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It's a Long Story: My Life

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  6,192 ratings  ·  890 reviews
The definitive autobiography of Willie Nelson

"Unvarnished. Funny. Leaving no stone unturned."

. . . So say the publishers about this book I've written.

What I say is that this is the story of my life, told as clear as a Texas sky and in the same rhythm that I lived it.

It's a story of restlessness and the purity of the moment and living right. Of my childhood in Abbott, T
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company
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Lisa It is about living right if you are Willie, but his right may not be what others consider right.

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Diane S ☔
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019
I wasn't always a Willie Nelson fan, though I did know who he was, what he sang. This changed over 30 years when I first saw him perform in Farm-aid. It was a cause close to my heart and since my husband was a huge devotee of his music, I too listened to his music. The Highwaymen and their music, which I loved, close the deal. I knew, though, few facts about his life. His pot smoking, his troubles with the IRS, other vague items. In this book I learned much more.

He is a complicated person, like
I enjoyed this narration of Willie Nelson's autobiography! I'm not a fan of most country music, but I find Willie to be an interesting man full of contradictions, so this audio book appealed to me.
I learned a lot about Willie and his life, much of which I did not know. For instance, Willie is a very spiritual man. (Despite this spirituality, he has had a difficult time being a faithful husband. There's one of those contradictions I mentioned above.) He loves and practices martial arts. He wrot
I love music, but I usually find music books dry and boring. There are exceptions. Keith Richards Life is one, in part due to the fact that Richards' own distinctive voice is always there throughout the book. Willie Nelson also has one of the most distinctive voices out there, and that's what you'll find in his book. But Willie has lived a long life (much longer than the indestructible Rolling Stone), and I found as I got closer to the present that Willie was having to cover a lot of ground, and ...more
Steven Walle
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book all about Willy Nelson's life. It is a very humorous account. It is also very touching in places.

Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I almost didn't think I was going to finish this. It started off strong, but really started dragging for me just waiting for Willie's career to start taking off. He seems to have hit his stride when he was much older, but the book doesn't go into too much detail. This is more like a memoir and not an autobiography. There's a lot of reminiscing going on as opposed to a more linear narrative of his life and career.

Despite all that, Willie comes across as such a likable guy. He has lived a good lif
Fred Shaw
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Willie Nelson, My Life, It’s a Long Story is an autobiography written by Willie Nelson. This is the audiobook version by Hatchette Group. The narrator is Christopher Ryan Grant.

I have always loved Willie Nelson‘s music but I knew nothing about the man. Now I do. The image I had of Willie was that of a carousing, whiskey drinking partier and last of all, a singer. I couldn’t of been more wrong. Willie Nelson is a poet, an artist, songwriter and musician, entertainer, business man and philanthrop
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
“When it’s on us, seems like the storm will never pass. But it always does.”

I’m not some massive Willie Nelson fan, but I enjoyed the hell out of his story. Prior to this, I was not familiar with his early career at all. I didn’t realize he was such a prolific songwriter. His long career and tumultuous personal life are definitely worth your time. It will surprise no one that he’s an amazing storyteller.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok

There’s a great story in the life and times of country crooner, Willie Nelson. After all, in this rebel’s 82 years there have been wild fights, habitual drug use/ heavy drinking and extensive infidelity; as well as writing some of the most beloved and enduring songs in music history.

Unfortunately this great story is not told in his new autobiography: It’s a Long Story: My Life. Like two mobsters aimlessly straying into the wooded and snow-covered Pine Barrens of South Jersey, all the interestin
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars. This was a fantastic read! I listened to this on audiblebooks and I love the way it was done. It also included a PDF file with extra pictures. I'm glad Willie Nelson wrote his own life story so that all the facts were in his own words just the way he remembers all of them. In his 80's now, he has lived a long, full music filled life with his large family and many acquired good friends and wanted to share all his experiences with everyone. I'm glad he did it "his" way, the same way he al ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book details American singer-songwriter Willie Nelson's life, starting with his upbringing in Abbott, Texas, followed by his start as a musician and his progression on the business from a becoming a famed songwriter to his transition to stardom. I loved this book. As I've been a BIG fan of Willie for a very long time...even more so now. Love the guy, and I know that he doesn't

