Country music legend Willie Nelson turns 80 today. At least, he says his birthday is today; the state of Texas says it's tomorrow.
Either way, to celebrate, we're sharing 'Swingin' Over The Rainbow', a PBS Special that originally aired in 1981.
Over the years, Willie's become a folk hero and something of a reluctant outlaw. He started out as a traditional country singer/songwriter, but somewhere along the way, he not only turned to "outlaw country" (starting with his album 'Shotgun Willie') - he became an activist and a unique figure in American culture.
As the Houston Chronicle writes, "He's independent, he's contrarian, he's good-natured and mellow. He's real."
Or as the Huffington Post puts it, "He's accepted by left and right, black and white and is instantly recognizable to a majority of Americans."
And in the traditionally conservative world of country music, Willie is a regular defender of marriage equality, legalizing marijuana, and alternative fuels.
In March, he spoke to Texas Monthly about marriage equality and the Defense of Marriage Act, a U.S. federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"It's ridiculous to me that this is something we're having a conversation about in this day and age. I thought it was something that was settled a long time ago... People are people where I come from."
After 50 years in the business, Willie still spends about 200 days a year on the road and has just released a new album, 'Let's Face the Music and Dance'. Plus, according to the Houston Chronicle, he has an estimated 1,000 tracks yet to be released.
It's a long way from his first real songwriting gig, which paid $50 a week.
Willie told the Associated Press he feels most at home on his tour bus: "I've lived in this house longer than I've lived in any of the others, all combined," he said. "I feel at home here. It moves around. I have a mobile home. That's about the size of it, and I enjoy it."
Over the years, Willie's also written books like 'The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart', as well as acting in films and television shows.
And his activist spirit sometimes sees him lending his voice to other people's projects: check out his cover of Coldplay's 'The Scientist', recorded as the soundtrack to a short film called 'Back to the Start' about industrial farming:
While in the broom closet, he talked about his admiration for Willie Nelson and performed a rendition of 'Stardust'. You can listen below and stream his full conversation with George.