Shotgun Willie

Album: Shotgun Willie (1973)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The tale behind the title of Willie Nelson's Shotgun Willie album is an interesting one. The story goes that Nelson's daughter, Susie, told him that her sister Lana was being abused by her husband, Paul Warren. Nelson drove to Lana's house, where he fought with Warren, and threatened to kill him if he ever hit his daughter again. Soon after Nelson arrived home, Warren arrived in his truck with his brothers and they started to shoot at his house. Nelson and his drummer, Paul English, retaliated with their own rifles, causing the aggressors to surrender and earning Nelson the nickname of 'Shotgun Willie.'
  • Nelson wrote the lyrics for the song that would become the title track whilst sat on the toilet in the bathroom of the hotel that he was staying at whilst recording the album. He scribbled them on the empty packaging of a sanitary napkin.
  • Not everyone was a fan of this song. In his 1988 autobiography, Willie, Nelson recalled Kris Kristofferson calling the tune "mind farts." Nelson added, "Maybe so, but I thought of it more as clearing my throat."

    Kristofferson often joined Nelson at "guitar pulling" sessions where songwriters would gather to critique each other's work. "You might say it's like a bunch of Old West gunfights coming together to see who is best - only instead of slapping their holsters and coming up with six-guns blazing, they unsnap their guitar cases and come up singing," he explained.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New York

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Amy Grant

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

Boy Bands

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Stephen Christian of Anberlin

Stephen Christian of AnberlinSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist for Anberlin breaks down "Impossible" and covers some tracks from their 2012 album Vital.

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.