Willie Nelson has been an icon of music for decades. The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter has worked with some of the best people in the business throughout her career — and in some cases, lived in close proximity with them.
Willie Nelson lived in the same building as Booker T. Jones
Willie Nelson first rose to prominence in the 1960s and early 1970s. He often sang at the Grand Ole Opry, where he met fellow singer Waylon Jennings, one of his longtime friends. Eventually, he (and Jennings) grew frustrated with traditional Nashville music and began making “outlaw country” music.
In the late 1970s, Nelson was spending some time in California when he crossed paths with another prominent musician: Booker T. K. Booker T. Jones and MG. Jones reflects on that time in 2021 Netflix documentary it’s the pope.
“I rented an apartment on the beach in Malibu and had just moved in,” she remembered. “I saw a man running down the beach who, to me, looked like Willie Nelson. He looked at me and waved and I said, ‘Oh my god, that’ Is Willie Nelson!’”
Jones then learned that Nelson was living in the apartment below him. They quickly became friends – and soon enough, allies.
Willie Nelson and Booker T. Jones play music together in their apartment building
Jones fondly watched the night as he and Nelson played music outside their respective apartments.
“We ended up jamming at night, just the two of us, on our deck, on different songs we played as boys,” he recalled. “‘Stardust’ [by Hoagy Carmichael] and ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’ [by Jimmy McHugh] [and] ‘blue sky’ [by Irving Berlin] And Willie suggested, ‘Why don’t we go to the studio and record these songs instead of sitting here on the deck?’”
They got to work, and recorded Nelson’s album. stardust In late 1977, Jones served as the album’s producer.
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Willie Nelson and Booker T. Jones record ‘Stardust’ together
Nelson’s decision to record an album of covers of popular songs was an unusual one for country music stars at the time, especially since he was already popular for his country and rock sounds. He – along with three of his best friends – even set country music’s first platinum record, 1976’s Desired! robber.
“Willie had built a nice little reputation for himself in Nashville with his friends” [Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser] And they were outlaws, so when we came up with a record that was the standard of pop music, the concept wasn’t something that sounded plausible at all,” Jones admitted.
Jones believed that, more than anything, Nelson was following his heart and his musical instincts. “I guess he didn’t care what the style was. If he liked it, he wanted to do it. But it wasn’t something that was done in Nashville in those days. It just wasn’t traditional .