Willie Nelson Playing Acoustic Songs On The Floor Of Darrell Royal’s Living Room In 1973 Is The Coolest Thing You’ll Watch All Day

Willie Nelson country music
Vintage Willie Nelson

An almost unrecognizable Willie Nelson.

It was in year 1972 that Willie officially moved back to Texas, following a stint in Nashville where he saw some success as a writer, but wasn’t getting where he wanted to be as a solo artist.

He moved his family back to his home state, grew out grew out his hair and beard, and became the outlaw legend we all know and love today. Along with his friend Waylon Jennings, they pioneered the country outlaw movement in Austin, Texas, and gave us some of the greatest music that’s ever existed (even though Waylon was hesitant at first).

And while back home in the Lone Star state, Willie became close friends with Darrell Royal, legendary head coach from the University of Texas. Royal was at the helm for the school’s first three national championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970, won or shared 11 Southwest Conference championships, and made 16 bowl appearances.

Willie and Royal became such good friends, in fact, that Royal paid $117,350 for Willie’s Pedernales Country Club (a golf course and recording studio he owned), after it was seized by the IRS due to Nelson’s tax debt, so he wouldn’t lose it for good.

And earlier today, I came across an incredible video that features Willie pre-braids playing acoustic guitar on the floor at Royal’s birthday party at his house on July 6th, 1973, just two days after Willie’s very first 4th of July picnic.

He plays two of his (now) biggest hits and fan-favorites, “Good Hearted Woman” and “Whiskey River,” for what’s seemingly some of Royal’s family and friends at the party. It’s such a cool, raw moment from right before Willie became a massive star which makes it so much more special.

Willie seems like one of the rare icons who truly has no big ego attached to him, and he seems the same here playing on the floor of a living room in the early 70’s as he does at any other massive venue with thousands of screaming fans today. He’s just as real as they come.

And in addition to becoming an iconic football coach, that Darrell Royal had taste… legends recognize legends, or something like that, right?

Do yourself a favor and check it out:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock