Kris Kristofferson presents a documentary series about Willie Nelson.
3/4. The Cosmic Cowboy
After years of frustration in Nashville, Willie Nelson returned home to Texas where a new music scene was brewing. Growing his hair and sporting a red bandana, Willie became the star attraction at Austin's hippest venue, uniting rednecks and cowboys to the sound of his 'outlaw' music. Having won his artistic independence at last, Willie scored huge hits with Red Headed Stranger and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
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In the late 1950s, after years on the road, Willie Nelson was so hard up he began hawking his songs to local musicians. He sold the rights to some of his best known songs, including Night Life and Family Bible, but, in an incredibly prolific period, he also wrote classics such as Crazy, Funny How Time Slips Away, Pretty Paper and Hello Walls which became enormous hits for Patsy Cline, Faron Young and Roy Orbison.
Despite this success, Willie was never truly accepted by the country music establishment in Nashville.
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When Willie Nelson recorded his own versions of American classics such as Stardust, All of Me and Blue Skies in the late 1970s, the result was the biggest album of his career. He was now a global superstar and had a lifestyle to match, but then the taxman came calling with a bill for millions of dollars.
Nelson recovered to front country's first supergroup, The Highwaymen and launch Farm-Aid. Now in his seventies, he still performs hundreds of shows every year and is admired by generations of musicians and fans.