Depending on who you ask, Willie Nelson is either considered a country music trailblazer, America’s favorite stoner and marijuana advocate, or as Nelson himself would put it, “a hillbilly from Hill County, Texas.” Whether or not some or all of these are true, one thing is for sure: Willie Nelson is an American icon. From the humblest beginnings to fame that didn’t seem to get to his head, here’s a look at Willie’s wild life.
Born At The Height Of The Great Depression
Willie Hughes Nelson was born in a small Texas town on April 29, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. Like many parents at the time, Nelson’s left him and his older sister Bobbie behind, leaving them in the care of their grandparents. Of his upbringing, Nelson writes in his memoir, My Life: It’s A Long Story, “Might sound corny, but the truth is we were dirt poor in material possessions, but we were rich in love.” Nelson’s grandfather was a blacksmith who bought six-year-old Nelson his first guitar. Under their grandparents’ care, Nelson and his sister regularly attended their local Methodist church, where they gained their earliest exposure to music, for which Nelson had a distinct ear. By the age of seven, Nelson had already written his first song.