Today, we have another collection of songs for beginner guitar players to learn – we’re covering easy Willie Nelson songs on guitar.
Before we get into the song list, let me introduce you to Willie Nelson.
Willie Nelson, the famous American songwriter, and guitarist was born on April 29, 1933, in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. He was one of the most popular country music singers of the 20th century. Nelson’s grandfather was the one who taught him a guitar and by the age of 10, started performing at local dances.
He served in the U.S. Air Force during the 1950s in Texas, Oregon, and California. Later on, he became a disc jockey and during that period he also wrote songs and performed in public.
In 1961, Willie played bass in Ray Price’s band. Price was among the dozens of popular singers to achieve hit records with Nelson’s 1960s tunes, which included “Hello Walls,” “Night Life,” “Funny How Time Slips Away,” and, most famous, “Crazy.” Nelson was admitted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993. He also accepted the Kennedy Center Honor in 1998, and in 2015 he was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Willie Nelson’s songs are well-known among people and are very easy to play. If you are a beginner at playing guitar, this is a perfect choice for you. So, today we embarked on a journey to present you with a list of the best and easy Willie Nelson’s songs on guitar.
Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
This is a country song, first recorded by Ed Bruce and written by him and his wife on November 15, 1975. Later on, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings covered the song in 1978 for their duet album Waylon & Willie. Their version of the song reached 42 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It is one of Willie’s easiest songs to be played on guitar.
Georgia on My Mind
Georgia on My Mind was originally written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell and first recorded by Hoagy Carmichael in the year 1930. Willie Nelson recorded his version of the song on ‘stardust’ and appeared in his 1978 album of standards. It was released as a single and for a single week peaked at number 1, and ranked sixteen weeks on the country charts.
The song ‘Whiskey River’ was co-written and recorded by Johny Rush, an American country music singer. Willie Nelson first recorded this song for his 1973 album ‘Shotgun Willie’. A recording from Nelson’s live album Willie and Family Live was released as a single through Columbia Records and despite not being a Nelson original, Whiskey River was recognized as his signature song in 1978.
On the Road Again
The song ‘On the Road Again’ is written and sung by Willie Nelson himself. This song is about life on tour. The idea of the song came to him in 1980, when he took his first leading role in the film ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and the executive director approached him to write a song for the film’s soundtrack. This song became Nelson’s 9th Country & Western No.1 hit and became one of his most recognizable tunes.
Angel Flying too Close to the Ground
This is another song from the film ‘Honeysuckle Rose’. Angel Flying too close to the ground was written and performed by Willie Nelson. It was released on the Honeysuckle Rose soundtrack in 1980 and later in January 1981 released as the soundtrack’s second single. This song became his seventh number one on the country chart and stayed at number one for one week, and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the country chart.
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
This song was written by Sharon Vaughn and recorded by Waylon Jennings for his 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws was further popularized by Willie Nelson when he released it as a single on the soundtrack to The Electric Horseman in 1980. Nelson’s version of this song was the fifth number one on the country chart and stayed at number one for two weeks and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the country chart.
Always on My Mind
Always on my mind is Willie Nelson’s 27th studio album. This album was the Billboard number one country album of the year for 1982 and stayed on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts for 253 weeks. It is one of the easiest Willie Nelson songs to play on guitar.
Bloody Mary Morning
This song was written and recorded by Willie Nelson himself. Nelson said that his inspiration for this song was his struggles to become a better parent. This song was originally released in 1970 but RCA records Nelson’s tenth album, Both Sides Now, with the title ‘Bloody Mary Morning’. This song also became a part of his concept album Phases and Stages, however, the meaning of the song was changed by the context of the album. The theme of the song changed to a man who is left by his woman.
Good Hearted Women
The song Good Hearted Women is written by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Originally Jennings sang this song for the first time as the title track of his 1972 album Good Hearted Woman. Later in 1975, Jennings presented a remixed version of the song by adding Nelson’s vocals. This version of the song was recorded for the album “Wanted: The Outlaws”. Good Hearted Women peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles and number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
A Song for You
This song was originally written and recorded by Leon Russell for his first solo album, which was released in 1970. This song peaked at number 29 on the adult contemporary chart and number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. One of the most notable cover versions of this song is Willie Nelson’s. He sang a solo acoustic guitar version of this song for his album ‘Shotgun Willie’. He also performed this song for his 1980 movie ‘Honeysuckle Rose’.
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
The song ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ was written by Fred Rose and originally sung by Roy Acuff. This song was covered by many artists but the most notable one is by Willie Nelson. He sang this song for his 1975 album ‘Red Headed Stranger’, this album revived Nelson’s success and became one of the most iconic in country music history. Willie also did a live version of this song with Shania Twain. It was also included in Nelson’s 2003 live album Live & Kickin’: Willie Nelson and Friends.
Seven Spanish Angels
This song was written by Eddie Setser and Troy Seals. Ray Charles recorded this song as a duet with Willie Nelson. Charles and Nelson split the verses and Ray Charles released this as a single for his album Friendship in 1984, Nelson also included this in his 1985 compilation album, Half Nelson. This song was the most successful of Charles’ eight hits on the country chart and it spent one week at number one and a total of twelve weeks on the country chart.
Heaven is Closed
This song is from Willie Nelson’s sixty-seventh solo studio album ‘Last Man Standing’, which was released on April 27, 2018, by Legacy Recordings. This album was highly praised by critics and received a rating of 84 based on 11 critics from Metacritic. The album in its debut week ranked No. 3 on Billboard’s Top Country Album chart and sold a further 8,700 copies in the second week.
Roll Me and Smoke Me When I Die
The song ‘Roll Me and Smoke Me When I Die’ is in Willie Nelson’s album ‘Heroes’ from 2012. This song is written by Buddy Cannon, Rich Alves, John Colgin, Mike McQuerry, and Willie Nelson himself. It features the vocals of Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, and Jamey Johnson.
Nothing I Can Do About It Now
This song was released in April 1989 as a single from the album ‘A Horse Called Music. It is written by Beth Nielsen Chapman and recorded by Willie Nelson. It was Nelson’s fourteenth number-one single on the Country Singles chart and it spent one week at number one and a total of fifteen weeks on the chart.
That’s it for easy Willie Nelson songs on Guitar
We hope this song list gives you some idea of songs you, as a beginner guitar player, can learn to play. So, go out there and start learning and playing.
Other easy songs on guitar
Here are some other easy songs you can learn and play on guitar.
Josh is the founder and main author of Songwriter Nation. He has played music for over twenty years and even studied music at university earning a minor in music.