Album:The Classic Christmas Album
Willie Nelson has been a star for so long that music fans may not realize that he struggled for fifteen years to become a successful recording artist. Fortunately he was very successful as a songwriter with songs like Funny How Time Slips Away for Billy Walker, Crazy for Patsy Cline and Hello Walls for Faron Young. He also wrote Pretty Paper which is a Christmas perennial that was a hit for Roy Orbison in 1963. Nelson was born Apr. 29, 1933 in Abbott, TX. He was raised by his grandparents and grew up singing in church. Nelson would work day jobs and then would quit to pursue a music career. He first recorded in 1956. When the Nelson song Family Bible was a hit for Claude Gray in 1960, he moved to Nashville. He worked as a songwriter for a while and joined Ray Price's touring band. After Crazy was a smash hit, Nelson signed with Liberty Records. It didn't really work out. He recorded two albums for Liberty and Touch Me was his only top ten country hit. Meanwhile, Roy Orbison reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the Nelson song Pretty Paper in 1963. Nelson left Liberty for Monument Records which was Orbison's label. But only one single was released. A guaranteed salary lured Nelson to sign with RCA Records. Nelson recorded Pretty Paper and it was released as a single in late 1964. It was never on an album. According to veteran music writer Chet Flippo, Nelson was inspired to write Pretty Paper by a disabled man who sold pencils in front of a Fort Worth department store. Nelson recorded for RCA until 1974 with mixed success. His first number one country hit was Red Headed Stranger in 1975, his first single for Columbia Records. And as I have said before, Nelson got a big boost through the Outlaws movement led by Waylon Jennings. Nelson recorded the Christmas album Pretty Paper in 1979. Except for the title song, he records all Christmas standards. The album is available on CD but it's very short. So you're better off with The Classic Christmas Album which contains the entire Pretty Paper album plus four Christmas themed bonus tracks. If you're wondering about the title of the CD, Sony released several Christmas themed comps in 2012. All of them are titled The Classic Christmas Album. Pretty Paper is now a Christmas standard and has been recorded by Glen Campbell, Freddie Fender and others. Probably the best cover was recorded by Chris Isaak on his 2004 CD Christmas. It was one of the songs that helped Nelson survive in the 60s when he had very little success as a recording artist. Here's Willie Nelson performing Pretty Paper.