Country music legend, activist, author, poet, actor--Willie Nelson fits into any one of these categories. He helped shape outlaw country towards the end of the 1960s, by bringing country artists who felt restricted by the Nashville sound together with "hippie" rock musicians, and his classic, low-key voice, timeless melodies, and ironic delivery branched him out even further to wide pop audiences.
Over the past five decades, he has respectfully bridged several artistic mediums, made even more impressive by the fact that he has also become the epitome of the "outlaw grandfather"--two characteristics that don't exactly go hand-in-hand. The major success of '70s records like Shotgun Willie, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust made Nelson one of the most well-known country artists around. In the '80s his musical reputation broadened with singles like "Always on my Mind" and "On the Road Again"--songs that roll off the tongue even for those who think they don't know the words.
On the other hand, he's the perfect picture of the proverbial pothead.