Willie Nelson is probably the most recognizable country music star of all-time. His signature long-hair and bandana are known by just about every music fan, even those unfamiliar with the genre. He’s the quintessential “Outlaw Cowboy” but not your typical country music star. How many country music stars do you know that are on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws? Nelson’s music career began in the late 1950s, but after years of mediocrity, he retired in 1972. He moved to Austin, Texas but was soon inspired to return to the music business. This time he’d do it his way as the Willie Nelson we all know and love.
What followed were the most important and successful albums of career: Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975), and Stardust (1978). Some of Nelson’s biggest songs are “On the Road Again,” “Always on My Mind,” and "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.” In 1972, the singer began his annual music festival, “Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic.” The festival began in Dripping Springs, Texas but in recent years has been held in Fort Worth, Texas. The festival augments his usual robust touring schedule. Every year, Willie Nelson tickets are collected at venues all over the world. In 1990, the IRS seized most of Nelson’s possessions. They claimed he owed $32 million in back taxes. Nelson’s lawyers were able to get that figure down to $6 million. To help pay his debts, Nelson released a double album called The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories.