Willie Nelson Wants His Fellow Highway Men Inducted In Rock Hall Of Fame
Willie Nelson live in 2019 - WillieNelson / Youtube
Music legend Willie Nelson has cemented his reputation in the business by formally entering the esteemed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The historic event happened on Friday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, when a star-studded party honored both Nelson and an impressive group of fellow inductees.
The distinguished group included Kate Bush, Don Cornelius, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, DJ Kool Herc, Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, George Michael, Rage Against the Machine, the Spinners, Bernie Taupin, and Link Wray.
At the age of 90, Nelson’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a testament to his enduring impact on the world of music. During the event, Nelson took a minute to thank his peers for their contributions as he politely accepted the well-deserved distinction.
He emphasized the significance of recognizing the accomplishments of friends in the industry, specifically mentioning his fellow Highwaymen Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings as individuals he believes also deserve the prestigious award.
The Red-Headed Stranger takes the stage
Nelson’s induction is a momentous occasion that may open the door for further prominent Nashvilleians to receive honors at the location.
Now that Nelson is standing next to Johnny Cash, the two of them represent important “outlaw” moments in the vast history of music. This includes the whole aesthetic of Chet Atkins, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley, as well as the twanging guitar of Duane Eddy, the rockabilly sensibilities of Brenda Lee, Carl Perkins, and Sam Phillips, and the foundational essences of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers.
The “Red-Headed Stranger” envisions that he won’t be the lone outlaw entering the esteemed hall soon.
Before gracing the stage at Barclays Center and delivering stellar performances, including his 1973 hit “Whiskey River” with Chris Stapleton, “Crazy” with fellow inductee Sheryl Crow, and “On the Road Again” with Crow, Stapleton, and Dave Matthews, Nelson expressed his deep reverence for iconic figures such as Cash, Charles, Presley, and Lewis.
Willie Nelson urged people to induct his Highwaymen
After his performances, Nelson began his speech by talking nostalgically about his friendships and partnerships with great musicians like Ray Charles, Booker T. Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Leon Russell. In particular, he highlighted his relationship with Ray Charles, saying, “When Ray and I got together, we never asked each other what to do or whether to do a soul song or a rock song or a country song. We just sang the songs we loved.”
Nelson talked about his time as a member of The Highwaymen, the legendary supergroup that included Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. He talked about the happy times they had together. The outlaw icon then urged the people to have his fellow Highwaymen get the induction they deserve.
He said, “That was fun, with Cash and Waylon and Kris Kristofferson. And Now that Johnny [Cash] and I have been inducted, I want to give a plug for Waylon [Jennings], who played with Buddy Holly, and Kris [Kristofferson], who sang so many hits, to be inducted too.”
Nelson sent his sincere appreciation to his family band and his devoted management of many years. Not to be outdone, Nelson expressed gratitude to his wife Annie for “keeping me out here doing what I was put here to do.”
The greatest country supergroup
Cash, Jennings, Nelson, and Kristofferson were the four prominent pioneers of outlaw country music that made up the renowned country supergroup The Highwaymen. Under this name, this formidable group recorded three important albums between 1985 and 1995: two with Columbia Records and one with Liberty Records. Notably, three hit singles—including the 1985 chart-topper “Highwayman”—were produced via their collaboration with Columbia.
Between 1996 and 1998, the HighBridge Company released the Louis L’Amour Collection, a four-disc box set that included seven stories by Louis L’Amour. Nelson, Kristofferson, Cash, and Jennings contributed their voices and theatrical abilities to the set. It is noteworthy that the group also starred in one movie together, the 1986 film Stagecoach.
In a unique partnership, the group and another singer, Johnny Rodriguez, demonstrated their combined abilities on a track. Rodriguez provided the Spanish vocals for the version of Woody Guthrie’s song “Deportee”, which can be found on the album Highwayman.
This partnership is a perfect example of the broad and cooperative vibe that characterized The Highwaymen’s remarkable tenure in the country music industry.
Willie Nelson’s 2023 milestones
In 2023, Willie Nelson saw another monumental milestone in his life when he turned 90. April saw the start of an incredible event that turned Los Angeles into a star-studded extravaganza. The spectacular event, which included several well-known musicians, was not only captured on film and vinyl but also released on DVD and CD on December 15.
Beck, Bob Weir, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Keith Richards, and Kris Kristofferson were among the captivating group of performers who graced the stage, either performing with Nelson or honoring the living legend on his birthday.
To enhance the celebrations, a compelling docuseries called Willie Nelson & Family debuted on December 21 on Paramount+. This four-part series explores the complex picture of Nelson’s life, providing a close-up look at his experiences, both good and bad. The story explores his songwriting successes and starts with his early years in Nashville.
The show, nevertheless, doesn’t hold back when delving into Nelson’s darker periods, touching on darker subjects including extramarital affairs, failed suicide attempts, and struggles with addiction. By means of this thorough investigation, Willie Nelson & Family offers viewers a deep comprehension of the nuances that have created Nelson’s remarkable life and career, as well as a nuanced and honest picture of the man behind the music.