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...


Nelson Recorded a Special Album to Pay the 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. While it was negotiated downward, it was still a great deal of money to owe. Nelson recorded a new album called “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories” to help pay that debt off. The limited-edition album cost $19.95 and 15 cents out of every dollar went toward paying down his IRS debt.

“On the Road Again” Was Written on an Airline Vomit Bag Nelson said he was in an airplane with directors Jerry Schatzberg and Sydney Pollack, who were looking for songs to include in Honeysuckle Rose. He said the song just clicked inside his head, so he wrote the lyrics on one of the airline sickness bags that was provided. 


Nelson Calls His Favorite Guitar Trigger Nelson has had his Martin N-20 guitar since 1969, and it creates the sound that the entertainer wants in his songs. Over the years, the guitar has been autographed by more than 100 people, including Leon Russel, who was the first to sign it. The guitar was rescued more than once, first when it was pulled from Nelson's burning house and again when the IRS was seizing Nelson’s assets.  (Nelson hid it.)

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 Saved His Pot From a Burning House Nelson got home one day during the evening hours to find out his house in Ridgetop, Tennessee, was on fire. He ran into the house to retrieve a pound of marijuana that he had there but said he went to get it because he didn’t want to get arrested by police if the firemen found it. Unfortunately, about 100 tapes full of songs that hadn’t been recorded yet were lost in the blaze.