In his most recent autobiography, Willie Nelson focuses on his friendship with his late drummer, Paul English. English’s role in helping Nelson become a legend is discussed in Nelson’s autobiography, Me and Paul: Untold Stories of a Fabled Friendship, which also includes humorous incidents from their time together.
Nelson told an endearing story about how learning English prevented him from taking his own life when he was on the verge of suicide in Nashville. Nelson and English first connected at a radio station in Texas in 1955.
Willie Nelson Describes A Past Suicide Attempt In His New Memoir, Me And Paul
They got close, leading to Nelson’s song “Me and Paul,” a top hit in 1971. They stayed close until February 2020, when English, aged 87, died away. People magazine released an excerpt from Nelson’s book Me and Paul in which he reveals that he from taking his own life due to his poor command of the English language.
When Nelson first moved to Nashville, he struggled to break through. Before he relocated to Music City, it was his first experience in a central metropolitan area with a big singing and songwriting culture.
Although Nelson’s neighbors weren’t actively out to get him, he said it was disheartening to watch their success at his own expense. The songs he wrote were going unrewarded. He was so incompetent that he couldn’t even sell encyclopedias. After that, he took a drink.
However, they weren’t precisely a slammer. Although they are not the worst fighter in the world, they have learned that staying well inside your weight class is crucial whenever possible.
Nelson called his experience in Nashville’s early years a “clear low moment,” He later admitted that “depression had me in its clutches.” An old Lightnin’ Hopkins song’s lines about “feeling so dreadful until he lay his head on some lonesome train line and let it heal his troubled mind” stuck with him. He considered doing the same thing.
The Snowfall Started That Night In Nashville
In the absence of a nearby railroad, he made the executive decision to make his landing on Broadway. While he was resting on the ground, there was no foot traffic.
A few drivers would swerve to the side if they noticed. Were you relieved? Honestly, did they say that they weren’t happy? Aside from standing up, returning to Tootsie’s, and placing another drink order, nothing else comes to mind.
Nelson Learned English The Following Day
At that moment, he was braced against the bonnet of Nelson’s trailer. It seemed like they had just woken up when they realized it was almost 4 p.m. They had gone to Broadway the day before to find some serenity. Nelson says that Paul had perfect timing. Once again, the sky was a beautiful blue after the storm from yesterday night had passed.
After supposedly spending the previous day in Louisville, English said he intended to stop by Nelson’s place before going to Memphis. In a meeting at Juicy Lucy’s Ribs, English proclaimed Nelson the “hottest songwriter to hit Nashville since Hank Williams.”
Nelson promptly took English home. Lucy informed Nelson that Williams also had difficulty settling in Nashville. English and Lucy told Nelson that it “takes time” to become famous in Nashville.
English And Nelson Took A Leisurely Walk Along Music Row, Past All The Shops And Studios
English hoped to recognize Nelson despite his continued depression. When Nelson started receiving hit songs left and right, English commented, “they are thinking about how these fools are going to feel.” They will regret not paying more attention to you when they learn they could have bought you for a penny and a nail.
After drinking with his friend, Nelson woke up with a “monumental” headache. Even though English was long gone, they appreciated his positive outlook. Nelson sought solace in the presence of someone who “seemed to believe in you more often than somebody did in,” even though he had behaved like a fool at the pub the night before.
Despite all of the English’s confidence, Nelson proved to be successful. Even though Nelson’s debut album wasn’t a smash hit, it gave him the confidence to continue making music and launched his career.
For Seventy Years, Paul English Was Integral To Nelson’s Life And Career
Nelson’s beautifully complex road song “Me & Paul” is mainly responsible for bringing Paul English to prominence at the time. The song, written for the drummer in the early 1970s, became a mainstay of Nelson’s live performances and the first single from his studio album in 1985.
English had Nelson’s back as the band’s steady musical engine or a bodyguard with a gun making sure the crew was paid after every show. The minute they met, Willie and Paul instantly understood each other and the music Willie Nelson was meant to create.