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This was written on the spur of the moment in a meeting between Nelson and the producer of the movie Honeysuckle Rose. The producer asked Nelson to write a song for the movie. When Nelson asked the producer to clarify his request, the producer asked for a song about traveling. Nelson suggested something that started with the line "On the road again." The producer nodded his head in support and Nelson ad-libbed the rest of the song before he got out of his chair.
This was one of three songs sung by the bird in Jerry Reed's 1982 album The Bird. The other two were "Whiskey River" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today." (thanks Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 2)
Nelson starred in the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose, which this was written for. The movie was not a big success.
This was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1980. Willie was bested by Irene Cara's "Fame." Willie did win a Grammy for this in 1980 for Best Country Song. (thanks, Crystal - Springfield, MO)
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