Country Throwback: Shania Twain Joins Willie Nelson on ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ Duet

by Emily Morgan

As a way to celebrate Willie Nelson’s birthday, singers from all different backgrounds came together for an incredible night of music. 

Taped at The Beacon Theater, artists such as Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Steven Tyler, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, Kenny Chesney, Ray Price, and John Mellencamp performed as a way to honor Booger Red’s 70th trip around the sun. 

One performance that stood out was Nelson’s duet with a young, up-and-coming Shania Twain. They joined forces to sing his hit “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain” from his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger. The song and album contributed to Willie Nelson’s stardom as a singer.

“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” was written by Fred Rose in the forties and it’s been previously performed by Hank Williams and Roy Acuff. 

Three decades later, the sorrowful ballad would become an iconic hit for Willie Nelson when he recorded it for Red Headed Stranger.

Shania Twain & Willie Nelson Merge Voices For Memorable Performance

Before the performance, Nelson was introduced by his longtime friend and legendary songwriter Kris Kristofferson. Following the introduction, Twain and Nelson delivered an emotional rendition of the beautiful ballad.

While on stage, the casually dressed Canadian superstar wore jeans, hat, and a Willie T-shirt. As she performed, Nelson sat next to her while playing his trusty vintage guitar who he dubbed Trigger.

Their duet, accompanied by Nelson’s guitar strumming, showcased their impressive range as vocalists. In the video, it’s evident Twain was enjoying every moment of the performance, pouring her heart out through the lyrics of the song.

Before his success that came with Red Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson worked mostly as a songwriter. He wrote hits including Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Paper,” and Billy Walker’s “Funny How Time Slips Away.”

After hitting the country music scene with two singles as Top-Ten hits, “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain” became Nelson’s first No. 1 song.