Initially titled I Didn't Come Here and I Ain't Leaving: The Autobiography of Willie Nelson, the book was co-written
Billy O'Callaghan
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's a line in an old Merle Haggard song, 'Footlights', that could almost have been written with Willie Nelson in mind: “I live the kind of life most men only dream of / I make my living writing songs, and singing them.”
Willie, of course, needs no introduction. His face and loose-living image is known the world over, and his songs have become anthems for the lovelorn and dispossessed, delivered straight to the listener's heart in that utterly distinctive and expressive baritone, the very de
Book Concierge
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Digital audiobook read by Christopher Ryan Grant.

Oh, Willie! I’ve had a long-standing crush on the “red-headed stranger” and am glad to have learned more about him, because I like him even more now.

Willie lays it all out there. He talks about his childhood and the importance of church and faith in his upbringing. He talks about the poems he began writing when he was still in grade school, and how music filled his soul and helped him express himself. He talked about family and yet tried to maint
Robyn Wright
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love to listen to anything he has to say.
Rex Fuller
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Willie Nelson published this autobiography when he was 82. He didn’t exactly say when he wrote it. Which is something of a mystery because, even now five years later, he is still touring with something like a hundred and fifty show dates a year; writing and recording songs; putting together and releasing two albums a year; parenting six (now grown) children; smoking weed and campaigning for legalizing it; playing poker and dominoes; practicing martial arts; spending time at his ranch west of Aus ...more
Rod Horncastle
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I've always been a musical fan. And I love his guitar playing.

Willie shared a LOT with us: from Old buddies to failed marriages and tax nastiness. It's all in here.
It was great to hear Willie go through most of his albums and their creation. He even mentioned my two fav's "Milk Cow blues" and "Two Men With The Blues (with Wynton Marsalis)". And an awesome gig he did with Norah Jones and Wyton "Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles.

Other than music, I wouldn't look to Willie fo
Pete daPixie
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'My Life: It's a Long Story' is a short read, but one I really liked. I have previously read 'The Outlaw', a biography by Graeme Thomson. 'My Life' described as the definitive autobiography of Willie Nelson, ('Willie: An Autobiography' has previously hit the bookshelves) is the authentic voice of the man, now in his eighties and still hitting the road.
The book flows like a taped, no holds barred narration of his life that has then been put into book form by David Ritz. However I really enjoyed t
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Willie has always been around my life. Growing up he was always on the radio and my mom really liked his music---especially "On The Road Again". She sang that song around the house quite a bit. With that being said, inside "It's a Long Story" you get a sense of how Willie Nelson struggled to get noticed, much less famous. He's a strong willed man, a stubborn one, who lets nothing get in the way of the goals he has for himself. Interesting to read how some of his songs came to be, interesting to ...more
Melissa McCauley
Reading this book is like sitting down and hanging out with Willie Nelson and listening to him spin tales about his life. I have no idea how factual or historically accurate it is, but Willie’s love of music, family and people are the main themes. He admits to all the mistakes he’s made in his life and recounts some crazy adventures over the years.

I have been a casual fan all of my life, and it was fascinating to hear about the origins of many of my favorite songs. And I had no idea that Willie
Guy Choate
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I've never been a huge fan of Willie, but I've always thought well of him. But then I inherited a record collection that included Stardust, Red Headed Stranger, and Waylon & Willie, which of course made me a fan. He's an interesting dude with an interesting outlook that has resulted in an interesting life. This book was a bit of a history lesson in country music and it was one I probably needed. I knew most of the names mentioned in this book by public perception only and this book gives what I ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great music memoir and part of it is because Nelson has no bitterness and no axes to grind (even with the IRS!). It’s a positive and honest look back at his highs and lows. Lots of great stories. I love books that cause you to constantly stop and go listen to something in a new way, or for the first time. Recommended if you are already a fan of Willie.
My favorite parts -
- The man responsible for breaking him out of a Bahamian jail.
- How “Pancho and Lefty” got recorded.
- The way he describes
Susan Crowe
A very interesting view of Willie's life from his eyes. Some parts were a little boring. it got a little slow going during the years he was getting started. I can imagine it was rough for Willie too. I'm not sure if this would be an interesting book if you weren't a fan of Willie's though. I've read/listened to some memoirs that made me a fan of that person. I don't think this would be one of those. ...more
Mike Sumner
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Roll me up and smoke me when I die Yes, I've got the t-shirt!

