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April 30, 2013 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Country legend Willie Nelson turned 80 yesterday and in celebration, he has released his audition tape for The Hobbit 2.
posted by jabo (71 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
I propose that all posts about old people whom I love begin thusly, to spare my health:
Still-living country legend Willie Nelson &c.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:23 PM on April 30, 2013 [56 favorites]


This man has always been and will always be my hero.
posted by Malice at 12:26 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


He'd be a pretty good Tom Bombadil too, wouldn't he?
posted by entropicamericana at 12:28 PM on April 30, 2013 [14 favorites]


Your love of the halfling's leaf has clearly slowed your mind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:31 PM on April 30, 2013 [19 favorites]


I've linked this before, but this drawing of mine sums up my thoughts on Willie Nelson.
posted by COBRA! at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm at work, so I can't watch the video. I can only assume that he's auditioning to play Willinels the Green.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2013


Balrogs are assholes.


They totally are.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:35 PM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Flaming assholes, even.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:37 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suppose you think that was terribly clever.
posted by Kabanos at 12:45 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


All of Sauron's minions say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away
Because of Gollum, I suppose.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:45 PM on April 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


When I saw this post my first thought was "what on Earth does Willie have to do with online shopping carts?"
posted by wierdo at 12:48 PM on April 30, 2013


He just wants to get his hands on some of that dank Halfling's Leaf.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:53 PM on April 30, 2013


Really?
posted by dr_dank at 1:01 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Now this is Tinuviel, from Rivendell. Very good stuff. And this is Balrog, different, but equally good. And this is Old Toby from the Southfarthing. This one's a little more expensive. But when you smoke it, you'll know where the extra money went. Nothing wrong with the first two. It's real, real, REAL good shit. But Old Toby's a fuckin' madman."
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:02 PM on April 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yessssssss
posted by Mister_A at 1:11 PM on April 30, 2013


McKellan replies.
posted by Zed at 1:14 PM on April 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Willie also insisted that his birthday bash be changed to a benefit for the people of West, Texas.

Willie is a great guy, and a great artist. Best wishes, old man. Don't stop now.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:15 PM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Still-living country legend Willie Nelson &c

Thanks for pointing that out. The headline had the same effect on me as I was clicking on another link....his name caught my eye just enough to instill dread as I hit the back button just to be sure...instead I'm now pleasantly surprised with only a lingering touch of inevitable mortality.
posted by samsara at 1:17 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh FFS- not available in my country! Is there another link out there? For this is something I long to see!
posted by Philby at 1:43 PM on April 30, 2013


Aquarium Drunkard yesterday, when posting a special set of 10 Willie tunes in honor of the birthday, described him with the phrase "the World's Greatest Living American." If that isn't completely accurate, it's certainly not off by much.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:49 PM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


This version is available to watch in Australia: http://teamcoco.com/video/willie-nelson-hobbit-audition
posted by Philby at 1:52 PM on April 30, 2013


Aquarium Drunkard yesterday, when posting a special set of 10 Willie tunes in honor of the birthday, described him with the phrase "the World's Greatest Living American.".

I think this statement can be scientifically proven as fact.
posted by Malice at 1:52 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aquarium Drunkard yesterday, when posting a special set of 10 Willie tunes in honor of the birthday, described him with the phrase "the World's Greatest Living American."

Also acceptable: "goddamned national treasure".
posted by scody at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2013


Willie Nelson is a goddamned national treasure.

I agree about the "STILL LIVING" stipulation. There are a very few famous people whose obituary threads I dread with a fear greater than that of spiders or getting the glaucoma test at the eye doctor. Willie Nelson is one of those people.
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh hell! Scody beat me, probably because I was too busy cringing about glaucoma tests and not typing fast enough.
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did I ever tell you about the time a spider gave me a glaucoma test? Yeah, she was my Shelobphthalmologist.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:05 PM on April 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


Two things I know about Willie Nelson.

