5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Willie Nelson

On November 9, 1990, Willie Nelson's assets were seized by the IRS to pay back part of the $16.7 million he owed in taxes. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about country singer and songwriter Willie Nelson...


He Recorded an Album to Pay Off His IRS Debt After Nelson’s home and other assets were seized by the IRS in 1990, he was left with a debt to the government of $32 million. Although it was negotiated down, Nelson still had to raise money to pay that enormous debt. He did it by recording a new album called The “IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories,” which his fans could buy by calling 1-800-IRS-TAPE.  The IRS collected $3.6 million from the sales of the album, and after a payment of $9 million during the next five years, Nelson's debt was satisfied

He Has Been Playing The Same Guitar For More Than Years Nelson has been playing his beloved guitar Trigger since 1969. Trigger was named after the palomino horse owned by western television star and singer Roy Rogers. Nelson has played the Martin N-20 guitar for over half a century. When his assets were being seized, Nelson hid Trigger with family and friends, and sometime later, when his home caught fire, he ran back into the house to save Trigger and another guitar case with two pounds of pot inside.


Getting Into a Fight With Nelson Would Be a Mistake He’s been training for several decades in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, which is a type of martial arts practiced in Korea, and he was awarded a 5th-degree black belt in 2014 at age 81. His interest in martial arts began early when he was writing songs in Nashville. He also holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, so despite his age, he probably isn’t someone to challenge.

He Sang With Rosalynn Carter Nelson has been longtime friends with Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, for many years and performed for the couple and guests at the White House on September 13, 1980. Guests were delighted when Rosalynn joined the popular singer to perform a duet of “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.” In 2012, the former President got his own chance to share the stage with the legendary musician when the two performed “Amazing Grace” together in Atlanta.

He Retired in 1972 (It Didn't Last) In 1972, famed singer Willie Nelson decided to retire and kick back and relax in Austin, Texas. He even went so far as to buy out his contract for $14,000. His retirement didn’t last long. Within a year, he was back on the charts with the album Shotgun Willie. By the mid-1970s, he scored some of his greatest hits with the three albums: “The Troublemaker,” “Red Headed Stranger” and “The Sound in Your Mind.”