Willie Nelson Hits The Big 8-0 # 2: Before Stardust

Thursday, 11 April 2013 06:11 AM Written by 

Everyone considers Willie's 1978 Stardust a landmark album in popular music as he applied his distinctive voice to a set of tunes from the Great American Songbook.  With Booker T. Jones of the MG's producing and arranging, it remains one of Willie's all-time best sellers. 

This is the title track from the album.

The album was considered innovative in its time. But guess what?  It wasn't the first time he'd done that sort of thing.  Let's head back 15 years, to 1963, at the end of his time with Liberty Records.  The song: another pop standard: "Am I Blue." With Strings.

A pop standard, backed by string orchestrations.  I interviewed Willie in 1994 when writing the liner notes to the box set Willie Nelson: A Classic Unreleased Collection, as part of the research, The set was eventually released on Rhino Records (now out of print). I noted how "Am I Blue" anticipated Stardust. He recalled the earlier recording well, and expressed dismay Liberty hadn't seen fit to promote it at the time.

Bear in mind, Willie was doing a lot of things before he became famous.  This was just one more. 



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