1) Don't offer him weed. He has his own. Its rude cause he wants to toke you.
2) Smoking with Willie GREATLY INCREASES the chance that he will still be on your couch in the morning.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:08 PM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


There are a very few famous people whose obituary threads I dread with a fear greater than that of spiders or getting the glaucoma test at the eye doctor. Willie Nelson is one of those people.

LALALALA WILLIE NELSON WILL LIVE FOREVER LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALA

That said: despite his IMMORTALITY, I would like to encourage anyone who's never seen him in concert to GO! SEE HIM IN CONCERT! He's still touring constantly and he still puts on an amazing show.
posted by scody at 2:13 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cast Julio Igelsias as Radagast the Brown and they can duet on "To All The Maiar I've Loved Before."
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:16 PM on April 30, 2013


On the road again
I just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is slayin' goblins with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again
posted by Flunkie at 2:24 PM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Exhausted, the hobbits cried out to Strider that they could flee no more from the Nazgul. Aragorn, son of Arathorn, boldy advised them to continue on the East Road as best they could, as Gandalf was under arrest and being remanded to Gondor for all those back taxes.
posted by dhartung at 2:25 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Willie also insisted that his birthday bash be changed to a benefit for the people of West, Texas.

He grew up just north of there, in Abbott, also on I-35, and he held the first Farm Aid concert a little bit further north, in the truck stop "town" of Carl's Corners.

Until his tax scandal, there was a small billboard as you drove past the Abbott proudly proclaiming it the birthplace of Willie Nelson. After his the tax news, they took it down.

I sure as hell hope they know it's time for that billboard to go back up.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:25 PM on April 30, 2013


(Oops, it was his Fourth of July concert, not Farm Aid. I stand corrected.)
posted by mudpuppie at 2:30 PM on April 30, 2013


I wish I had something more clever or erudite to say than, "Hee."

But I don't. Hee.
posted by xingcat at 2:30 PM on April 30, 2013


Once I was an intern and driving in a car with my supervisor like three hours across Texas. She mentioned something about Willie Nelson and I said I wasn't into C&W. She really yelled at me, which is too bad, because I think Willie would have suggested that she chill the fuck out and maybe put some of his music on and have a smoke.
posted by angrycat at 2:34 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


described him with the phrase "the World's Greatest Living American."

This reminds me that I once heard Hank Williams described as "the greatest white man who ever lived."

Hyperbole because Willie Nelson and Mr Rogers.
posted by Killick at 2:47 PM on April 30, 2013


She mentioned something about Willie Nelson and I said I wasn't into C&W. She really yelled at me,

I would have yelled at you too.

It's a total fucking shame that, as far as a lot of people are concerned, Nelson's presence on this earth has been reduced to one big unfunny pot joke, a joke he happily takes part in because unfortunately he still really needs the paychecks in order to reimburse the feds.
posted by item at 2:53 PM on April 30, 2013


For further evidence, visit Carl's Corner, which has been reduced to a gift shop full of cheaply-made yet ridiculously expensive trinkets emblazoned with iron-on decals featuring Willie's face hovering over cartoon pot leafs.

I understand why he does it, but I can't help but feel bad and a little embarrassed for the man.
posted by item at 2:57 PM on April 30, 2013


item: "...unfortunately he still really needs the paychecks in order to reimburse the feds."

No, no, please! Have some respect! Willie trusted some accountants who did not file his taxes, according to reports, and was found to owe the IRS $32M in 1990. By 1993, he'd auctioned off his possessions and released The IRS tapes album and completely cleared that debt. Willie is golden; he's paid his taxes ever since, AFAIK.
posted by Anitanola at 3:10 PM on April 30, 2013


Can anyone recommend WN songs they like? He's got my goodwill.

And my sword.
posted by ersatz at 3:16 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


And my pipe!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:17 PM on April 30, 2013


Willie should do a duet with Taylor Swift.
posted by homunculus at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2013


Can anyone recommend WN songs they like? He's got my goodwill.

