To celebrate Willie Nelson’s 88th trip around the sun, fans everywhere have come out in droves to deliver their personal birthday messages to the Red Headed Stranger. From his loyal fans to superstars like Keith Richards, everyone wants to honor Nelson on his special day.
Toby Keith published his own birthday message to Nelson that included a sentimental pic of the two country music icons. On Thursday, the 59-year-old tweeted, “Happy birthday to this Red Headed Stranger, @WillieNelson,” along with a sentimental snap of the two of them.
For the two country legends, their friendship dates way back. Nelson and Keith first worked together in 2002 when they collaborated on the country hit “Beer for My Horses.”
After Keith finished writing the song, he knew he immediately wanted to record it with his hero. Even before he was a household name, Keith had always been a big fan of the Texas outlaw. Scotty Emerick, one of the songwriters on “Beer for My Horses,” recalled his experience of seeing the two work together.
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“We got on his bus and played him ‘Beer For My Horses.’ That’s the first time we ever met him. And we told him we had an idea, we had a song we wanted to do a duet with him. So we just met him on his bus and hung out all night, and played him songs. And he’s so nice, he said, ‘Sure.’ Then it just all fell into place. They recorded it, and it’s great.”
Later on, the two joined forces again when they released their song, “Wacky Tobbaccy” — which is definitely not related to tobacco.
“That ol’ wacky tobaccy
When you feel it creepin’ up on you
That ol’ wacky tobaccy
Kick back and let it do what it do,”
“Wacky Tobaccy is a slogan, a saying, that’s been around forever, and no one has ever put it in a song,” Keith noted about the obvious ode to marijuana. “When we were working on [this song], somebody asked if the saying has ever been written in a song, and I said, ‘No, but they will now.'”
In the music video for “Wacky Tobaccy,” Nelson even makes a cameo. The video was shot on Keith’s tour bus and featured Nelson, of course, lighting up. Keith featured the song on his 2017 compilation album, The Bus Songs. Even though the album was primarily lighthearted and humorous, it saw commercial success — it debuted at No. 6 on Top Country Albums chart.