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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"Good Hearted Woman" (1976)

Nelson and Jennings, two good-timing men if there ever were, had perfect timing when they dropped this duet in 1976. The "duet" was a bit of an illusion, however, as Jennings had already released the song in 1972, but overdubbing Nelson's vocals and some fake crowd noise gave "Good Hearted Woman" some extra pep, and it was added to Wanted: The Outlaws! The song dated back seven years to when Jennings came up with it over a poker game, inspired by an ad for Ike & Tina Turner, with Nelson's then-wife Connie Koepke writing down the lyrics as they played. (The Turners, ironically, split up for good after a fight in Dallas in '76.) The new version went on to top the country charts and crack Billboard’s Top 40, while Wanted became country's first platinum album – pushing Waylon and Willie and the boys once and for all into the mainstream.

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