Born during the Great Depression, and raised by his grandparents, Willie Nelson wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Polka as their lead singer and guitar player. In 1960, he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price’s band as a bassist. During that time, he wrote songs that would become country standards, including “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Hello Walls”, “Pretty Paper”, and “Crazy”. In 1962, he recorded his first album, And Then I Wrote. After mid-chart hits in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Nelson retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas. The rise of the popularity of hippie music in Austin motivated Willie Nelson to return from retirement, performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters. In 1973, after signing with Atlantic Records, Nelson turned to outlaw country and the rest of the story we know.
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