Post by Alana Cash
A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a program on PBS about Tony Bennett’s second duets album. There were, of course, tremendous people singing with him – Michael Bublé, Lady Gaga, Nora Jones among others – and to my surprise, Willie Nelson and Tony Bennett sang “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” It was watching the interview with Willie Nelson that I realized how iconic his voice is. Speaking or singing, you recognize his voice immediately.
Willie was born in Abbot, Texas just north of Waco, and became a working musician at 13. He traveled around, playing in honky tonks, working side jobs as everything from a saddle maker to encyclopedia salesman. In 1961, he wrote three songs while making a drive from
to Houston : Crazy,
Nightlife, Funny How Time Slips Away, which he explained on the David Letterman
Patsy Cline's husband heard Willie's rendition of "Crazy," brought Willie to the house to meet Patsy and the next week she recorded the song that would become the most-played jukebox tune ever. I had heard Patsy Cline sing “Crazy,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QEDb3xzdec but I wasn’t aware of Willie Nelson singing anything until his song “I Never Cared for You” became a crossover hit and I heard it played every hour on the radio stations in
When the Grand Ole Opry
came to San
year, I got to hear him sing that song in person.
He wore a light blue cowboy suit and his hair was cut as short as a bank
executive. Hard to believe. San
Here is a much later release of the song, arranged as a salsa. It has a 2-minute guitar solo intro before he begins to sing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmdwsLtNx2E
Willie retired from music in 1973 because he wasn’t making the big success as a performer that he had wanted to be. In retirement, he created and enjoyed his own style of outlaw country music, grew his hair, changed his wardrobe, and put
on the map with his Fourth of July Picnic. Kind of a nice lesson for all of us – live the way you want doing what you love and all the rest is gravy. Luckenbach, Texas
WILLIE NELSON and TONY BENNETT singing “ON THE SUNNY