It's a Long Story: My Life
It's a Long Story: My Life
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One of the most beloved popular musicians of our time tells the story of his extraordinary life.
This is Willie Nelson's complete, unvarnished story, told in his voice and leaving no significant moment or experience untold, from Texas, Nashville, Hawaii, and beyond. Having recently turned 80, Nelson is ready to shine a light on all aspects of his life, including his drive to write music, the women in his life, his collaborations, and his biggest lows and highs--from his bankruptcy to the founding of Farm Aid.
An American icon who still tours constantly and headlines music festivals, Willie Nelson and his music have found their way into the hearts and minds of fans the world over, winning ten Grammys and receiving Kennedy Center Honors. Now it's time to hear the last word about his life--from the man himself.
barbed wires and, despite my trauma in Tyler, I could climb up a rope faster than anyone. I thought I was fit. So did the air force. They promoted me to first class and gave me a stripe. That lasted a day. One wiseass didn’t think I deserved the promotion and gave me lip. So I busted him in the mouth. There went my stripe. I really didn’t give a shit because by then I knew that the authoritarian ways of the U.S. Air Force were not to my liking. It also wasn’t to my liking to be sent to Sheppard
here and entertain you.” I had Paul go get Charley, who was waiting outside, and bring him to the stage. I could hear all sorts of groans and moans and nasty catcalls. The loudest protest came from Dewey himself. But I just held up my hand and said, “Wait till you hear him.” And then, even surprising myself, I kissed Charley Pride full on his mouth. Then silence. Then Charley breaking into his beautiful “The Snakes Crawl at Night.” Then rapt listening. And, when he was through, thunderous
Another time I was with Ray, Roger Miller—one of the funniest guys in the world—walked up behind him, put his hands over Ray’s eyes, and said, “Guess who?” Ray, who knew sounds and voices better than anyone, knew exactly who it was. In putting together these yearly picnics, I knew exactly who I was not. I was not a detail man. Once I see the big picture, I count on others to make it happen. The big picture of my party for America’s big bicentennial back in 1976 couldn’t have been clearer: a
questioning was a way to throw me off guard. Despite the man’s easy charm, I stayed on guard. I gave my usual monosyllabic answers. I stuck to what I knew and only what I knew. Their strategy didn’t work. Meanwhile, mine did. My strategy was to position my bus so that by lunchtime all of downtown Austin knew where it was parked. By the time we took our twelve-thirty break, there was a huge crowd of fans lined up outside Honeysuckle Rose II. One by one I let them on the bus, signed whatever they
Compared to the loss of a son, material losses seemed insignificant. But they had to be dealt with. I was responsible for many more livelihoods than just my own. I finally had to face a financial nightmare that had been chasing me for years. I could close my eyes and pretend it all wasn’t happening, but it was. I could plug my ears and block out some of the noise, but those voices came through anyway. Those were the voices that were saying, in different ways, the same fuckin’ thing. They were