There are many celebrities that we’re used to seeing on Television but have no idea what they were like before their careers took off.
Seeing a favorite singer or actor before they became household names gives us a completely different appreciation for their talent, dedication to the craft and journey to stardom.
There’s a rare footage circling the internet that gives fans a glimpse into the iconic country singer Willie Nelson’s early days as a performer before the bandannas, braided hair and marijuana campaigns.
The video is from Nelson’s appearance on The Porter Wagoner Show in 1965, a programme that helped boost the careers of many country artists like Dolly Parton. Nelson was asked by Wagoner to perform the song that made him a “really big artist” and he certainly did not disappoint.
A 29-year-old Nelson looked unrecognizable donning a suit and tie with a clean-shaven face and short hair. He delivered a live rendition of “Hello Walls,” which he penned but was originally recorded by Faron Young.
Continue onto the next page to watch Willie Nelson’s incredible performance.
There was no doubt that Nelson had what it took to become a star after this performance, after all it earned him comparisons to country crooners like Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell. He was even invited back to the show by Wagoner.
However, what most people didn’t expect was Nelson’s move from Nashville to Austin, where he ditched the suits for long locks and a beard, switched his musical style and eventually became the prolific artist we know today as the “King of Outlaw Country.”
“When I got into the country music scene in Nashville, we all got dressed up in the moody suits and rhinestones and boots and hats, and we all looked the same,” Nelson said. “When years later I first started growing my hair long and beading it and wearing the bandanna, Eddie Arnold, a great singer from Nashville, met me backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and said with a grin: ‘I know what you’re up to.’”
Even at the age of 84, Nelson continues to be one of the most celebrated musicians in the world proving that he definitely knew what he was up to when he decided to make that drastic image change.
Watch the rare clip of Nelson’s The Porter Wagoner Show performance below and get transported back to the good ol’ days when talent was essential to a rising star’s success.
What do you think of Willie Nelson’s original look?