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Willie Nelson Biography

Birth Name:
Willie Hugh Nelson
Birth Place:
Abbott, Texas, United States
Singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actor, author, entrepreneur

Fast Facts

  • 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


  • 1980Oscar-Best Achievement in Music (Original Song): nominated
  • 1980Oscar-Best Achievement in Music (Original Song): nominated


  • Amy Nelson -- Daughter
  • Lana Nelson -- Daughter
  • Paula Carlene Nelson -- Daughter
  • Susie -- Daughter
  • Connie Koepke -- Ex-wife
  • Martha Matthews -- Ex-wife
  • Shirley Collie -- Ex-wife
  • Ira Nelson -- Father
  • Myrle Nelson -- Mother
  • Bobbie Nelson -- Sister
  • Billy -- Son
  • Jacob Nelson -- Son
  • Lukas Nelson -- Son