Willie Nelson Announces Book, ‘The Stories Behind My Songs’

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Willie Nelson has written a new book about the stories behind the lyrics of 160 of his favorite songs. The American icon, who turns 90 on April 29, has announced Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs, to be published on October 31, 2023, via William Morrow. The 384-page book, written with author David Ritz, will also include “a dynamic assortment of never-before-seen photos and ephemera.”

From the publisher’s announcement: From his earliest work in the 1950s to today, Willie looks back at the songs that have defined his career, from his days of earning $50 each to his biggest hits, from his less well-known songs (but incredibly meaningful to him) to his concept albums. Along the way, he also shares the stories of his guitar Trigger, his family and “family,” as well as the artists he collaborated with, including Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Dolly Parton, and many others.

Related: 14 great Willie Nelson collaborations

Willie is disarmingly honest—what do you have to lose when you’re about to turn 90?—meditating on the nature of songwriting and finding his voice, and the themes he’s explored his whole life—relationships, infidelity, love, loss, friendship, life on the road, and particularly poignant at this juncture of his life: mortality. The book’s title is also the name of a track on his 2022 LP, A Beautiful Time, the Grammy Award winner for Best Country Album.

Nelson is one of the most popular, prolific, and influential songwriters and singers in the history of American music. He has recorded more than one hundred albums over six decades, appeared in several films, and written two New York Times bestsellers: Willie: An Autobiography and The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes.

Ritz is the author of the acclaimed novels The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn and Blue Notes Under a Green Felt Hat. He is the only four-time winner of the Gleason Book of the Year Award. He’s also co-written the memoirs of many celebrities.

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