Willie Nelson, Stardust

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 05.15.11 in Reviews


Willie Nelson
An endearing and sterling set from the Great American Songbook

By late 1977, the outlaw movement, headed up by Willie and Waylon, had not only roared into Nashville shooting up the place, but also shot to the top of the country charts, with Wanted! The Outlaws being the first country album to sell a million copies. But once outlaws are hailed as heroes, setting up as the new establishment, what’s left to rebel against? In the case of Willie, he rebelled against his own rough-hewn persona with Stardust, an endearing and sterling set culled from the pages of the Great American Songbook. Tin Pan Alley chestnuts, jazz standards and frothy pop were all channeled through Willie’s voice to great effect, even if record executives thought it was a terrible idea certain to scotch the Outlaws’ sales momentum. With a delivery that once sounded odd and erratic — but now seems preternatural in hindsight — it established Nelson as his generation’s great song interpreter and Stardust rose to be a stratospheric success, going platinum some 18 times over.