Hit the road with country music legend Willie Nelson as we give a behind-the-scenes look into his personal and professional career.
Willie Hugh Nelson was born during the Great Depression on April 30, 1933, in Abbott, TX.
Before working as a DJ at local radio stations in Texas, Willie was in the US Air Force for 9 months.
Willie married his first of 4 wives, Martha Matthews, and studied agriculture at Baylor University in 1952.
Willie has had the opportunity to write for and work with some of the biggest country music legends. He wrote the smash hit <i>Crazy</i> for Patsy Cline in 1961, and had a top 10 hit duet called <i>Everything's Beautiful</i> with Dolly Parton.
In 1972, Nelson moved to Austin, TX, where he played his own brand of music ' country with folk and jazz influences ' and his popularity skyrocketed.
Nelson formed the super group, <i>The Highwaymen</i>, with Kristofferson (in photo with Willie), Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings in the 80s. The group achieved platinum record sales and toured the world for 10 years.
Nelson wrote the Grammy-winning song, On the Road Again, for the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose. It became his 9th No. 1 hit and one of his most recognizable tunes. It also serves as an anthem for truckers and 'bands of gypsies' on highways everywhere. In 1985, Nelson had another success with <i>Half Nelson</i>, a compilation album of duets with a range of artists from Ray Charles and Neil Young.
According to his biography, <i>Willie Nelson: An Epic Life,</i> Nelson frequently visited the White House where he smoked marijuana on the roof. Nelson is a major activist on the legalization of marijuana and has been arrested for possession several times.
Willie's duet with Toby Keith, <i>Beer for My Horses,</i> was released as a single and topped Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart for 6 consecutive weeks in 2003. Willie shocked fans by chopping off his waist-long braid in 2010 but continues to wear his trademark bandana, cowboy and trucker hats on stage.
In 2002, Nelson became the official spokesman for <i>Texas Roadhouse</i>, a chain of steakhouses.
Nelson opened his own truck stop, <i>Willie's Place</i>, in Carl's Corner, TX, in early 2009. The truck stop, which included 2 restaurants, a convenience store, a saloon and a 500-person theater, closed in early 2011.