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All 143 Willie Nelson Albums, Ranked

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Posted By: StormCnter, 4/30/2020 6:01:15 AM

Willie Nelson may be the most important figure in country music history; if he’s not, only Hank Williams matters more. Willie’s also one of the most important musical artists in American history, a first-name-only giant like Elvis and Ella. The contours of the career that brought him to those heights are familiar. There was the huge, early-sixties success writing songs like “Crazy” and “Hello Walls” for big country stars, then the failed attempt to become one himself over the rest of the decade, his talents an ill fit for a stiff Nashville mold.


* Michael Hall, Rich Kienzle, Max Marshall, Joe Nick Patoski, John Spong, Christian Wallace. This is offered just as a break from the chaotic national news.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Toby Ten Bears 4/30/2020 6:43:45 AM (No. 396017)
Willie should have retired 20 years ago.
14 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: Rather Read 4/30/2020 7:14:12 AM (No. 396038)
That was fun. I'd pick Red Headed Stranger as number one. I never get tired of that album, it's so stark and spare and not a bad track on it.
11 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: BeatleJeff 4/30/2020 8:02:18 AM (No. 396098)
My favorite will always be Willie and Family Live, which they ranked at #9. My dad and I wore that tape out. And agree with #2, Hard to believe Red Headed Stranger didn't rank #1, but that's what makes these kind of lists interesting: different strokes for different folks. It took awhile just to scroll through the entire list. i'll go back later and actually read the reviews.
4 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: philsner 4/30/2020 8:02:39 AM (No. 396099)
Willie is just another leftist pot head.
9 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: altoona 4/30/2020 8:13:03 AM (No. 396118)
Took three hours to read, but enjoyed it, learned a lot, and appreciate the great talent of that dogged Texan.
2 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: Strike3 4/30/2020 8:19:56 AM (No. 396128)
A crazy genius loved by thousands. The man had tons of talent and partied 'til the sun came up. I envy him.
5 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: HotRod 4/30/2020 9:11:15 AM (No. 396194)
Willie had a lot of good hits, but I think there were other important country figures ahead of him. Webb Pierce, Ray Price, Stonewall Jackson, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb... and many more. Willie's country music was a different style. The ''Outlaw'' style, which presented a different image. He probably sold more records, but that is a reflection of the times.
5 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: ROLFNader 4/30/2020 9:27:00 AM (No. 396227)
We played his 'Stardust' album so much you could play both sides at the same time. His new " My Way" is a winner, too. Sounds like the same backup musicians/arrangers as Stardust.
1 person likes this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: StormCnter 4/30/2020 9:28:45 AM (No. 396232)
I enjoy some of Willie's standards, but Merle Haggard has my heart.
6 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: RuckusTom 4/30/2020 9:43:36 AM (No. 396248)
Red Headed Stranger. "The yellow haired lady was buried at sunset the stranger went free of course You can't hang a man for killin' a woman who's tryin' to steal your horse This is the tale of the red headed stranger and if he should pass your way Stay out of the path of the raging black stallion and don't lay a hand on the bay"
4 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Hugh Akston 4/30/2020 10:59:29 AM (No. 396353)
I had to turn on my Willie Nelson station on Pandora while looking at this, scrolling down the list. For 6 months from late June thru early Jan 1977/78 I was a travelling salesman covering South Texas. Got a speeding ticket in Beeville and flat wore out the cassette Wanted! The Outlaws. And I'd pass the peace pipe around the campfire with Willie any day, forget the politics.
6 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: JubilationTCornpone 4/30/2020 11:36:19 AM (No. 396415)
I always get a kick out of seeing photos of buttoned-down Nashville songwriter Willy compared to long haired Austin Willy in the 1970s. I can also recall seeing him perform for the first time on Austin City Limits around 1974 when I was a kid. My dad came into the room and said, “Who’s that hippy?” He couldn’t believe it was Willy Nelson. Anyway, thanks OP for posting great articles from Texas Monthly.
7 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: StormCnter 4/30/2020 3:47:27 PM (No. 396727)
When Willie held the first Fourth of July picnic at his place in Dripping Springs, our 16 year old son begged to be allowed to go. So, he and a friend carried my lawn chairs and the three chickens I had fried for them down south of Austin to have what they believed would be a ball. The first day was just fine, the second day brought drenching rain, with cars being stuck in the mud and Willie-heads fleeing for home. The boys ate all the chicken but left my lawn chairs behind. From the Wikipedia account of that 1973 picnic: ". An attendant drowned while four were stabbed. There were 140 arrests, four kidnappings, and three reported rapes. Nelson was sued by the ranch owner, the ambulance service and two attendants".
2 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: Faithfully 4/30/2020 7:05:22 PM (No. 396904)
When he was new on the scene I could not stand his "outlaw" persona. It gave me the creeps. Over the years I came to appreciate his singing, even though he could not keep to the beat to save his life. Good luck Willie.
1 person likes this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623 5/1/2020 1:28:32 AM (No. 397084)
Willie has had an amazing career in spite of himself. When I see Willie all I can think of was the time a cop stopped him after the contaminated spinach crisis for having pot. He said Thank goodness it's not spinach. I give him credit for Farm Aid.
1 person likes this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: cedar 5/1/2020 2:13:22 AM (No. 397098)
Stardust is my favorite.
0 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: franq 5/1/2020 6:09:24 AM (No. 397175)
The Keith Richards of country music. An album a year? /s Didn't know Willie was in his 160's...
0 people like this.

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