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Willie Nelson turns 90 years old Saturday

Nelson's friends from the entertainment world will celebrate his remarkable life with a 2-day birthday bash in Los Angeles this weekend.

AUSTIN, Texas — There is simply no doubt that he’s more than a mere “country music legend.” Willie Nelson has claimed the title of “icon.”  

For decades, he has entertained fans with his unique Texas twang that has crossed all musical boundaries and drawn fans of all ages. Nelson's face and hair may have changed over the decades, but that distinctive voice has remained the same. 

Growing up in Abbott, Texas, raised by his grandmother, it might have been hard to imagine that from such humble beginnings he'd become an undisputed superstar in the world of music. Yet, he had all the “makin's” from an early age. 

“Ever since I can remember I liked music,” Nelson told KVUE. “I started writing poems when I was five and learning chords on a guitar at six.” 

The path to stardom didn't come easy. In the 1960s, he was mostly a songwriter for others. But he went through a transformation when he moved to Austin in 1972, grew his hair long, sported a beard and became part of the country-rock scene at Austin's Armadillo World Headquarters for the birth of our local “Outlaw Country” music scene. 

Nelson has often been quoted praising the way that Austin’s college kids, hippies and “rednecks” could all get along peacefully during the Armadillo years. It's no question that he brought them all together for a good time in a rowdy yet friendly atmosphere. 

Over the years, Nelson has earned numerous awards and recorded more than 200 albums. He has said that he uses his music to give back to those in need, such as his commitment to Farm Aid. So secure is Nelson's standing in Austin, his statue adorns the entrance to ACL Live at the Moody Theater, home of the Austin City Limits TV show. 

A lifetime of music, of giving, of simply being himself: Willie Nelson, the icon, turns 90 years old Saturday. 

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