Willie Nelson wrote his first song at 7 years old. Now he’s one of the music world’s true ‘hitmakers’ – and an outlaw country icon with a unique guitar style

Willie Nelson
(Image credit: Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

You may not realise it, but Willie Nelson is one of the music world’s true ‘hitmakers’, the legendary songwriter behind Patsy Cline’s Crazy, and many more. A performer in his own right, he has been crafting hits for over 60 years. 

Nelson started his career as a songwriter and DJ in Texas in the late 1950s, and while he found success early on it’s almost unbelievable to think several major country artists had already turned down Crazy, a track Nelson wrote in 1961 while he was still struggling in the music industry. 

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Stuart Ryan

Stuart Ryan is best known for his acoustic guitar playing, from Celtic fingerpicking and traditional folk to modern percussive phrasing and fresh interpretations of popular pieces. He has released several solo albums, written pieces for UK examination boards and created nine tutorial books ranging from acoustic guitar arrangements to Americana styles.