Today Willie Nelson celebrates his 87th birthday with the YouTube premiere of his 1976 TV appearance on Austin City Limits, where he performed his seminal album Red Headed Stranger front to back. The classic album also celebrates its birthday this week, turning 45 on Friday. Fans can tune in later today to YouTube HERE at 5:20 PM ET (4:20 PM Willie time in Austin) for the premiere which will double as a fundraiser for Farm Aid. Legacy Recordings, will also release an exclusive “blood splattered clear vinyl” edition of Red Headed Stranger at Barnes & Noble which will be released on July 10th.
For Willie’s birthday, a number of famous fans have already weighed in from the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Kacey Musgraves and Jeff Bridges joining Willie remotely to wish him a good one early on his Come And Toke It event last week to a couple of musical gifts with charity ties. First Nathanial Rateliff released “Willie’s Birthday Song” April 24th with benefits going to Farm Aid and the Strong Hearts Native Helpline. The single was premiered at Come And Toke It and features longtime Willie bandmates Mickey Raphael and Bobbi Nelson. Edie Brickell actually recruited Willie himself to duet with her on her new song out today “Sing To Me, Willie”. The proceeds benefit MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Willie’s Roadhouse channel on Sirius XM will celebrate the birth of their namesake with their Double Down 87th Birthday Bash, airing on April 29th and 30th as Sirius is making the service free to all listeners, while radio station KUTX in Willie’s hometown of Austin will go wall-to-wall Willie all day on April 29.
While many others a quarter of his age are trying to figure out how to keep productively engaged these days, Willie has been a whirlwind of activity during the shutdown. He has performed in a number of fundraising events including the Luck Reunion Til Further Notice event (March 19th), At Home With Farm Aid (April 11th), Come And Toke It (April 20th) and Jack Johnson’s Kokua Festival (April 25th). He had a major tribute show American Outlaw air on A&E (April 12th), he’s dropped in on shows like Morning Joe (April 3rd watch ) and Real Time With Bill Maher (April 3rd) and he remotely performed “Hello Walls” with his sons on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (April 20th) creating an instantaneous quarantine classic. Oh and he has also recorded enough material for at least three new albums!