What do you say about an 81-year-old man who had his first hit as a songwriter in the 1950s, writing half of a dozen of the greatest songs in the history of American popular music between 1958 and 1963, including “Hello Walls” for Faron Young, “Pretty Paper” for Roy Orbison, “Funny How Time Slips Away” for Billy Walker, and “Crazy” for Patsy Cline? These four songs, done before his first album as a solo performer, would have been enough to cement his reputation. But in the next six decades, he released 68 solo albums, ten live albums, 37 best of compilations, 27 collaborative albums, acted in 34 films, and did the soundtrack to two of them. Nelson has worked with basically everyone: old country stalwarts like Webb Peirce, Merle Haggard, and Dolly Parton; ancient pop crooners like Don Cherry; cutting a blues album with Wynton Marsalis and a reggae track with Snoop Dogg.
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