Willie Nelson Photography

Willie Nelson

With a career dating back to the mid-1950s, Willie Nelson’s recording tenure is one of the lengthiest in American history. Though it took him a few years to break big, the tides started turning in the late 1960s during the outlaw-country era with the 1970s only furthering his commercial ascent.

One of Nelson’s most beloved albums remains 1975’s country-centered Red Headed Stranger, though only three years later, he proved just as proficient interpreting the standards on the blockbuster Stardust. The 1980s were even kinder to this crossover entertainer, who began the decade starring in the smash movie Honeysuckle Rose, followed by record-setting collaborations with Latin superstar Julio Iglesias and soul great Ray Charles.

In 1985, Nelson joined the Highwaymen supergroup alongside Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, while also co-founding the Farm Aid charity and annual benefit concert with Neil Young and John Mellencamp. Even into his 80s, this marijuana and bio-diesel activist continues to be one of the hardest working icons of all time.

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