I know you don't want to hear "EVERYTHING," because that is a crappy answer, but it's pretty close to that.

That said, "The Redheaded Stranger" is brilliant. It's been on regular rotation in my house for... man, decades now. A lot of people have mixed feelings about the Daniel Lanois-produced "Teatro," but I love it so much. Maybe start with "The Redheaded Stranger" or any one of his many greatest hits albums.

He also took a song by one of my least favorite bands and made it, frankly, magical - The Scientist.
posted by elmer benson at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I love Willie Nelson very very much.

He's playing the Surf Ballroom (of Buddy Holly/Richie Valens/Big Bopper fame) sometime in the next couple of weeks. My in-laws live in town and, I think, are going. I'm jealous of them.
posted by elmer benson at 3:46 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ersatz:

He's written so much it's hard to know where to start. He wrote "Crazy" and Patsy Cline got immortality off of it. The singer Faron Young recorded his "Hello Walls," which is another country masterpiece. You'll find Willie is just as powerful an interpreter of others' work as he is a masterful songwriter. Here are a few standouts.

Whiskey River (not his song)

On the Road Again (his)

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

Stardust (jazz standard)

Your Memory Won't Die in My Grave (his)

Sad Songs and Waltzes (his)

Night Life (his, here a live duet with B.B. King)

I could go on and on.
posted by DeWalt_Russ at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also, I love his version of "All Of Me" (another jazz standard he just makes even more loverly).
posted by elmer benson at 3:52 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


You do need to know that Willie Nelson wrote Crazy and helped immortalize Patsy Cline.

I love his cover of Please come to Boston.
posted by Anitanola at 3:54 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elmer, I regularly play along to that track. It is indeed fantastic.
posted by DeWalt_Russ at 3:54 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ersatz, I put a list of YouTube links together for this post. You can use it as a primer, if you'd like.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:58 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


DeWalt_Russ: My apologies; I completely missed that you had just posted "Crazy" and the same observation!
posted by Anitanola at 4:01 PM on April 30, 2013


Waylon Jennings, covering Willie's Pick Up the Tempo in 1974: "Is it true all you folks from Austin think when you die, you go to Willie's house?" Wild cheering ensues.

And Anitanola, it bears repeating!
posted by DeWalt_Russ at 4:09 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ersatz:

In addition to the excellent songs listed above, there's some great gateway stuff if you need it: his blues album with Wynton Marsalis, and his Texas Swing album with Asleep at the Wheel. Even if you don't like country, you cannot not like that Willie.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:15 PM on April 30, 2013


It's a total fucking shame that, as far as a lot of people are concerned, Nelson's presence on this earth has been reduced to one big unfunny pot joke...

He's such a legend. A Genius.

He worked at a shitty little breakfast house down the street some from me, God almost 65 years ago. Every time I go in there, his portraits is somewhere on the wall, and the waitress, even though not one of them worked there when he did, except for Martha, they are all more than happy to stand at your table, talking about Willie, while letting the service slack at the other tables.

Come to think of it. His picture is the nicest thing about that place.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 4:32 PM on April 30, 2013


The first concert I attended in college was seeing Willie at the Austin Opry House in 1977. I sat front row and took photos (here's one) and Willie made sure to turn and smile every so often. I've been a die hard Willie fan ever since.

