Willie Nelson (right) told AARP Frank Sinatra was “a good friend.”
Willie Nelson is on the road back and this time he is on the inspiration of ol’ blue eyes.
The 85-year-old country singer/songwriter, who is on the cover of AARP The Magazine, June/July 2018 issue, revealed he is currently at work creating a collection of Frank Sinatra covers.
While the entire playlist was not named, Nelson part one of this numbers happens of 1969, “My Way.”
And while some fans will be surprised by the latest musical move, Nelson insisted the decision to channel Sinatra at this point in his career was an easy one.
“I learned a lot about phrasing from listening to Frank,” he explained. “He didn’t worry about behind the beat or in front of the beat, or what he could sing it either way, and that is the feeling that you should have.”
And Nelson is more than just a fan of the beloved king, who died in 1998 at age 82 of a heart attack. AARP noted that in the ’80s, as Sinatra once opened for Nelson at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. The pair also appeared together in a PSA for NASA.
Although their musical styles were completely different, Nelson Sinatra was actually a good friend.
However, Sinatra is not the only icon Nelson has gotten inspiration from. Country music legend Hank Williams was known as one of Nelson influences from over the years.
“He was a great writer, sang with so much feeling,” he explained. “He was a sick man in the time he was born until he died, a sick man. He had a bad back and was always a kind of pain medication or alcohol, or what it took to get him up to the show.
“And he had a hard life. Died on 29. But no one wrote better songs than Hank. It was the simplicity, the melody and the line that everyone can understand.”
But Nelson himself has influenced legends, including The King.
“Yes, I met him a few times,” said Nelson about the face of Elvis Presley. “He did ‘Always on My Mind’ and ‘Night Life.'”
Yet it was not to be denied Presley struggled as an artist who was addicted to prescription pills and an attempt to find his place in an ever changing industry during his later years. Presley died in 1977 at age 42 of a heart attack that could have possibly been the result of an overdose.
“Well, it’s not easy,” said Nelson on why Presley was so difficult with fame. “Once you think it’s easy, you’re in trouble. [To achieve fame] you have to want it. And then, when you get it, do you still want to. Many people, when they get it, say: ‘Wait a minute, this is too much.”
Even Sinatra confronted with obstacles in the ’70s when he released a number of pop-songs that didn’t quite make the same brand as his previous hits.
“You have those guys here say that you have to do and the boys say here: you have to do that,” said Nelson. “Next thing, you don’t know what to do.”
Nelson admitted that in his past, singing the same sad songs night after night caused him to drink.
“If me or George Jones, and the one who sings those sad songs, there are people out there who can relate to, and that’s good,” he said. “The problem may be that in that emotional state to sing that sad song to make all those people happy, you’ve really got yourself in a negative situation where you have more to drink.”
But these days, Nelson is enjoying the continued success of his career by staying creative.
As for the secret of life? He stressed it is simple. – Do things your way.
“Do what you want to do,” he said. “If I don’t want to do it, forget it. But if I want to do it, out of my damn way.”