Country Throwback: Willie Nelson Joins Glen Campbell on TV Show for ‘On the Road Again’ in 1982

by Clayton Edwards

“The Glen Campbell Music Show” was a TV series that featured hitmaker Glen Campbell performing alongside a special guest. Over the show’s single season, Glen played host to several big acts. Among those guests was outlaw country icon Willie Nelson.

While on the show, Nelson joined Campbell for several of his hit songs. They kicked off the show with what some consider Willie’s signature song, “On the Road Again.”

Watching the performance on YouTube almost forty years later is nice. But, imagine seeing this on TB and not knowing who Glen was going to have on as a guest. The way Glen Campbell introduces is just so cool.

Campbell is on stage performing “On the Road Again” backed by his band. He gets to the second chorus in the song, just before the guitar solo. Immediately after the final word of the refrain, he introduces Willie Nelson. Willie walks on to the stage as he kicks into the guitar solo. He and Glen play off of each other until it’s time for the verse again.

Glen Campbell was a successful television host and this detail highlights why. There were several ways he could have introduced Willie Nelson, but having him come out mid-song, kick off a guitar break, and doing it all seamlessly is a level of showmanship that you don’t see much anymore.

Willie Nelson’s Iconic Track Feels Different Now

There are several songs from the past, or even earlier this year, that just feel different after the events of 2020. For instance, both “Doing Life With Me” and “Stick That in Your Country Song” by Eric Church seem like they were written for this insane trip around the sun.

Charley Crockett’s “Welcome to Hard Times” is another that fits so well with the late-stage craziness of 2020. “On the Road Again” definitely feels like it could have been written in the last two or three months.

There are several country songs about being a traveling musician. Most of them, however, are tinged with at least a little sadness. Not this track, though. It’s all about how badly Willie Nelson wants to get back out there and tour again. “The life I love is making music with my friends/ and I can’t wait to get on the road again,” sums up the spirit of the song pretty well.

With all of the canceled tours and gigs this year, “On the Road Again” probably hits hard with several touring musicians and lovers of travel in general. Good songwriting is timeless and Willie Nelson really captured it on this tune.