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Willie Nelson To Headline Marijuana-Legalization Festival in Austin

August 9, 2007 12:06 PM ET

If you're looking to do a little charity work in your spare time, perhaps you should consider becoming a marijuana-legalization activist. You can start tomorrow, by attending the Austin Freedom Fest, a pot-promoting charity concert organized by (who else) Willie Nelson, a totally authentic rock star who pulled off a collaboration with Jessica Simpson while retaining every ounce of his cool and, of course, got busted for toting around several pounds of drugs. Nelson is headlining the festival, all proceeds from which will benefit four marijuana-policy-reform groups that seek to stop the war on drugs. "I'd like to see it taxed and regulated and looked upon as nothing more or less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes," Nelson said. The seventy-five-year-old rocker no longer smokes cigarettes or drinks alcohol but challenges anyone who claims the pot he's been smoking for fifty years has made him stupid. "I do a two-hour show every night and remember forty or fifty songs," the singer said. "So I challenge anyone out there [to remember them as well as I do]. You might tie it, but I doubt you can beat it."

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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