There should be a law against saying “Willie Nelson” and “80th birthday” in the same sentence. Good thing there isn’t, though, because I’d be going to jail right about now.
In honor of the Red-Headed Stranger’s birthday, here’s his version of “The Rainbow Connection,” first made famous by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie (1979). The video has quite a long intro; Willie comes in at 1:51.
Happy birthday, Willie! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.
Today would have been Roy Orbison’s 77th birthday.
The first time I’d ever heard of him was in 1987, when The Traveling Wilburys (Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Tom Petty) released “Handle with Care.” I had heard Van Halen’s version of his classic “Pretty Woman,” but somehow failed to make the connection between Orbison’s original and the 1980s cover.
No matter. This song was so unlike anything on late-1980s radio that I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of Roy Orbison. That fragile, haunting voice—where’s it coming from? His mouth barely moves, yet all this world-weary heartbreak still pours forth.
But the next year, he died of a heart attack at 52, and his record company released Mystery Girl posthumously. My favorite from that album, “You Got It,” was a simultaneous #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and Hot Country Songs charts. It was also his first hit in nearly 25 years.
“Portland, Oregon” is one of my favorite tracks from Van Lear Rose. The entire album is stellar, though, so it’s hard to choose just one. Since nearly everyone’s familiar with Loretta Lynn’s best-known work, I thought I’d share this in honor of her special day.
Original sign from Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in North Hollywood, California. Nudie Cohn originated the flamboyant rhinestone-studded suits made popular by country music legends such as Tex Williams, Porter Wagoner, Webb Pierce, and Elvis Presley, among many others.
Displayed at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum Nashville, Tennessee—4 June 2008
Cross-sections of 4x8 logs create a fascinating hardwood floor
The floor of the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum captivates the eye. Cross-sawn parquet tiles capture the wood grain from an unexpected angle—seeing the growth rings gives us a sense of the hardships the trees endured before becoming part of the floor.
Makes sense. Country music is all about experience, regret, and memory.
This lapel—like the rest of the suit—was embroidered and studded with rhinestones completely by hand, and made in the late 1960s or early 1970s. If I’m not mistaken, the flowers and leaves on this suit are those found in and around Maricopa County, Arizona, where Robbins was born and raised.