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YouTube Gold: Willie Nelson Sings Blue Skies

With a surprise sit-in bass player

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson performs on stage, New York, 1980.
Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

Willie Nelson is a national treasure. He started off in Nashville and early on showed his genius with “Crazy,” a song that Patsy Cline made immortal.

But he didn’t fit in Nashville and ultimately went back home to Texas where he truly found his voice.

Since the 1970s, Nelson has first revolutionized country music and after he did that, started reinterpreting the Great American Song Book.

Here he does his version of the Erving Berlin classic Blue Skies. The late Kenny Rogers takes a turn at bass too.

But he’s never stopped doing new stuff either. One of his later great songs is called Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die. The recorded version features several people, including his bud Snoop Dog.

They bonded over their mutual love of weed and Snoop says that Willie is the only person who could ever outsmoke him. Toby Keith says he’ll never smoke with Nelson again.

He’s had to give up smoking lately for his health and honestly he’s not looking too good and probably won’t be with us much longer. But his music will endure.