Willie Nelson, born April 29, 1933, celebrates his 83rd birthday today. The country music icon has made countless hit songs over his decades in the entertainment industry, first as a songwriter and then as a performer.
The Texas-native received his first guitar at the age of 6 from his grandparents. The Nelsons had been music teachers before moving from Arkansas to Texas, and they made sure to instill that passion in their grandchildren just as they did with their students. After trying his hand at the college life, Nelson moved to Tennessee where he first made a name for himselfwriting one of Patsy Cline’s most well-remembered tunes, “Crazy,” among a handful of other hits for fellow artists.
By the end of the 1960s, Nelson was making strides with his personal career, garnering a few hit singles before finally discovering his own unique sound. As one of the originators of “outlaw country,” which also included legends like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, Nelson found his first major success with his 1973 album, Shotgun Willie.
His popularity continued to rise with more chart success, including one of his many duets with Jennings, “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up Be Cowboys.” Nelson attributes his one-of-a-kind sound to his trusty acoustic guitar, which he fondly named Trigger. The worn out instrument not only features a second hole that helps to produce the twangy style we’ve come accustomed to hearing from him, but also several signatures from many of Nelson’s country music friends.
Take a look at the video below to see Nelson and his sons Lukas, who is also a performer, and Micah discuss their family life on the road.