The Library of Congress announced today that Willie Nelson will join the likes of Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder as a recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
In honor of the legendary songwriter, also known to some as the patron saint of Austin, we’re looking back by the numbers on his epic career.
43: From 1979’s “The Electric Horseman” to a 1986 episode of “Miami Vice,” Nelson has appeared as himself or a Willie Nelson-like character in at least 43 movies and television episodes, according to IMDB.
$37,000: How much his iconic braids sold for in an auction 2014.
7: Nelson was just seven years old when he wrote his first song.
215: The songs of the Austin singer, most notably “Crazy,” can be heard in an unheard of 215 movies and television shows — everything from “Forrest Gump” to “South Park.”
42: At age 42, Nelson had his first number one hit with “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” originally written by Fred Rose in 1945.
8: Also an activist, Nelson has authored or co-authored eight books, including this year’s autobiography, “It’s a Long Story: My Life.”
70: Willie Nelson’s massive discography in nearly 60 years of making music includes nearly 70 studio albums.
$32: To pay off a $32 million debt to the IRS in the early ’90s, Nelson recorded “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories,” which sent 15 cents of every dollar made to the IRS.
81: Nelson received a fifth-degree black belt at the ripe old age of 81.
1972: Nelson moved to Austin from Nashville in 1972.
5: Since his first arrest in 1974, Nelson has been arrested four more times, mainly for marijuana possession. The arrests have done little to stop the longtime marijuana activist; earlier this year Nelson announced that he is launching his own brand of weed.
46: Trigger, the trusted guitar that has survived both fires and IRS tax raids, has been with Nelson for 46 years.
For more Willie Nelson news, make sure to bookmark our Willie Nelson index.
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- The Fan: How Darrell Royal, and his friendship with Willie Nelson, shaped Austin music