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2    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson is considered a music legend and an
3American icon whose music and advocacy has entertained and
4inspired Illinoisans for five decades; and
5    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson started his musical education at age
6six by studying mail-order music guides given to him by his
7grandparents; he wrote his first song at seven and played in a
8local Texas band two years later; Willie later joined his
9brother-in-law's band as its frontman; and
10    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington
11where he recorded Leon Payne's "Lumberjack"; the song was
12plugged on the air, resulting in sales of 3,000; after the sale
13of "Family Bible," which became a hit for Claude Gray in 1960,
14Nelson moved to Nashville to try his luck in the country music
15industry; and
16    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson's music demos were initially met
17with rejection by recording companies, but he tirelessly
18persevered; during this time, he wrote songs performed by other
19musicians, including "Crazy," which became a Top Ten pop
20crossover smash, and "Funny How Time Slips Away," which became
21a Top 40 country hit; and



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1    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson grew frustrated with the Nashville
2music industry and retired to Austin, Texas; there, Nelson
3realized that country music was popular with young rock fans as
4well as the traditional country audience; he began performing
5again, shedding the Nashville sound for a rock-and-roll
6influenced outlaw country style; 1973's Shotgun Willie
7evidenced Nelson's new musical style that defied the forms of
8the Nashville music industry; and
9    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson gained complete creative control
10over his music when he signed with Columbia Records in 1975;
11"The Red Headed Stranger," his first album for Columbia, became
12a huge hit; for the next five years, Nelson consistently
13appeared on both the country and pop charts; and
14    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson's most successful year was 1978,
15when he charted his first duet album with Waylon Jennings; this
16collaboration spawned the popular song "Mammas Don't Let Your
17Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"; that same year, Nelson also
18released "Stardust," an album spanning jazz, pop, country, and
19folk styles and which spent almost ten years in the country
20charts; and
21    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson continued to produce hits,
22including a cover of Elvis Presley's "Always on My Mind," which
23was a cross-over smash; "Always on My Mind," the album,



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1achieved quadruple-platinum status; and
2    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson goes beyond traditional country to
3blend together a diversity of styles, including pop, swing,
4jazz, honky tonk, rock & roll, folk, and the blues, into a
5distinctive musical hybrid; most recently, Nelson joined with
6jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and singer-songwriter Norah
7Jones to pay musical tribute to the legendary Ray Charles with
8the album "Here We Go Again"; and
9    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson has won major recognition for his
10music, including 10 Grammys, 7 American Music Awards, and 9
11Country Music Awards; he was inducted into the Country Music
12Hall of Fame in 1993 and, on June 23, 2010, the Library of
13Congress's National Recording Registry; and
14    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson branched out into film with
15appearances in such movies as "The Electric Horseman" and
16"Honeysuckle Rose"; for the latter movie's soundtrack, Nelson
17wrote and performed what would become one of his signature
18songs, "On the Road Again"; and
19    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson has been involved in countless
20humanitarian causes, including raising funds for the victims of
21natural disasters and disease and working towards peace among
22all peoples and nations; and



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1    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson worked with the State of Illinois
2and performers John Mellencamp and Neil Young to organize the
3first Farm Aid concert to increase awareness about the loss of
4family farms and raise funds to keep farm families on their
5land; the first Farm Aid concert was held on September 22, 1985
6at Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Illinois
7in Champaign; during its existence, Farm Aid has raised more
8than $37 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm
9system of agriculture; and
10    WHEREAS, Willie Nelson was a regular performer at the
11Illinois State Fair, most recently in 2001; fairgoers would
12famously enjoy "Chili with Willie" as stipulated by Nelson in
13his State fair contract; and
14    WHEREAS, On June 11, 2011, Willie Nelson is once again on
15the minds of Illinoisans as he performs at the World Shooting
16and Recreational Complex in Sparta as part of his Country
17Throwdown tour; therefore, be it
20we designate June 11, 2011 as "Willie Nelson Day" in the State
21of Illinois; and be it further



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1    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
2delivered to Willie Nelson as a symbol of our respect and