Willie Nelson's 70th Birthday Honored With 'The Essential Willie Nelson'


Commemorating the 70th birthday (April 30th) of an American legend who has been active for four decades as a songwriter, actor, and social activist, "The Essential Willie Nelson" is a 2-CD set featuring 41 songs that span Willie Nelson's distinguished musical career. The set was released earlier this month and signaled the start of Columbia/Legacy's year-long campaign to celebrate Willie Nelson's rich catalog of recordings.

"The Essential Willie Nelson" is the most up-to-date compilation ever focused on the artist. Spanning over 40 years of classic songs, the set brings together songs from nine labels for which Nelson recorded, ranging from 1961's "Night Life" to 2003's Grammy-winning "Mendocino County Line" with Lee Ann Womack. Rarities include collaborations with U2 ("Slow Dancing") and Steven Tyler and Aerosmith ("One Time Too Many").

More than half the tracks on "The Essential" are drawn from Nelson's vast archive on Columbia, to whom he was signed from 1975 to 1993. All of his signature songs appear on the 2-CD set, including "On The Road Again," "Always On My Mind," "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" (with Julio Iglesias), "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" (with Waylon Jennings), "Georgia On My Mind," "Blue Skies," "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain," "Whiskey River," and many more.

An added attraction to "The Essential" are birthday greetings from nearly 50 contemporary figures in the set's booklet. Recollections and tributes to Nelson appear from former Texas governor Ann Richards, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Ray Charles, John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, Kid Rock, Dave Matthews, Billy Bob Thornton, Bono of U2, and numerous others.

"The Essential Willie Nelson" is the first in a series of important Willie Nelson catalog reissues from Columbia/Legacy this year. Arriving in June are expanded editions (featuring bonus tracks) of the classic albums "To Lefty From Willie," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Willie Nelson & Family Live" and "San Antonio Rose." And the campaign concludes in August with the arrival of "Pancho & Lefty," "Always On My Mind," "Tougher Than Leather," and "Willie Nelson's Greatest Hits (& Some That Will Be)."

SOURCE: Sony Legacy

CONTACT: Tom Cording of Sony Legacy, +1-212-833-4448

Web site: http://www.legacyrecordings.com/