Willie Nelson has been an icon of country music for decades, and his position in the industry is undeniable. As one of the legends of the genre, Nelson has sometimes vehemently defended who could make country music and what it really sounds like.
Willie Nelson is a famous country music artist
Willie Nelson first began recording music in the 1950s when he was in his early twenties. He worked as a radio announcer and freelance musician, picking up whatever he could find. In 1960, he moved to Nashville, the country music capital of the world, but initially struggled to get his name out there.
Nelson releases his first album …and then I wrote in 1962 and his profile in the industry began to rise. In 1965, he joined the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, where he met another future country superstar, Waylon Jennings.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Nelson had only modest success, and was becoming increasingly frustrated with the boxes in which he was placed. In the early ’70s, he and Jennings – along with other country artists – began recording what came to be known as “outlaw country” music, which defied the conservative ideals of Nashville.
Willie Nelson outraged by pop singers doing country music
Nelson’s prominence as a part of illegal country was chronicled in a 2021 Netflix documentary it’s the pope. “In the 1960s, the music coming out of Nashville started to sound less and less like country music. It started having orchestras and singers without a Southern accent,” said journalist Shuja Haider. “By the ’70s, you had John Denver or Pop artists like Olivia Newton-John were putting out country records.”
One person who was angered by the influx of pop artists into country music was Nelson himself. “We don’t want a bunch of high rollers [and] To get artists from other parts of the world to come here and spoil it for the rest,” Nelson said earnestly in a clip from the ’70s.
In 1976, Nelson and Jennings teamed up with Jesse Colter and Tompal Glaser to form The Outlaws. his album Desired! robber It became country music’s first platinum album to have sold over 1 million copies.
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While Nelson seemed resentful to new players in country music, he was defending a style of music close to his heart. Becoming a musician was the dream of a lifetime for him.
“A lot of country music is sad,” he noted. “I think most art comes out of poverty and hard times. The same applies to music. Three strings and the truth – that’s what a country song is. There’s a lot of heartache in the world.”