- Was raised by his paternal grandparents during the Great Depression; his grandfather bought him his first guitar when he was 9 and taught him to play.
- Got his first paying job as a musician when he was in sixth grade and was invited to join the polka group John Raycheck Band, which performed at local bars and fairs.
- Served in the U.S. Air Force for nine months after high school until a back injury resulted in him being honorably discharged.
- Was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973.
- Was named Entertainer of the Year in 1979 by the Country Music Association.
- Organized the first Farm Aid benefit concert in 1985.
- The IRS seized all his possessions in 1991 for nonpayment of $16.7 million in back taxes; he has since settled the debt.
- Was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993.
- Cofounded Willie Nelson's Biodeisel, which markets truck fuel made from vegetable oil.
- Has cowritten several books, including Willie: An Autobiography with Bud Shrake, and The Tao of Willie with Turk Pipkin.
- 2007, Grammy — Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: Winner
- 1982, Grammy — Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Winner
- 2002, Grammy — Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: Winner
- 2004, CMT Music Awards — Flameworthy Video of the Year: Nominee
- 2002, CMT Music Awards — Flameworthy Video Collaboration of the Year: Winner
- 1978, Grammy — Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Winner
- 1978, Grammy — Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Winner
- 1980, Grammy — Best Country Song: Winner
- 1980, Oscar — Best Achievement in Music (Original Song): Nominee
- 2018, Grammy — Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Winner
- 2002, CMT Music Awards — Flameworthy Video of the Year: Nominee
- 2014, CMT Music Awards — CMT Performance of the Year: Nominee
- 2008, CMT Music Awards — Wide Open Country Video of the Year: Nominee
- 2016, Grammy — Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Winner
- 2017, CMT Music Awards — Collaborative Video of the Year: Nominee
- 2004, CMT Music Awards — Flameworthy Collaborative Video of the Year: Winner
- 1975, Grammy — Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Winner
- 2017, CMT Music Awards — Video of the Year: Nominee
- Bobbie Nelson — Sister
- Jacob Nelson — Son
- Lana Nelson — Daughter
- Martha Matthews — Ex-wife
- Shirley Collie — Ex-wife
- Annie Nelson — Wife
- Connie Koepke — Ex-wife
- Lukas Nelson — Son
- Myrle Nelson — Mother
- Paula Carlene Nelson — Daughter
- Amy Nelson — Daughter
- Susie — Daughter
- Ira Nelson — Father
- Billy — Son
- Attended Baylor University, Waco, Texas, United States
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