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The Essential Willie Nelson

The Essential Willie Nelson
Greatest hits album by
ReleasedApril 1, 2003
Recorded1961–2003
GenreCountry
Length120:00
LabelSony BMG
ProducerNick Shaffran, Al Quaglieri
Willie Nelson chronology
Crazy: The Demo Sessions
(2003)
The Essential Willie Nelson
(2003)
Songs
(2005)

The Essential Willie Nelson is a two-disc compilation of Willie Nelson songs. This digitally remastered compilation covers five decades of Nelson's recording career, and is part of Sony's Essential series of compilation albums. A 2009 release in limited Essential 3.0 series came with a bonus disc of eight fan-favourites and rarities. The album was re-released with an updated track listing on October 16, 2015.

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[1]
Q[2]

David Quantick of Q wrote, "[T]he songs here sound fresh and almost youthful. The arrangements are sparky, too... All the sheer scope of Nelson's writing is displayed."[2] In a retrospective review, AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that "The Essential Willie Nelson gets about as close as a set could to providing the basics".[1]

Track listing

Disc one
No.TitleWriter(s)Originally fromLength
1."Night Life"Willie NelsonSingle A-side of Bellaire 107 (1960)2:32
2."Hello Walls"Willie Nelson...And Then I Wrote (1962)2:24
3."Crazy"Willie Nelson...And Then I Wrote (1962)2:52
4."Funny How Time Slips Away"Willie Nelson...And Then I Wrote (1962)3:03
5."I Never Cared For You"Willie NelsonMonument single A-side (1964)2:32
6."The Party's Over"Willie NelsonThe Party's Over and Other Great Willie Nelson Songs (1967)2:29
7."Good Times"Willie NelsonGood Times (1968)2:28
8."Me and Paul"Willie NelsonYesterday's Wine (1971)3:49
9."Shotgun Willie"Willie NelsonShotgun Willie (1973)2:39
10."Bloody Mary Morning"Willie NelsonPhases and Stages (1974)2:49
11."Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"Fred RoseRed Headed Stranger (1975)2:21
12."Good Hearted Woman" (with Waylon Jennings)Waylon Jennings, Willie NelsonWanted! The Outlaws (1976)2:59
13."If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time"Lefty Frizzell, Jim BeckThe Sound in Your Mind (1976)2:06
14."Uncloudy Day"Josiah Kelley AlwoodThe Troublemaker (1976)4:40
15."Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" (with Waylon Jennings)Ed Bruce, Patsy BruceWaylon & Willie (1978)2:23
16."Georgia on My Mind"Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart GorrellStardust (1978)4:21
17."Blue Skies"Irving BerlinStardust (1978)3:35
18."All of Me"Seymour Simons, Gerald MarksStardust (1978)3:54
19."Heartbreak Hotel" (with Leon Russell)Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis PresleyOne for the Road (1979)3:03
20."Help Me Make It Through the Night"Kris KristoffersonSings Kristofferson (1979)4:01
21."Whiskey River" (live, April 1978)Johnny BushWillie and Family Live (1978)3:31
22."Stay a Little Longer" (live, April 1978)Bob Wills, Tommy DuncanWillie and Family Live (1978)3:25
Total length:1:08:16
Disc two
No.TitleWriter(s)Originally fromLength
1."My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys"Sharon VaughnThe Electric Horseman (1980)3:06
2."Faded Love" (with Ray Price)Bob Wills, Billy Jack WillsSan Antonio Rose (1980)3:51
3."On the Road Again"Willie NelsonHoneysuckle Rose (1980)2:33
4."Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground"Willie NelsonHoneysuckle Rose (1980)4:31
5."Always on My Mind"Johnny Christopher, Mark James, Wayne CarsonAlways on My Mind (1982)3:32
6."Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning"Gary P. Nunn, Donna FararAlways on My Mind (1982)4:21
7."Pancho and Lefty" (with Merle Haggard)Townes Van ZandtPancho & Lefty (1983)4:48
8."To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (with Julio Iglesias)Hal David, Albert Hammond1100 Bel Air Place (1984)3:34
9."City of New Orleans"Steve GoodmanCity of New Orleans (1984)4:52
10."Seven Spanish Angels" (with Ray Charles)Troy Seals, Eddie SetserFriendship (1984)3:52
11."Forgiving You Was Easy"Willie NelsonMe & Paul (1985)2:49
12."Highwayman" (with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson)Jimmy WebbHighwayman (1985)3:04
13."Living in the Promiseland"David Lynn JonesThe Promiseland (1986)3:22
14."Nothing I Can Do About It Now"Beth Nielsen ChapmanA Horse Called Music (1989)3:19
15."Graceland"Paul SimonAcross the Borderline (1993)4:46
16."Everywhere I Go" (with Emmylou Harris)Willie NelsonTeatro (1998)3:52
17."Slow Dancing" (U2 featuring Willie Nelson)Bono, The Edge"If God Will Send His Angels" CD single B-side (1997)4:02
18."Mendocino County Line" (with Lee Ann Womack)Matt Serletic, Bernie TaupinThe Great Divide (2002)4:33
19."One Time Too Many" (with Steven Tyler and Aerosmith)Steven Tyler, Richie Supapreviously unreleased, recorded 19875:23
Total length:1:14:22
Essential 3.0 bonus disc
No.TitleWriter(s)Originally fromLength
1."Remember Me"Scotty WisemanRed Headed Stranger (1975)2:52
2."I Love You a Thousand Ways"Lefty Frizzell, Jim BeckTo Lefty from Willie (1977)2:59
3."Love Me Tender"George R. Poulton, Ken DarbyPorky's Revenge! (1985)2:32
4."Midnight Rider"Gregg Allman, Robert Kim PayneThe Electric Horseman (1979)2:57
5."Philadelphia Lawyer"Woody GuthrieFolkways: A Vision Shared (1988)2:59
