As 1971 drew to a close, it was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in Nashville -- but Willie Nelson was not feeling jolly this holiday. With his career stalled, he was being hounded by record executives pressuring him to deliver the formulaic "Nashville Sound." His second marriage was on the rocks, coming to a head one night when Willie came home drunk from a holiday party and his wife pushed him down the stairs, shouting, "How's that for a twelve-step program?" It seemed like the only ones who understood him were the pigs he was raising, who shared some marijuana-laced Christmas brownies with him on the night he wrote "Crazy."
Things seemed to keep getting worse in Nashville, especially with the record company, so when Willie's house burned down he took it as a sign. Willie had started to look and behave a lot like Jesus -- he was skinny, he didn't bathe or shave, and he travelled around the countryside with a band of long-haired friends -- and he felt his resurrection lay ahead in Texas. Maybe it was just a Christmas miracle, but that holiday season when Willie confronted failure after failure, he only became more determined to stay on his own path, with his music and his life.
After the sad but life-changing Christmas of 1971, Willie set about making music his own way. Once in Texas, he got back on the road and in the spirit of peace and togetherness, brought together hippies and rednecks as one audience for the first time. Willie would go on to create the "outlaw movement" with other trailblazing artists like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, becoming the folk hero he is today. As they say, the rest is history -- or as Willie says, "If you fail at something long enough, you become a legend."