Willie Nelson has been “On the Road Again” — and again and again — ever since he released that song back in 1980. And a song on his newest album proves he has no intention of hanging it up any time soon, a point he underscores to our Bob Schieffer, For The Record (An earlier version of this story was originally broadcast on April 2, 2017):
“I woke up still not dead again today
The Internet said I had passed away
If I died I wasn’t dead to stay
I woke up still not dead again today.
“Now, how in the world do you come up with that song?” Schieffer asked.
“Oh, I don’t know — I’ve been killed several times throughout the years!” Nelson laughed. “And so I just thought I’d write something funny about it.”
It’s easy for Willie Nelson to laugh off these greatly exaggerated rumors of his demise. Now 84, he’s on the road again — performing and writing music. His last album, “God’s Problem Child,” was his 110th, give or take, with songs like “Still Not Dead” and “Old Timer.”
To hear Willie Nelson perform “Old Timer” from “God’s Problem Child,” click on the video player below:
“There’s a theme here,” said Schieffer. “This is about the autumn of life. Is that hard for you to think about?”
“No,” he laughed. “You remember one of those deep thinkers, a guy named Seneca? He said you should look at death and comedy with the same countenance. And I believe that.”
“The autumn of your life — and I’m right there with you, buddy — it’s like the springtime in everybody else’s life. I mean, you’re at the top of your powers, I would say, right now.”
“Everything’s going good,” Nelson said. “I think age is just a number. I’ve heard it all my life: It’s not how old you are, it’s how you feel. And I’ve been lucky with [everything], health-wise and career-wise.
“I haven’t really got anything to bitch about!” he laughed.
It wasn’t always so. Early on, Nelson left his native Texas for Nashville, making a name for himself writing hits for others, like “Crazy,” recorded by Patsy Cline.
Nashville liked his songs, but his singing? Not so much.
At one point Nelson became so dejected that he went out and laid down in the middle of the street in Nashville hoping that a car would run over him. “‘Course, it was midnight — there wasn’t a lot of traffic!” he laughed. “No car got me!”
“What were those days like?”…