Willie Nelson: 20 Essential Songs

From the signature ballad he wrote for Patsy Cline to his love letter to life on the road

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"Funny How Time Slips Away" (1962)

One of Nelson's earliest songs, "Funny How Time Slips Away" was written during the same week as "Crazy" and "Night Life." Nearly a half-dozen artists have turned the song into a Top 40 hit since then, including soul artist Joe Hinton, rockabilly singer Narvel Felts and teen idol Jimmy Elledge. Even so, Nelson's own delivery always packed the biggest punch, with lines like "It's been so long. . .but it seems now that it was only yesterday" taking on new meaning as Nelson grew older, outliving close friends like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings along the way. Originally a ballad about a short-lived relationship, it's grown into something bigger: a textbook example of the sort of ageless songwriting that exists long past its maker.

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