I have loved Willie Nelson's music for longer than I can remember and in his 8th decade his voice has mellowed but still resonates with me (might be something to do with all the cannabis he has smoked though!). Willie Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor and activist. He was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, when he was sixty years of age.

My Life: It's a Long Story
Lesley Lucas
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oh, my.

As a Southern folk musician, it's hard not to love Willie. This book definitely makes it even harder.

He readily admits to being a bit of a dick, as he owns up to infidelity with all his romantic relationships spare for his last and current marriage. He definitely admits to being foolish and full of himself and wrong about a lot of things. But, he also attributes everything to honesty rather than pride or arrogance, and his perspective is refreshing.

There's a lot of great stories in thi
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
My dad was a Willie Nelson fan so I grew up hearing all the radio hits. When I saw Willie on The Daily Show, I figured I would give the book a shot.

"How does someone who smokes that much pot get so much done?"

I really had no idea of the scope of Nelson's work. He's been doing the music thing since he was just a little kid and is still doing it at 82. Over 60 albums, tours all the time, beat the IRS, 4 wives, many kids, pot advocate, Farm Aid, etc etc etc. How in the world
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
willie Nelson writes a very good memoir. He starts with his birth and being raised by his grandparents in Abbott Texas with his sister Bobbie. He was poor but happy showed talent at an early age.Mr.Nelson is very honest talking about his four marriages. He does not try to paint himself as perfect or blameless. Shares some of the lyrics from is songs and how he came about writing them. {my favorite is "Crazy"} Having to dig himself out of a huge IRS debt. and how he handled that. I was impressed ...more
~☆~Autumn♥♥☔ Wells
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Willie has such a positive outlook that this book was cheering for me in spite of the bad language. My husband is feeling very low right now due to having read another book by Lee Child so I think he should quit reading them. Its so nice to find a cheerful uplifting book especially these days when it seems that writers try hard to think of the most horrible thing they can write about to shock a person.

Willie has a very unusual positive outlook so I recommend this for everyone and especially if y
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but I was very disappointed. It felt very repetitive and I got bored of reading the same story for many chapters. Move here, try to make it, move on.... It felt like this book just skimmed the surface of Willie's life, and didn't actually touch on anything deep. Which is disappointing, because I think that would have really improved the story. Less about his career, and more personal stories. ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Do you have to be a big Willie Nelson fan to like this book? It helps, but absolutely not. This was one of the most fun reads I’ve had in years. Willie takes you on a wild ride that is his version of his life.
What’s this book about? Willie sums it up well: “It’s just the story of a picker from Hill County, Texas, who got more good breaks than bad and managed to keep from going crazy by staying close to the music of his heart.”
I read this with a country accent and/or Willie’s voice in my hea
Susan (aka Just My Op)
Written with David Ritz, this autobiography of Willie Nelson is as comforting and as comfortable as one of his ballads. It was a joy to read.

Written while he is in his 80s, he is as laid back and generous as I'd always thought. Even when things go wrong, he takes it in stride. He takes responsibility for his mistakes as quickly as he excuses other people for their mistakes. Forgiveness doesn't enter into the picture, because generally, he doesn't think there is anything to forgive.

Even raised by
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
"It's a long story. You'll probably never make it to the end. There's way too many words, way too many pages, too much time to stop and start again." Willie's book is really not that long but I did feel at times that I would never make it to the end. I'm glad I did. At times I did feel like I was listening to my grandpa tell me about the lotto numbers he played and how he almost hit two, which is not not necessarily a bad thing (I'd love to be able to sit with him again and listen and be "bored" ...more
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Willie Hugh Nelson is an American singer-songwriter and actor. He is widely regarded as one of the most beloved and notorious country music singers. He reached his greatest fame during the so-called "outlaw country" movement of the 1970s, but remains iconic, especially in American popular culture. In recent years he has continued to tour, record, and perform, and this, combined with activities in ...more

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