Willie Nelson Once Cut Off His Iconic Red Braids And Gifted Them To Waylon Jennings For Getting Sober

Willie Nelson Waylon Jennings
Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Few artists have an appearance as recognizable as Willie Nelson.

Although he was clean cut early in his career, his looks began to change after he left the Nashville scene and went down to Austin, Texas in 1972.

That’s where he adopted the style we all know him for: Bandana, marijuana, and long red hair tied in braids.

But Willie isn’t one of those guys who hasn’t cut his hair since Nam, although a trim is few an far between and he caused quite a media whirlwind with a new style in 2010, but it was back in 1983 that the hairdo was snipped for the first time, and for a good reason.

Johnny Cash was throwing a party for Waylon Jennings to celebrate one year of sobriety for the former hard-living country legend. When country artists realize they have a substance problem, it’s typically with alcohol, but not for Waylon. He was proud of the fact that he didn’t really drink. His issue was with cocaine.

But Waylon was able to quit cold turkey and kick the habit, which was cause for a major celebration.

Willie Nelson was on tour when this party was thrown, but he made sure a very special gift was delivered to Waylon by his then-wife Connie.

For the first noted time, Willie had cut off his iconic braids (which were still red at this time) and sent them to Waylon. A strange gift for sure, but according to Jessi Colter, he loved it.

She told USA Today:

“She (Connie Nelson) brought the braids from Willie, who was on tour. It just tickled Waylon.”

The story of these braids doesn’t end there, though.

In 2014, those very same locks of hair went up for auction in Arizona and were sold for $37,000. The proceeds were donated to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.

A friendship with another star can be one of the closest relationships celebrities can have, given not many people know what it’s like being in the spotlight, and it seems Waylon and Willie really had each other’s back.

And what’s the point of having a good friend if you can’t give each other a weird gift that benefits sick children 40 years later?

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock