[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Willie-Nelson_4210.jpg]]
Known as the Red-Headed Stranger, Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 29, 1933) is perhaps one of the most iconic CountryMusic artists of the 20th century. He started his career in the 1950s, playing bass guitar for Ray Price and writing songs for others (ever heard of "Crazy" by Patsy Cline?). A modest #10 hit in 1962 ("Willingly"), first brought him to the charts, but it wasn't until 1975 that he broke through with the massive crossover hit "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain". For most of the 1970s and 1980s, Nelson was at the top of his game, charting both as a solo singer and as a duet partner with... well, almost everybody: Music/WaylonJennings, Music/MerleHaggard, Julio Iglesias and Music/RayCharles, among others. Although Nelson hasn't touched the Top 40 on his own since 1990, the occasional duet has found its way onto the charts as late as 2003's "Beer for My Horses", with Music/TobyKeith. One of country music's elder statesmen, and one of the very few artists from the 60's who is still around, Nelson is incredibly respected as a songwriter and lead guitarist, while his iconic jazzy singing style is instantly recognizable.
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!Tropes present:
* AdamWesting: As noted below, he has an excellent sense of humor about his reputation as an EruditeStoner, and loves hamming it up.
* AsHimself: In guest appearances on ''Film/SwingVote'', ''Film/BrokenBridges'', ''Film/{{Beerfest}}'', ''Series/{{Monk}}'', ''Film/TheCountryBears'', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' (voice), ''Film/AustinPowersTheSpyWhoShaggedMe'', and ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' (voice).
* BadassBeard: Since ''Shotgun Willie'', he's had one. His prior albums look quite strange with him clean shaven.
** It's a major plot point for the underrated Western ''Barbarosa'' where he plays the eponymous cowboy hero.
* BerserkButton: Willie ''loves'' meeting and talking with his fans. Any "handler" who attempts to hurry him along or otherwise cut short a conversation he's having with a fan is going to get a DeathGlare at the time, and a major talking-to afterwards.
* BrotherSisterTeam: His sister Bobbie has been his full-time piano player since 1973. Besides being a fixture in his band, they've done a few albums together as an official duo.
* ChristmasSongs: He's released two Christmas albums, ''Pretty Paper'' (1979) and ''Hill Country Christmas'' (1997).
** The title track from the former (which is really more of an AntiChristmasSong) is one of his best-known compositions, originally written in 1963 and turned into a hit that year by Music/RoyOrbison.
* ConceptAlbum: ''The Red-Headed Stranger'', chronicling the life of a man from Blue Rock, Montana.
** Before that, ''Yesterday's Wine'' (about a man's life from birth to death) and ''Phases and Stages'' (about the breakup of a marriage). You might also throw ''Texas in My Soul'' (songs about Texas) in there too.
* CoolOldGuy: In addition to being one of the legends of CountryMusic and American music in general, being known for his friendly and funny manner, and being TheStoner, [[BadassGrandpa he's also a practitioner]] of Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do, which he's held a black belt in since TheEighties.
* [[RockstarSong Countrystar Song]]: "On the Road Again", natch.
* TheCoverChangesTheMeaning: The majority of the songs on ''Red Headed Stranger'' are older songs that are used to illustrate the album's story arc.
* DefeatingTheUndefeatable: Is the only person known to have out-smoked Music/SnoopDogg.
* DidIMentionItsChristmas: "The Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning"
-->Last night you came home late
-->And I knew you'd been drinking
-->By that old mellow look on your face
-->I thought, "It don't matter
-->'Cause it's the holiday season
-->And you fill such a big empty space."
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: His earliest material is fairly straight classic country (though his sophisticated lyrics were considered cutting edge). When he recorded with Creator/RCARecords in the late 60s he had the same problem as his labelmate Music/WaylonJennings: his style was too eclectic to fit into the usual Nashville formulas, leading to experiments with crooning ballads ("She's Not For You"), pop ("I'm a Memory") and even gospel ("Laying My Burdens Down"). He also sang with a clipped, over-enunciated style that stands in contrast to his later signature jazzy phrasing.
** He looked [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWloaxXWv0g completely different, too]]. Yes, this suit-clad, impeccably groomed, clean-shaven guy is Willie.
* EmptyChairMemorial: Riderless horse variant; namely, the bay pony that accompanies the Red-Headed Stranger in the eponymous song was his deceased wife's horse. He shoots and kills a woman who tries to steal it, and went free, because "you can't hang a man for killing a woman who's trying to steal his horse."
* Improv: Willie is known for changing things around while he's playing live, changing the tempo or key very slightly, and his bandmates have to be quick and good to keep up with him. His live versions of his songs are often sung quite differently than the version you hear on the album, too.
* ListingCities: "Texas in My Soul"
* NewSoundAlbum: He'd already been moving in that direction for years, but ''Shotgun Willie'' marked the point where he finally broke away from the Nashville establishment and started playing his own unique brand of music.
* NonActorVehicle: ''Honeysuckle Rose'', ''Barbarosa'', ''Songwriter''. He's had a steady career in front the camera, but those were the films that he headlined. As mentioned above, more recently he's specialized in AsHimself appearances.
* SeparatedByACommonLanguage: his acoustic album “Naked Willie” was re-titled for distribution in the UK....
* SignatureStyle: A reedy voice singing just off of the beat, and jazz-flavored guitar lines played on a nylon-string acoustic(instead of a steel-string like virtually all other popular music).
* SuperGroup: The Highwaymen with Kris Kristofferson, Music/WaylonJennings, and Music/JohnnyCash.
* TwelveBarBlues: "Shotgun Willie"
* WhatAPieceOfJunk: Trigger, his ''extremely'' battered Martin N-20 classical guitar, which has a hole worn in the soundboard after 47 years of constant use, and which has been signed by more than a hundred of his friends and acquaintances. He bought it in 1969 for $750, which was a lot of money in those days; a vintage N-20 from the same period will set you back around four thousand dollars today.
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