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Willie Nelson is a country singer and songwriter best known for hit songs including “Crazy” and “On the Road Again.”
Willie Nelson - Full Biography (45:25)
Patsy Cline - Crazy (2:23)
Willie Nelson is recognized worldwide as an American troubadour and icon. Willie has remained relevant through five decades with his music and as the face of such social causes as Farm Aid and the legalization of Hemp.
Musical legend Ray Charles describes what makes Willie Nelson so special as a singer and songwriter, and what makes his voice unique.
In 1962, County Music legend Patsy Cline recorded Willie Nelson's song, "Crazy," a song he'd written while driving.
George Jones talks about his fight against addiction.
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Not only is he generous with his money, but also his time. Over the years, Nelson has shown a deep commitment to his fans. After a show, "He'll stay there for hours, signing autographs and meeting people," friend Kris Kristofferson told Texas Monthly.
And Nelson shows no signs of slowing down. He still tours heavily, playing approximately 150 to 200 dates a year. Always experimenting, Nelson continues to try out new types of material. In 2005, he released Countryman, which incorporated elements of reggae. Nelson released Moment of Forever in 2008, which garnered much critical praise. He also scored a Grammy that same year for the single "Lost Highway," another of his collaborations with Ray Price. Nelson also performed live in Amsterdam with rap icon Snoop Dogg in May of 2008. The duo have since work together on several projects, including the video "My Medicine."
In February 2009, Willie Nelson teamed up with music group Asleep at the Wheel to release the country swing album entitled Willie and the Wheel. In March, he released his a solo effort entitled Naked Willie, which included remixes of his early recordings. He also continued to perform live with his "On the Road Again" tour, and in 2010 he released the critically acclaimed Country Music, a collaboration with producer T-Bone Burnett.
Nelson followed up that success with the album Heroes, which featured appearances by Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristoferrson and Sheryl Crow, among others. In 2012 the Country Music Association honored Nelson with an all-star tribute at the CMAs in Nashville.
Nelson has also appeared on the big screen in more films such as Surfer Dude (2008), Shoot Out of Luck (2008), Beer for My Horses (2008) and The Boom Boom Room (2008).
In his personal life, Nelson has seen many ups and downs. He married Martha Matthews in 1952, and they had three children together, Lana, Susie, and Billy, before splitting up. In 1963, Nelson married singer Shirley Collie, but he divorced her to be with Connie Koepke.
They had two daughters, Paula and Amy. Willie and Connie divorced in 1988 after Willie became involved with Ann Marie "Annie" D'Angelo. Nelson married D'Angelo in 1991 and they have been together ever since. They have two sons, Lucas and Jacob Micah.
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