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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"Hello Walls" (1962)

Willie Nelson was so broke in 1961 that he offered to sell "Hello Walls" to Faron Young for $500. Young had already recorded the song, though, and "Hello Walls" – a tragicomedy about a man who's so lonely that he speaks to his own bedroom – was on its way to becoming a hit. Knowing a big payday was on the horizon, Young loaned him the $500 instead, allowing Nelson to keep the publishing rights. Less than two months later, while "Hello Walls" was enjoying a nine-week run at Number One, Nelson received a $20,000 royalty check. Elated, he headed to Faron's favorite honky-tonk to express his thanks with some surprise PDA. "I was sitting at Tootsie's," Young recalls in the biography Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story, "and this big hairy arm came around my neck, and Willie french-kissed me. . .It's probably the best kiss I ever had."

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