44 Years Ago: Willie Nelson Releases ‘Red Headed Stranger’

Lost Western flick Red Headed Stranger never made it to DVD. Following a limited national release in 1986, the onscreen adaptation of Willie Nelson’s groundbreaking album by the same name isn’t on.

Red Headed Stranger is his finest album & it epitomizes this trait. Out of the 11 songs on the LP, Nelson wrote only 4 of them & none of them are a complete song in a traditional sense: "Time Of The Preacher" is broken up into themes, "Blue Rock Montana" & "Denver" are little more than 1-minute sketches that set the scene for the story, & the closing "Bandera" is an instrumental.

Willie hugh nelson (born april 29, 1933) is an American musician, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album shotgun willie (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.

Willie Nelson’s commercial breakthrough as a performer, Red Headed Stranger, is a suite-like collection of tunes (consisting mainly of covers), most of which are in the same key and played with the same musical approach.Nelson, as an arranger, composer, and performer, has always been interested in Texas country swing, drawn largely from the influence of Bob Wills, which is a style that fuses.

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Red Headed Stranger is a song written by Edith Lindeman and Carl Stutz, published in 1953. Originally written for Perry Como, the song was not recorded by him due to publishing issues. In 1954, Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith released a version of the song on MGM Records that received good radio play. Country singer-songwriter Willie Nelson performed the song at the time of its original release for children at bedtime on his show, The Western Express. In 1974, inspired by his then-wife Connie Koepk

Another classic for Willie, the set-up to his absolute masterpiece red-headed Stranger. I cannot stress how incredible Willie Nelson is on these records, this one and Shotgun Willie and Stranger, his signature melding of country and jazz and rock original and timeless.

Loosely based on Nelson’s chart-topping 1975 concept album, "Red Headed Stranger" was written and directed by Bill Wittliff, who died last week of a heart attack at age 79. This will be the first-ever screening of a digital version made from the original film print that event co-producers Luck Productions and Rolling Roadshow recently located.

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