Willie Nelson made one illegal move to keep people from finding out where he lived

Jun 10, 2024

Willie Nelson is one of the all-time legends of country music.

He’s lived a life that no Hollywood screenwriter could have ever dreamt up. 

And Willie Nelson made one illegal move to keep people from finding out where he lived. 

Willie Nelson returns to his hometown in Texas

Willie Nelson was born in 1933 in Abbott, Texas, a small town between Waco and Dallas.

He was raised by his grandparents who made the fateful decision to give him his first guitar at six years old.

Willie started playing at bars and honky tonks when he was a teenager before he left to join the Air Force in 1950.

Texas was a big part of his life and his success as a musician.

He spent the 1960s in Nashville, Tennessee, and by the end of the decade, he was about ready to throw in the towel on music.

The restrictive Nashville sound and the country music business led him to move back to Texas to retire from music.

But Willie couldn’t stay away from music for long.

He rejuvenated his career and refined his sound in the burgeoning music scene at Armadillo World Headquarters, a music hall, in Austin, Texas.

Willie debuted his new sound on the 1973 album Shotgun Willie, which helped kickstart the outlaw country music movement.

After the success of his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger, he was well on his way to being a major star in country music.

Wille said in his 2015 memoir It’s a Long Story: My Life that after he became successful in country music he yearned to return home to Abbott.

He bought the home in Abbott of the doctor who delivered him.

Willie doesn’t appreciate the hometown welcome 

Willie bought his home in Abbott as a place to get away from it all in the small town of his youth.

The town of fewer than 500 people decided to celebrate their favorite son.

A billboard went up on the I-35 – a major interstate that runs next to the town – that said “Abbott, home of Willie Nelson.”

Willie was worried that random people would pull off of the highway and come looking for him in the spot he went to get away from it all.

He and his buddy Zeke Varnon were playing poker one night and he was complaining about the billboard.

So Wille hatched a scheme to deal with the billboard.

“Burn the f***er down!” Willie said.

So he and Varnon set out to burn down the billboard.

They ran into a cop when they stopped to get gas to burn it down with.

“We stopped to buy a can of gas. A cop came by, recognized me, and said, ‘Hey, Willie. What are you guys up to?’ ‘We’re going to burn down a sign,’ I said. He just laughed and went on his way. He didn’t believe the truth,” Willie wrote.

That didn’t stop him from carrying out his plan.

Willie doused the billboard in gasoline and tried to light it on fire but it wouldn’t ignite.

He figured it was treated with something to make it fireproof and went home frustrated. 

“Next day I learned that the sign actually did catch fire some time after we left and had to be extinguished by the lone Abbott fire truck. Not only that, but an innocent teenager was picked up and charged with arson. I called the police and told one of the boys to let the kid go,” Willie stated.

The police told him that they would have taken the billboard down if he would have asked.

“Was more fun to try and burn it,” the old outlaw musician said.

Read All About It will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.

Latest Posts: