Willie Nelson is one of our greatest cultural treasures. Willie and Bobbie Nelson were nurtured by their grandparents after their 1933 birth in Abbott, Texas. Willie’s grandparents took him to church and bought him his first guitar when he was six (via Willie Nelson Museum).
Willie has become a prominent figure in the modern music industry as a singer, songwriter, actor, and activist. He left university to become a DJ, which was the first step in his music career. Around the same time, he started writing songs, and his big break came when Patsy Cline recorded a version of his song “Crazy,” which became an instant smash.
On April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas, the world was introduced to Willie Hugh Nelson. Myrle and Ira Nelson are his parents. Mildred, his aunt, decided to name him Willie, and she gave him the middle name Hugh in memory of her younger brother, who had passed away not long before he was born. In 1929, his family uprooted from Arkansas to Texas in quest of economic opportunity.
His father worked in auto repair, while his grandfather was a blacksmith. Almost immediately after he was born, his mother abandoned the family. Nelson and his sister Bobbie were left behind when their father remarried and relocated, so they were reared by their grandparents.
When he was just six years old, his grandfather gave him a guitar and showed him the basics of playing. They both got their start in music thanks to his grandparents, who were singing teachers. Together with their grandfather, Nelson and his sister Bobbie were members of the church choir, where they sang gospel music. At the age of seven, Willie wrote his first song, and by the time he was nine, he was playing guitar in a local band called Bohemian Polka.
Willie attended Abbott High School and was a huge sports fan there. He participated in multiple sports, including football, basketball, and baseball. In addition to his pig farming, he was an active member of the Future Farmers of America. When he was in high school, he played with The Texans, a band that was founded by his sister’s husband, Bud Fletcher.
Willie was the lead singer and guitar player for the group. The Texans had a Sunday morning radio show and performed in honky tonks. In 1952, Nelson received his diploma from Abbott High. Following his tenure in the Air Force, he enrolled in Baylor University’s agribusiness program.
He joined Tau Kappa Epsilon and became a brother there. After only two years, Nelson decided to leave college and focus on his music career instead. Nelson worked as a saddle maker, a tree trimmer, a bouncer, and in an auto parts store while he was just starting out in the music industry.
What Is Willie Nelson’s Net Worth?
Willie Nelson is a country music legend, novelist, poet, actor, activist, and cultural icon in the United States, with an estimated $25 million in wealth. Willie Nelson has amassed a sizeable fortune thanks to his successful career as a musician, songwriter, actor (in both film and television), and author of several books.
Nelson relocated to Pleasanton, Texas for a job as a disc jockey at KBOP. In 1955, he used the studio at the radio station to record his first two singles, “The Storm Has Just Begun” and “When I’ve Sung My Last Hillbilly Song.” A local record label he submitted the demos to turned them down. Nelson later worked at several Texas radio stations and performed in bars across the state.
So he went to Portland, where his mom was living. He was a radio disc jockey in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, at this time. During this time, he composed many of the songs that would go on to become not only his most popular but also country standards, such as “Funny How Time Slips Away.
” In 1960, Nelson received a publishing deal and relocated to Nashville. He released his debut album, titled “…And Then I Wrote,” in 1962. The record did well commercially. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1965 after signing with RCA Victor the year before.
When it comes to the type of country music known as “outlaw country,” Nelson is among the most prominent and prolific artists. Songs like “Shotgun Willie” (1973), “Red Headed Stranger” (1975), and “Stardust” (1978) by Nelson were huge hits.
Around this time in the 1980s, Nelson was able to record such classics as “On the Road Again” and “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.” In addition, he collaborated with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings to form the country supergroup The Highwaymen.
Nelson’s career extends far beyond his musical endeavors; he has starred in more than 30 films, co-authored several books, and advocated for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) froze Nelson’s accounts in 1990, claiming he owed $32 million in outstanding taxes. After a string of poor 1980s ventures left Nelson short on funds, he paid off his IRS debt by selling his property and releasing the double album “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories” in 1992.
Nelson has been arrested many times for marijuana possession throughout the years. In 1974, in Dallas, it occurred for the first time. In 1977, following a tour, Nelson moved to the Bahamas, which is an interesting historical footnote. He was taken into custody after a customs official discovered marijuana in his pants. Even though the charges against Nelson were dismissed and he was released a few hours later, he was still not allowed to enter the Bahamas.
Nelson’s car was stopped by authorities in 1994 in Waco, Texas, and they discovered a stash of marijuana inside. In 2006, Nelson was detained in Louisiana on his way to the funeral of former Texas Governor Ann Richards. He was charged with having marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms in his possession. Nelson was given a six-month probationary period. It was in November of 2010 that Nelson’s tour bus was stopped near Sierra Blanca, Texas due to the discovery of a quantity of marijuana on board. After posting $2,500 bond, he was freed.
He’s been married four times and has seven kids: Willie Nelson. From 1952 till 1962, he was married to Martha Matthews. In addition to Lana and Susie, they also welcomed little Wilie “Billy” Hugh Jr. Martha repeatedly struck Willie Sr. She tied him up in bedsheets and hit him over the head with a broom. Sadly, their son Billy took his own life in 1991.
Nelson and Shirley Collie were wed from 1963 to 1971. Shirley obtained a maternity hospital bill and learned that Willie had a daughter named Paula Carlene Nelson with another woman named Connie Koepke; this led to the couple’s separation and eventual divorce. Nelson wed Koepke in 1971, and the couple had a daughter named Amy Lee Nelson.
In 1988, they decided to separate and get a divorce. Lukas Autry Nelson and Jacob Micah Nelson are their sons; he married Annie D’Angelo in 1991. Like his famous father, Lukas Nelson is a well-known country musician, but his band, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, puts more of a focus on rock.
In 1981, while swimming in Hawaii, one of Nelson’s lungs suddenly collapsed. Medics rushed him to Maui Memorial Medical Center.
Nelson got surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome in 2004 after overusing his wrists to play the guitar for so long.
Nelson has earned a taekwondo black belt at the level of the second degree.
The ranch in Spicewood that Nelson owns is called “Luck, Texas,” and he also has a home on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where he is neighbors with a number of famous people.