On the Road Again

Album: Honeysuckle Rose (1980)
Charted: 20

Songfacts®:

  • This was written on the spur of the moment on an airsickness bag when Nelson was on a plane with Jerry Schatzberg, the director of the movie Honeysuckle Rose and its executive producer Sydney Pollack. He recalled to Uncut magazine: "They were looking for songs for the movie and they asked me if I had any idea. I said, 'What do you want the song to say?' and Sydney said, 'Can it be something about being on the road?' It just started to click. I said 'You mean like, On the road again, I can't wait to get on the road again?; They said, 'That's great. What's the melody?' I said, 'I don't know yet.'"
  • This was a #1 Country hit for Willie Nelson, and also one of his biggest crossovers, reaching #20 on the Hot 100, his highest placing at the time. As a writer, Nelson crossed over with the Patsy Cline hit "Crazy," which reached #9 on the Hot 100 in 1961 and even reached the UK singles chart, placing at #14. He had many other hits as a writer, but his biggest hit as an artist is a song he didn't write: "Always On My Mind," which reached #5 in 1982 and sold over a million copies.
  • Nelson starred in the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose, for which this was written. The movie was not a big success.
  • A very lame joke for you: Did you hear Willie Nelson got hit by a car? Yeah, he was playing on the road again.

    Nelson heard variations of this one many times; he said it was funny "for a few years."
  • 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 "On the Road Again" in 1980 for Best Country Song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Crystal - Springfield, MO
  • This was #72 in RIAA's Songs of the Century, a list of the top 365 songs of the 20th century with historical significance in mind.
  • 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."
  • Nelson put off writing the melody for months until the day before he went to the studio to cut the song. "I saw no reason to put a melody to something I wasn't ready to record," he explained in his 1988 autobiography, Willie. "I knew I wouldn't have any problem pulling the melody out of the air."

Comments: 8

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 31st 1980, "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #78; and on November 2nd, 1980 it peaked at #20 {for 2 weeks} and also spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on the day it peaked at #20 on the Top 100 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
    It was the sixth of twenty-three Number One records that he has had on the Hot Country Singles chart; twelve have been solo efforts and eleven were duets {three were with Waylon Jennings}…
    In 1968 the group Canned Heat released a completely different record titled "On the Road Again"; it peaked at #16 on the Top 100...
    'The Red Headed Stranger' will celebrate his 82nd birthday this coming April 29th {2015}.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxLoved that 'Bird' song. Reed impersontated Nelson so well that I thought it was really him singing 'The life I love is makin' money with my friends...'
  • Alma from Laredo, TxI'm surprised that the song, "Crazy" originally sang by Patsy Cline is not in this category. This is one of his best written songs.
  • Frank from Arizona, AzI have lyrics hand written from a Joe J Henderson and some other music he's written. One was on the road again. Does anyone know of this writer?
  • Bob from Roseville, CoDyan Cannon was correct.
  • Dennis from Anchorage, AkBack when this song was a hit, it gave rise to a joke:

    "I hear that Willy Nelson's been killed." "What? How did it happen?" "Well, apparently he was playing on the road again..."
  • Faruna from Shanghai, ChinaThis song also appeared in Forrest Gump
  • Deana from Indianapolis, InDyan Cannon thought Honeysuckle Rose was a success
see more comments

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