “Family Bible,” showing the sign of his early exposure to religious music. After this, he sold his first guitar for $50 to his guitar teacher. 

A few years later, he got his first professional gigs with a local polka band, and in 1947 he joined a gospel group called the Bud Fletcher and the Texans — featuring his sister, Bobbie on piano. The next year, after playing the local club circuit, Bobbie and Bud got married.

In 1952, he married his first wife, Martha Matthews, and they had three children—Lana, Susie, and Billy, and a decade later they would split. Following his divorce, he married singer Shirley Collie in 1963, and his third, Connie Koepke in 1971 with whom he had daughters Paula and Amy.

Connie Koepke divorced in 1988 after Willie’s involvement with Ann Marie D’Angelo. He then married Ann Marie D’Angelo in 1991 and been together since. They have two sons, Lucas and Jacob Micah and live together at a solar-powered community in Hawaii, on the island of Maui.

Willie Nelson won 2 Grammy Awards in 2016 and 2018.