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Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2014: Willie Nelson

It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when Willie Nelson was not an American icon.

In the early '70s, Nelson was best-known for writing hits for other people. The Abbott, Texas native had a successful career as a Nashville songwriter ("Crazy," "Hello Walls," "Night Life," etc.) but had not yet achieved recognition under his own name. In 1974 all that would change. With the release of 1973's Shotgun Willie and 1974's Phases and Stages, two imaginative and successful LPs, the stage was set for his career to take off.

Then on October 17, 1974, Willie and his Family band entered Studio 6A to record the pilot for Austin City Limits. Broadcast as part of the national pledge drive in March 1975, the show was one of the top programs on PBS that year, securing a future for ACL as a series.

Willie has appeared on the show 16 times, with six headlining slots (most recently in 2009), seven songwriters specials and three guest appearances with Johnny Rodriguez, Roger Miller and Asleep at the Wheel. Not only is he the artist who launched Austin City Limits, he's also one of our most frequent - and favorite - guests.

For more, visit: http://www.acltv.com/hall-of-fame/
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