Sorry to neglect the life affirmation and scare some of you. It just seems that for me, he'll live forever!
posted by jabo at 4:36 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I love "Sad Songs and Waltzes." GODDAMN THAT IS SOME GOOD WEEPIN' MUSIC

Some other faves of his (some original, some covers), just off the top of my head (he's literally recorded hundreds of albums and thousands of songs, so it's hard to do anything but a smattering):

You Ought to Hear Me Cry
Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye (Even Willie has to break out a sinister murder ballad now and then)
Georgia on My Mind
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (intense memories of banging over dirt roads in my grandfather's jeep in the middle of Wyoming listening to this!)
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
Always On My Mind (if you want to see me sob, put this song on the jukebox after I've had a couple)
Pancho & Lefty (with Merle Haggard)
Mendocino County Line (feat. Lee Ann Womack -- a strangely underrated duet, imo)
Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour? (instrumental, just to show off some of his mad guitar skillz)

If any of this tickles your fancy, I would suggest getting a good compilation -- The Essential Willie Nelson (2 discs) is good, but One Hell of a Ride (4 discs) is really fantastic. For individual studio albums, I love lots of 'em, but I find that Red-Headed Stranger, Stardust, Teatro, and Country Music have tended to find their way into my rotation most frequently in recent years.
posted by scody at 4:44 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


The first concert I attended in college was seeing Willie at the Austin Opry House in 1977. I sat front row and took photos (here's one)

Jabo, that photo is private. :(
posted by mudpuppie at 5:03 PM on April 30, 2013


It sure is!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:04 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jabo, that photo is private. :(

Oh crap. I had the ring on my finger! You should be able to see it now.

Yes, I'm a Flicker noob.
posted by jabo at 5:09 PM on April 30, 2013


His cover of Till I Gain Control Again with Emmylou Harris is excellent.

The cover of City of New Orleans with The Highwaymen is my all time favorite song (and if you don't know who The Highwaymen are, shame on you)

The Rainbow Connection.

I am not a hero worshiper. But the day Willie Nelson passes on to the great beyond is the day my heart will break.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:16 PM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Highwayman is a feast for the eyes and ears. I'm very fond of Willie's neighbor Kris Kristofferson who wrote some world class drinking music, "Sunday Morning Coming Down,", among other things. To see these two on stage with Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings must have been as much fun as it looks like they are having themselves.
posted by Anitanola at 5:24 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back on the topic of Willie's acting genius, I'd suggest that Mr. Jackson seriously consider Willie for a role. He was, after all, fantastic in Wag the Dog and Honeysuckle Rose.
posted by elmer benson at 5:39 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Awesome photo, jabo. Any story about the cast on his foot?
posted by mudpuppie at 5:45 PM on April 30, 2013


I usually recommend newcomers start with Shotgun Willie, Phases and Stages, and Red Headed Stranger, which I believe to be the greatest album triptych in this history of country music.
posted by saul wright at 6:07 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, I love Willie. That "Rainbow Connection" clip above was so pretty. His live version of Eddy Vedder's "Just Breathe" is lovely, too. Can't link to the youtube from this device, but it's worth tracking down. (His son sounds more like Willie than Willie does.) Thanks for this post!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:14 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any story about the cast on his foot?

As I remember it, he said he broke it in a skiing accident in Aspen. It was great for me since he wasn't able to move around much and I was able to take lots of pictures. I gotta find those negatives.
posted by jabo at 8:13 PM on April 30, 2013


Coverville did an 80th-birthday tribute to Willie last week (previously, their 75th-birthday tribute to him).
posted by Lexica at 8:38 PM on April 30, 2013


He was, after all, fantastic in Wag the Dog and Honeysuckle Rose.

Also in his first movie (1979), The Electric Horseman.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:47 PM on April 30, 2013


I'm digging the recommendations so far, thanks everyone! I might have to post a country AskMe after I finish with them.
posted by ersatz at 4:21 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's the "Just Breathe" clip done live with Willie and his son Lucas and the band in his radio studio. I like his version as much as I do the live Pearl Jam version.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:02 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joey Michaels: "Cast Julio Igelsias as Radagast the Brown and they can duet on "To All The Maiar I've Loved Before.""

By God, you're a nerd.
posted by Mister_A at 7:45 AM on May 1, 2013


If you don't love Willie Nelson, we cannot be friends.
posted by grubi at 10:03 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


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