6."Why Do I Have to Choose" (with Waylon Jennings)Willie NelsonTake It to the Limit (1983)3:12
7."Let It Be Me"Gilbert Bécaud, Manny Curtis, Pierre DelanoëAlways on My Mind (1982)3:33
8."Still Is Still Moving to Me"Willie NelsonAcross the Borderline (1993)3:29
2015 re-release disc one
No.TitleWriter(s)Originally fromLength
1."Night Life"Willie NelsonSingle A-side of Bellaire 107 (1960)2:32
2."Hello Walls"Willie Nelson...And Then I Wrote (1962)2:24
3."Crazy"Willie Nelson...And Then I Wrote (1962)2:52
4."Funny How Time Slips Away"Willie Nelson...And Then I Wrote (1962)3:03
5."The Party's Over"Willie NelsonThe Party's Over and Other Great Willie Nelson Songs (1967)2:29
6."I Gotta Get Drunk"Willie NelsonBoth Sides Now (1970)2:13
7."Yesterday's Wine"Willie NelsonYesterday's Wine (1971)3:12
8."Me and Paul"Willie NelsonYesterday's Wine (1971)3:49
9."Family Bible"Willie NelsonYesterday's Wine (1971)3:10
10."Bloody Mary Morning"Willie NelsonPhases and Stages (1974)2:49
11."Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"Fred RoseRed Headed Stranger (1975)2:21
12."Good Hearted Woman" (with Waylon Jennings)Waylon Jennings, Willie NelsonWanted! The Outlaws (1976)2:59
13."If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time"Lefty Frizzell, Jim BeckThe Sound in Your Mind (1976)2:06
14."Uncloudy Day"Josiah Kelley AlwoodThe Troublemaker (1976)4:40
15."Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" (with Waylon Jennings)Ed Bruce, Patsy BruceWaylon & Willie (1978)2:23
16."Georgia on My Mind"Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart GorrellStardust (1978)4:21
17."Blue Skies"Irving BerlinStardust (1978)3:35
18."Heartbreak Hotel" (with Leon Russell)Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis PresleyOne for the Road (1979)3:03
19."Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)"Kris KristoffersonSings Kristofferson (1979)5:51
20."My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys"Sharon VaughnThe Electric Horseman (1980)3:06
21."Faded Love" (with Ray Price)Bob Wills, Billy Jack WillsSan Antonio Rose (1980)3:51
22."Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground"Willie NelsonHoneysuckle Rose (1980)4:31
23."Whiskey River" (live, April 1978)Johnny BushWillie and Family Live (1978)3:31
2015 re-release disc two
No.TitleWriter(s)Originally fromLength
1."On the Road Again" (Live)Willie NelsonHoneysuckle Rose (1980)2:33
2."Always on My Mind"Johnny Christopher, Mark James, Wayne CarsonAlways on My Mind (1982)3:32
3."Pancho and Lefty" (with Merle Haggard)Townes Van ZandtPancho & Lefty (1983)4:48
4."To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (with Julio Iglesias)Hal David, Albert Hammond1100 Bel Air Place (1984)3:34
5."City of New Orleans"Steve GoodmanCity of New Orleans (1984)4:52
6."Seven Spanish Angels" (with Ray Charles)Troy Seals, Eddie SetserFriendship (1984)3:52
7."Forgiving You Was Easy"Willie NelsonMe & Paul (1985)2:49
8."Highwayman" (with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson)Jimmy WebbHighwayman (1985)3:04
9."Living in the Promiseland"David Lynn JonesThe Promiseland (1986)3:22
10."The End of Understanding" (with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson)Willie NelsonThe Road Goes On Forever (1995)2:41
11."Across the Borderline"Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Jim DickinsonAcross the Borderline (1993)4:40
12."Still Is Still Moving to Me"Willie NelsonAcross the Borderline (1993)3:29
13."I Never Cared For You"Willie NelsonTeatro (1998)2:18
14."Just Breathe" (with Lukas Nelson)Eddie VedderHeroes (2012)4:02
15."I Wish I Didn’t Love You So"Frank LoesserLet's Face the Music and Dance (2013)4:18
16."From Here to the Moon and Back" (with Dolly Parton)Dolly PartonTo All the Girls... (2013)4:01
17."The Wall"Willie Nelson, Buddy CannonBand of Brothers (2014)3:29
18."Band of Brothers"Willie Nelson, Buddy CannonBand of Brothers (2014)2:51
19."Who'll Buy My Memories?" (with Bobbie Nelson)Willie NelsonDecember Day: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1 (2014)2:47
20."Unfair Weather Friend" (with Merle Haggard)Marla Cannon-Goodman, Ward DavisDjango and Jimmie (2015)4:14
21."It's All Going to Pot" (with Merle Haggard and Jamey Johnson)Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson, Larry ShellDjango and Jimmie (2015)2:56
22."Roll Me Up" (with Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson)Willie Nelson, Buddy Cannon, Rich Alves, John Colgin, Mike McQuerryHeroes (2012)3:25

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[7] Platinum 944,700[6]

References

  1. ^ a b AllMusic review
  2. ^ a b Quantick, David (April 1996). "Willie Nelson: The Essential Willie Nelson". Q: 129.
  3. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  4. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Top Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  5. ^ "Top Country Albums – Year-End 2003". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  6. ^ Bjorke, Matt (October 9, 2019). "Top Country Catalog Album Sales: October 9, 2019". RoughStock. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "American album certifications – Willie Nelson – The Essential Willie Nelson". Recording Industry Association of America.

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