Red Headed Stranger: The Willie Nelson Quiz

Bambi Turner

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Willie Nelson struggled to find mainstream country singing success, while serving as one of Nashville's most popular songwriters behind the scenes. It wasn't until Nelson embraced his singular style that he found stardom as the king of outlaw country. Take our quiz to see how much you know about this music legend.

Where was Willie born, back in 1933?

Willie Nelson calls the Lone Star State home. He was born on April 29, 1933 in Abbott, Texas -- where he was raised by his grandparents.

What is the name of Nelson's beloved sister?

Willie's sister Bobbie has performed with him many times over the years, and she also helped him join his first band. She was dating lead singer Bud Fletcher of Bud Fletcher and the Texans back when brother Willie joined the band in 1947. Bobbie and Bud later married.

What branch of the military did Nelson enlist in?

Nelson joined the Air Force after graduating from high school in 1950. Due to back problems, he only made it a year before he was honorably discharged from the service.

What was Nelson's college major?

Nelson attended Baylor University for a couple of years in the mid-'50s as an agriculture major, before dropping out to pursue music.

How much did Willie earn for his first published song?

Willie sold his first song, "Family Bible," for just $50. He used the money to move to Nashville in 1960 to try to make it big in country music.

Which of these classic country songs did Willie write?

You may be surprised to learn just how many big country hits Nelson penned as he tried to make it as a singer in Nashville. In addition to Patsy Cline's "Crazy," Nelson wrote "Hello Walls," "Pretty Paper," and "Funny How Time Slips Away."

What was the name of Willie's first album?

Nelson's first album, "And Then I Wrote," failed to chart when it was released in 1962. A half-dozen or so other efforts also enjoyed little success throughout the '60s.

What event sent Willie out of Nashville and back home to Texas?

After his house burned down in 1970, Willie left Nashville and headed to Austin, Texas. There, he embraced the outlaw country genre and started to find success as a singer for the first time.

What was Willie's first platinum album called?

After some success at Atlantic Records, Nelson moved to Columbia Records, where he released his first platinum album 'Red Headed Stranger" in 1975. The album went to number one on the country charts and even hit number forty on the pop charts.

What song won Willie his first Grammy?

Nelson picked up his first Grammy award in 1975. He won the award for Best Country Male Vocal Performance for "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain."

What was the name of Nelson's first film?

Nelson played Wendell in "The Electric Horseman" in his film debut. The 1979 Sydney Pollack film also starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

What was the name of Nelson's character in the 1980 flick, "Honeysuckle Rose"?

Nelson starred as Buck Bonham, a country star torn between his love for two different women in the 1980 film "Honeysuckle Rose."

Which of his hits did Nelson write for "Honeysuckle Rose"?

When producers asked Nelson to write a song for "Honeysuckle Rose," he put together "On the Road Again." He penned the lyrics for the song on the back of a barf bag while riding on an airplane.

What is the name of Willie's old guitar?

Nelson named his guitar after Roy Rogers' horse, Trigger. Trigger, a Martin N-20, has been by Willie's side since 1969, and has the scars to prove it.

How many times has Willie been married?

Willie has been married four times, starting back in 1952. He married his fourth wife Ann Marie D'Angelo in 1991. He has seven kids altogether. His son, Willie Jr., committed suicide.

What 1978 Nelson album featured the classic "Georgia on My Mind"?

Nelson debuted the iconic "Georgia on My Mind" on his 1978 album, "Stardust," which also featured covers of other pop standards, like "Unchained Melody" and "Someone to Watch Over Me."

Whose songs did Nelson cover for a 1979 album?

In 1979, Willie released "Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson," an album of Kris' greatest hits. It included Nelson's covers of "Me and Bobby McGee" and "For the Good Times."

What title did Nelson choose for his first Christmas album?

In 1963, Nelson wrote the song "Pretty Paper" for Roy Orbison. When Nelson was ready to release his first Christmas album in 1979, he included a cover of the tune and used the title "Pretty Paper" for the album.

Who did Willie duet with on "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"?

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings had a smash hit in 1978 with their duet of "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys." They even won the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Duo or Group for the song.

What year did Willie release the iconic "Always on My Mind"?

Nelson's "Always on My Mind" album came out in 1982 and featured the famous title track, as well as covers like "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and "Let It Be Me."

Who did Nelson team up with for "To All the Girls I've Loved Before"?

Nelson scored big on the pop charts for his 1984 duet with Julio Iglesias. The duo dedicated the song to all the girls they've loved, kissed and caressed.

What supergroup was Nelson a part of in the mid-'80s?

Willie Nelson teamed up with Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings to form The Highwaymen in the '80s. They were inspired to form the group after performing together for a Johnny Cash Christmas show in 1984.

What year did Willie Nelson help to launch the first Farm Aid concert?

Nelson teamed up with John Mellencamp and Neil Young to hold the first Farm Aid concert in 1985. Since then, the group has raised more than $50 million to support American farmers.

What got Nelson in trouble with the law in 1990?

Nelson got in big trouble with the IRS in 1990, learning that he owed one of the biggest past-due tax bills in history. He sold "Who'll Buy My Memories: The IRS Tapes," to pay off a $16 million tax bill.

What did Willie do to celebrate his 81st birthday?

To celebrate turning 81, Nelson became a fifth-degree black belt in Gongkwon Yusul, a Korean martial art that he had been practicing for more than 20 years.

What 2012 Willie Nelson album featured appearances by Snoop Dogg, Merle Haggard and Sheryl Crow?

Willie's 2012 album, "Heroes," featured a host of guest stars, as well as a cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist."

In what year did Nelson first get arrested for marijuana possession?

Nelson faced his first arrest for marijuana possession in 1974. He was arrested on similar charges in 2006 and 2010.

In what year was Nelson inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame?

Nelson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, at the age of 60. He was also inducted into the National Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2011, for his contributions to the field of farming.

Which of these products has never been for sale under the Willie Nelson name?

In 2004, Wilson introduced BioWillie, a brand of biodiesel made from soybeans and other vegetables. Starting in 2015, he put his name on Willie's Reserve -- a brand of marijuana sold in states where the drug has been legalized.

What does NORML fight for?

Willie Nelson has long supported the group NORML -- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- and even serves on the group's board. NORML aims to end federal prohibition against marijuana.

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