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Willie Nelson: The Outlaw Paperback – March 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fabulous biography of one of country music’s most colorful characters."  —Tatler


"Thomson makes the most of the access granted by Nelson, his friends and relatives."  —Q Magazine


"Sharp writing, astute observation . . . make for a lively read and a vivid portrait of an often baffling talent. Recommended."  —Observer Music Monthly

About the Author

Graeme Thomson is the author of Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello. He has written for WORD, the Observer, Time Out, MOJO, and the Herald.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753511843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753511848
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graeme Thomson is the author of several books. UNDER THE IVY: THE LIFE & MUSIC OF KATE BUSH (Omnibus, 2010) was described by The Irish Times as "the best music biography in perhaps the past decade" and by MOJO as "superb". Record Collector called I SHOT A MAN IN RENO (Bloomsbury, 2008) "one of the most informative and fulfilling music books you're ever likely to read."

BEHIND THE LOCKED DOOR, his definitive biography of George Harrison, will be published in the autumn of 2013: http://amzn.to/16nloR7

Graeme Thomson has written for the Observer, New Statesman, Oxford American, the Telegraph, Time Out, MOJO and Rolling Stone, and contributes regularly to the Guardian, Uncut, the Herald and The Arts Desk. He lives with his family in Edinburgh.

PRAISE FOR 'UNDER THE IVY':
"The best music biography in perhaps the past decade... an absorbing, painstakingly researched and downright fascinating book" - Irish Times

"Superb .... A compelling examination of an artist in a constant state of becoming - Mojo

"Respectful, fascinating and full of insight" - Q

"A masterful biography. Thomson's descriptive language is gorgeous" - The Word

"Sheds a light on the women behind the inspiration of many a modern-day chanteuse - NME

PRAISE FOR 'COMPLICATED SHADOWS':
"That rarest of rock & roll studies: expertly researched, restrained yet stylish, and in perfect tune with its subject's work" - Austin Chronicle

"Those with even a remote interest in rock music of the past 30 years will find his book utterly mesmerizing" - Library Journal

"A vital read ... Thomson here returns one of rock's most elusive figures to flesh and blood ... Definitive." - Uncut
"Brilliantly written . . . in the absence of Elvis Costello putting pen to paper himself, this is far and away the next best thing." - Record Collector

PRAISE FOR I SHOT A MAN IN RENO':
"Better musical surveys are hard to find, and the results are positively life-affirming." - Paste

"Its contents more than live up to the billing.... a rich and masterful read." - The Word

"Shows an electric ability to craft delectable imagery with informative reporting..... Dude knows the best musical death trips!" - KEXP, Best Books of 2008

"An essential volume for anyone interested in pop as an all-pervasive social force that soundtracks our lives right up to our last breath.... One of the most informative and fulfilling music books you're ever likely to read" - Record Collector

"A wildly cheering history of the subject of death in popular song." - Observer, Best Music Books of 2008

PRAISE FOR WILLIE NELSON: THE OUTLAW':
"An excellent biography. Thomson is too shrewd a biographer to take [Nelson] at his own estimation." - Paul Du Noyer, The Word

"Thomson tells the Nelson story with incision and insight. Sharp writing, astute observation and a wry attitude .... make for a lively read and a vivid portrait of an often baffling talent. Recommended." - Neil Spencer, Observer Music Monthly

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James Roberts on July 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I had to write this review after reading the previous reviewer's comments, which make little sense. THE OUTLAW is a fantastic read, and, more importantly, the first book that really grapples with the strange, magic reality of Willie Nelson. It is virtually un-put-downable, full of character and verve, honesty and insight.

Even as I tore through it I suspected there might be a split between those who read it: for so-called 'loyal' Willie fans who treat him like some kind of God, it may not appeal. Those who are looking for an uncomplicated, unthinking homage to Willie will not find it here - there are plenty of those kinds of books on the shelves, but this is the first Willie book to really grapple with the complexities of the man; it is a warts 'n' all study, although affectionate, knowledgable and fair, and presents him and his amazing world in a thorough and truly new way.

It is clearly and cleverly written, with little up-close vignettes of Willie in between each chapter, and with cameos from all the major players in Willie's life. I bet Willie read it with a wry chuckle and thought, 'Yep, they finally got me!'

A wonderful book, highly recommended to all Willie fans who don't wear blinkers, and all other music fans.
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Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Willie's ever since he first appeared on the music scene.To attempt to condense Willie's life and music in a book of 280 pages is a task that is ,to say the least,monumental.But that is exactly what Graeme Thomson has tried to do, and he has done an excellent job of it.
As much as any longtime fan thinks he knows about Willie;reading this book is going to be an eyeopener and pleasure;but is also going to give one a lot more insight into his life,friends,music,and everything else about him;and shows what makes him the legend that he is.As Willie continues on past his mid-seventies;his fans are continually amazed at his endurance and are treated to more good music and sides of Willie that they have never imagined.
While many biographies on performers in the world of music tend to get overloaded with the music itself,dates,music production companies,copyrite problems,disography,the writers,and endless flow of band members,etc.;Thompson is still able to incooperate all that;but still manages to center his book on Willie himself.It is hard to imagine any other book being able to do a better job of showing what Willie is all about ,and more importantly why.
There is all too much to comment on this book ;but still I would like to mention a couple of things.
The relationships with his wives,children and extended family show what a difficult life of being "on the road" entails.It is so difficult that many are ruined by it,or simply can't take it and quit;but Willie seems to have thrived on it for 50 years,and still continues.
Read more ›
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chavez on July 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Awesome book! Fills in a whole load of gaps in Will's life that I often wondered about. I've been a fan for 25 years and hoped this kind of 3-D book would come along - it's not only very astute on his life and character but also absolutely BRILLIANT on his music.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Brooks on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Great insight to one of America's greatest song writers and musicians. I've followed Willie for over 30 years and I'm not a country music fan. Willie reaches everyone who loves a good song.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By quiettime on June 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the book, and felt that it presented a pretty thorough, well-rounded view of an interesting person. I do think that Mr. Thomson knows the music scene very well, although he unnecessarily inserts some of his personal condescending viewpoints of some currently popular country artists. I knocked the rating down a star because it needed better editing - there are several typos that should have been caught.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kathleen Quinn on March 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brilliant. Enjoyed every word. Tells a story warts and all of one of the worlds great entertainers. A must for anyone interested in the music industry.
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By Carole/Jeff Campbell on October 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Willie Nelson is the most unpretentious successful entertainer around.
With Willie what you see is what you get, he truly did it his way.
His story is very well presented by Graeme Thomson.
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By C. G. Butler on September 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just adore this guy for a hundred and one reasons apart from the fact that I became used to his nasal twang!He's creative; he's got guts to stand up for what he believes in; great sense of humour; Still going strong!
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