The Wild Ride Of Willie Nelson’s Life

From Cotton Picking To Honky Tonk Singing

From Cotton Picking To Honky Tonk Singing

Growing up in Abbott, Texas, it was normal for children to spend summers and schoolday afternoons picking cotton, which is exactly what Nelson and his sister did for $1.50 a day in the 1940s. In Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, Nelson recounts, “[There] I was pulling along a sack of cotton—a Cadillac came by with its windows rolled up. There was something about that scene that made me start thinking more about playing the guitar. Here I was picking cotton in the heat and thinking, There’s a better way to make a dollar, and a living, than picking cotton.” To avoid picking cotton so much, Nelson reportedly found other gigs by singing at local honky tonks and dance halls from age 13 throughout the rest of high school.