“It’s Hard to Be Humble” When You’re a Legendary Grandpa Like Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
Rachael Polack

“We need ya’ll to help us on this next one if you will.”

In a well-timed show of humility, Willie Nelson invited the crowd to help him sing the highly chant-able “It’s Hard to Be Humble” at the inaugural Palomino Festival.

Soon, he was joined onstage by Old Crow Medicine Show, who mirrored the audience, swaying and singing along to the humorous, hubris-filled chorus. And, although it’s a cover of Mac Davis’ hit single from 1980, the song just felt right coming from Willie.

“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way
I can’t wait to look in the mirror
Cause I get better looking each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble,
But I’m doing the best that I can…”

Originally written and recorded by Davis in 1980, “It’s Hard to Be Humble” tackles the serious and sad topic of loneliness with irreverence and humor in the spirit of George Jones’ “She Thinks I Still Care” or Brad Paisley’s I’m Gonna Miss Her.”

The album cover is a perfect display of lighthearted machismo, featuring a shirtless Mac Davis, drink in-hand, grinning amidst some tropical plants. It’s a song that’s made to get some laughs, whether it’s Davis during his performance on the Muppet Show, or if it’s your dad during his performance at Thursday night karaoke at the local tiki bar.

Mac Davis “It’s Hard to Be Humble” on the Muppet Show:

At the age of 86, Willie Nelson recorded the song for his 2019 album “Ride Me Back Home.”

And despite the song’s success prior to 2019, the song found its rightful home with Willie. A part of you might cringe a little when you see old footage of young, good-looking Mac Davis singing about how he’s “perfect in every way.” But when a legendary “grandpa” (as Kacey Musgraves referred to him later that night) like Willie sings about the “love-starved women, who keep cowering at [his] feet,” you can’t help but smile.

We believe you, Willie. It’s hard to be humble when you’ve helped to define the outlaw country era, when you’ve released 90+ studio albums, when you’re still touring at 89-years-young, and when Snoop Dogg calls you a friend. But keep trying, and we’ll keep showing up to “help” you sing this one.

Willie Nelson “It’s Hard to Be Humble” at Palomino:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock