Willie Nelson is an American icon and a true Country Music legend. He is one of the most recognizable Country artists in the world, and his contribution to music has been immense. Country Music, and music in general, have been all the richer for his presence.
For those of you who know little about him, hopefully, my deeper delve into Willie Nelson facts: Country singer’s age, wife, children and net worth revealed will give you some more insight into this incredible artist. So, let’s get started with his…
Willie Nelson was born on April the 29th in, 1933, in Abbott, Texas. Sadly, he did not have a great start in life. Shortly after he was born, his mother left him, his sister, and his father. Then, his father remarried and moved away to leave Willie and his sister, Bobbie, in the care of his grandparents.
Fortunately, his grandparents had a keen interest in music and were happy to share it with their grandchildren. They introduced Willie to singing at church. Then at six years old, Willie’s grandfather bought him a guitar and gave him a few basic lessons. Willie, at only seven years old, wrote his first song.
Then, at just nine, he joined his first band, Bohemian Polka, as their guitarist…
During this time, he also had to work in the cotton fields with the rest of the family, but he disliked it intensely. He realized that he could make money playing guitar in bars and music halls. So, he concentrated his efforts on his guitar skills to find an escape from working in the fields.
At school, he excelled at football, but his passion was for music. Whilst still at school, he joined his second band, The Texans. This led to more gigs and more time spent playing live. Consequently, by the time he went to school, he was already an accomplished live performer.
After leaving school…
Willie tried a few various jobs to supplement his income, but nothing stuck. In 1950, he decided to try his luck with the armed services, so he joined the Air Force. Unfortunately, this did not work out. After less than a year, he was discharged due to back issues.
A series of other jobs followed, but after moving to Pleasanton, he got his lucky break. Despite having no experience, he landed a job as a DJ at the local radio station. He took the opportunity to record a couple of demo tapes though they were never released. Shortly after that, he then worked for a series of other radio stations.
Eventually, Willie Nelson’s first song, “No Place for Me” was recorded and released in 1957. The song was a non-album single. And, although it did not chart, it got his foot in the door. That brings us neatly to the next section.
Like many Country artists, before and since, Willie Nelson moved to Nashville in 1960. Willie Nelson’s style was not typical Country Music. So, initially, he found it hard to make progress with his career and was not readily accepted as part of the community.
However, he persisted, and eventually, his songs began to be picked up by artists like Roy Orbison. The most famous song Willie Nelson wrote was “Crazy.” It went on to become a huge hit for Patsy Cline. And, for those of you that are interested, here is Willie Nelson’s original version of “Crazy.”
Record companies began to take note…
In 1961, he finally signed a record deal with Liberty Records. Subsequently, Willie Nelson’s first single, “Willingly,” was released in the following year, which he recorded as a duet with Shirley Collie. The song got to #10 on the US Country charts and was the start of a phenomenal recording career that now spans over 60 years
And he is still going strong…
To date, Willie Nelson has released 130 singles and over 200 albums. Currently, he has released 99 studio albums, so I am sure that we can expect something spectacular sometime soon for number 100.
He has sold more than 40 million albums in the US alone. Additionally, he has had twenty-five #1’s on the US Country Single charts, and sixteen #1’s on the US Country Albums Charts. This makes him one of the most successful Country artists of all time.
In this vast catalog of work, some of Willie Nelson’s biggest and most loved hits include “Always On My Mind,” released in 1982 from the album also titled, Always On My Mind. The 1971 #1 hit, “Georgia on My Mind,” from his twenty second studio album, Stardust. And “On the Road Again” from the Honeysuckle Rose Soundtrack Album.
Willie Nelson facts: Country singer’s age, wife, children and net worth revealed – Family
Willie Nelson has been married four times and is currently married to Annie Dangelo. They married in 1991 and have two sons together, Lukas Autry and Jacob Micah. One of Willie Nelson’s sons, Lukas, has chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps. He is the lead guitarist for the band Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, also known as POTR. The band is a Rock/Country band based out of California.
Willie Nelson was initially married in 1952 to Martha Matthews following his stint in the US Air Force. They divorced just ten years later, with Willie citing her abusive behavior and violence as the primary driving forces for the divorce. They had three children together. Two girls, Lana and Susie, and one boy, Will Hugh Jr. Sadly, Willie High Jr., also known as Billy, took his own life in 1991.
Willie Nelson got married for the second time to Shirley Collie, who he had previously made a record with in 1961. Unfortunately, due to Willie’s infidelity, for which he got caught, they divorced in 1971.
Willie married the woman he had been having an affair with, Connie Koepke, in the same year. They had a daughter together, Paula Carlene Nelson, who was born whilst Willie and Shirley Collie had been married. Paula Carlene Nelson, like her mother, father, and younger brother, is also in the music business as a Country singer. Willie and Connie finally divorced in 1988.
Willie Nelson’s net worth is estimated to be somewhere in the region of $25 million. To us mere mortals, it sounds like a lot, and it is. But, for someone like Willie Nelson, with such an extensive songwriting and recording career, it should be much bigger.
So, what happened?
There were a series of mistakes, together with varying levels of mismanagement and incompetence, when it came to taking care of Willie Nelson’s financial affairs.
Much of Willie Nelson’s difficulties stemmed from his manager in the 70s, Neil Reshen. He ended up getting fired in the late 70s. But, not before he had squandered away much of Willie Nelson’s fortune and ran up a large tax bill with the IRS.
Just when you would have thought that things could not have got any worse…
Willie was introduced to the reputable accounting firm Price Waterhouse. At this point, he should have been in safe hands, but they also screwed up by pushing him into a series of bad offshore tax haven investments that flopped. Even worse, the IRS failed to allow for the tax right-offs based on his losses. The consequence was a tax bill that kept growing as the penalties continued to pile up.
The bill eventually grew to $32 million, though with some negotiation, that was brought down to half. Since he was unable to pay, he ended up making a record, The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? in 1992, in an attempt to pay the bill.
The album generated $3.6 million…
His tax bill was then again reduced, and a forced sale of his assets was made. A lot of his stuff was auctioned, but fortunately, he was saved by friends and family. They generously bought most of his auctioned possessions and either donated them back to him or let him rent them at a minimal fee.
During this time, he gave his most treasured possession, his Martin-20 guitar named, ‘Trigger’ to his daughter, Lana, for safekeeping. He vowed that if he lost the guitar, he would never play or record music again. Luckily, she kept it safe for him until his money worries were behind him.
In 1993, Willie Nelson sued Price Waterhouse after it came to light that they had placed his money in several illegal investments. They settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. By the end of 1993, Willie Nelson’s debts were cleared, and ‘Trigger’ was back in his hands.
Age and Health
Willie, born in 1933, is now in his early 80s. His current health is a little shaky, but hopefully, he will still walk amongst us for a good while to come. Many of Willie Nelson’s health problems were caused by his heavy smoking, which continued into his 60s. This, despite a collapsed lung and frequent bouts of pneumonia earlier in his life.
Finally, after coming to his senses, he quit smoking more than 15 years ago. Although, he continues to smoke marijuana. However, he has opted to use a carbon-free system to avoid any further damage to his lungs and general health.
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Willie Nelson facts: Country singer’s age, wife, children and net worth revealed – Final Thoughts
Willie Nelson is one of a kind, and it is unlikely that we will see his likes ever again. That is a shame, but happily, he still walks with us, and we still have the opportunity to enjoy his playing and music.
I hope my examination of some facts about Willie Nelson has been interesting. I hope I have not missed out on any obvious major details, but if you have anything that you would like to add, then please let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, enjoy the music.