I love Willie, but calling him a rock and roll artist is a bit of a stretch.
Willie is more rock & roll than half of the artists in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Certainly by spirit and attitude, he qualifies.
10cc managed to have a huge hit with the same idea.
Willie was not a typical country artist for the time. Even though he wrote massive hits like Crazy for Patsy Cline, he was not really what the country music establishment of the day wanted to promote. So I suspect that a reluctance of country radio DJs around the rest of the south to play his records was more of a factor than the complexity of the lyrics. As that same Wikipedia article points out, the song was a hit in Nelson’s home state of Texas. I don’t think radio listeners in Texas at the time were any more sophisticated than anywhere else.
No, but they were bigger!
The Statler Brothers did all right with the theme, and they made it into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“the stars are raindrops searching for place to fall” is such an evocative line, gets me every time.
Hell I’m tempted to call him punk rock.
He stretches genres. Much like Johnny Cash, he’s shown that the boundaries between “rock” and “country” are fuzzy at best.
I attend Farm Aid every chance I get. Hearing a country legend proudly and loudly shout down conservative politics and praise socialist concepts of support, mutual aid, and tolerance for all in front of a crowd of farmers is punk AF.
Also, these categories are corporate distinctions made to market to particular demographics, rather than actual hard and fast rules about music. Plenty of modern country is really just twangified pop, for example. The best music out there rarely fits into the neat little boxes that the industry would like to shove them into.
I love songs like this, where the meaning takes a modicum of thinking to understand.
Another I noticed recently is one, which appears on the surface to be a song about the heartbreak of someone wanting to be “just friends” when you want more, but the realization dawns that both of the people are sharing the same worry, that the other isn’t as into them as they are into the other. So it’s actually a very sly love song.
That and the separation of “Country” and “rock and roll” is kinda splitting hairs. They both are derivatives of rhythm and blues. So many country songs are rock or pop songs but with a “twang” and a fiddle (greatly over simplified statement). (ETA I wrote this before reading any other statements, which I am echoing above.)
I see “rock” to really be a larger umbrella that a lot of sub genres and cousins can fit under.
And besides Willie Nelson there are a number of artists who are included in both, and many more who should be.
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