Maybe we’re feeling a bit reverent in light of losing George Jones last week, but allow us to celebrate Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday today with some of our favorite video clips.
“Funny How Time Slips Away.” I’ve posted this clip before. I watch it at least once a year for the looks on Bobby Bare’s and Kris Kristofferson’s faces.
VH1 Storytellers with Johnny Cash. At 11:57, Willie breaks a string playing the intro to “Crazy.” Johnny hands him his guitar, and Willie tests it out. “First time that guitar’s been played,” Cash cracks.
“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.” I just love how overdressed Julio Iglesias is for Farm Aid standing next to Willie in his cutoff jean shorts — and how happy they look to be singing together.
“A Song For You” with Ray Charles and Leon Russell. For Ray making Willie cry. Beautiful.
A medley with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Because 1.) Willie is the best-dressed. And 2.) He’s doesn’t know all the words.
“Always On My Mind.” For the rest of the Highwaymen applauding (Cash and Waylon Jennings) and whistling (Kristofferson) at the end.
“Good Hearted Woman” with Waylon. For those smiles and that key change. Also, Willie’s shirt.
“Help Me Make It Through the Night.” For how amazing it sounds even on a crappy cell phone recording.
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” For the introduction by Captain & Tennille.
“Let It Be Me” with Sheryl Crow. For the harmony.
“Night Life.” For Willie without a guitar.
“I Never Cared For You.” For the backdrop.
His stripped-down version of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” Because it should have been a single on country radio, and not just used in that Chipotle short film “Back to the Start”. As far as covers go, I’d put this just below Johnny Cash’s “Hurt.”
“Whiskey River” and “Stay A Little Longer.” Because birthdays should be a party. And how do you not dance to these?
His recent audition for the role of Gandalf in The Hobbit 2. Okay, so not that reverent.