Willie Nelson turned 82 years old last month, spending his birthday in Maui with friends and family. Twenty-two years earlier, though, he threw a considerably bigger party for himself back home in Texas.
In April 1993, Nelson celebrated his 60th birthday in style, watching luminaries like Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, Neil Young, B.B. King, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt and Waylon Jennings cover his songs. The party was held at Austin’s WRLU Studios, with everyone from President Bill Clinton to Roseanne Barr joining Shotgun Willie in the audience. Nelson didn’t always stay seated, though; more often than not, he wound up onstage, duetting with his friends on some of the songs that had sustained his career.
One of the evening’s highlights was “Seven Spanish Angels,” a chart-topping song Nelson had recorded with Ray Charles in 1984. Nearly a decade later, the two pals sang it once again in Austin, both of them swapping verses before harmonizing during the final chorus.
Broadcast 22 years ago today under the title Willie Nelson: The Big Six-O, the birthday tribute was taped on April 28th. For those keeping track, that means it wasn’t Nelson’s actual 60th birthday — that milestone didn’t arrive until the following day, April 29th.