Willie Nelson is an American country singer-songwriter, author, poet, actor and activist. He reached his greatest fame during the outlaw country movement of the 1970s, but remains iconic, especially in American popular culture.
The Eighties saw a series of hit singles: "Midnight Rider" (1980; a cover of the Allman Brothers song, which Nelson recorded for The Electric Horseman soundtrack), "On the Road Again" (1982) from the movie Honeysuckle Rose and "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (a duet with Julio Iglesias). There were also more popular albums, including Pancho & Lefty (1982, with Merle Haggard), WWII (1982, with Waylon Jennings) and Take it to the Limit (1983, with Waylon Jennings).
In the mid-1980s, Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash formed a group called The Highwaymen. They achieved unexpectedly massive success, including platinum record sales and worldwide touring. Meanwhile, he became more and more involved in charity work, such as singing on the We are the World single in 1984 and establishing the Farm Aid concerts in 1985.
In 1990, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) handed Nelson a bill for $16.7 million in back taxes and seized most of his assets to help pay the charges. He released The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? as a double album, with all profits going straight to the IRS. Many of his assets were auctioned and purchased by friends, who gave his possessions back to him or rented them at a nominal fee. He sued accounting firm Price Waterhouse, contending that they put him into tax shelters that were later disallowed. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount. His debts were paid by 1993.
He has continued to tour, record and perform in recent years, and these, combined with his advocacy for marijuana legalization and 2006 arrest for marijuana possession, have made him the subject of renewed media attention.
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