3 Songs by Willie Nelson that Will Make Any Country Music Fan Tear Up

Willie Nelson is not just a master songwriter and guitar player, but he knows how to pluck and tug at your heartstrings, too. The man with the lilting sweet voice uses those dulcet tones to sing lyrics that, like a needle and thread, go straight into your heart to make a tapestry of emotion.

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Here below, we wanted to dive into three of those songs. Three country tunes that make listeners feel as if they’re hearing poetry written specifically for them. Indeed, these are three songs by Willie Nelson that will make any country music fan tear up.

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Willie Nelson Wrote for Other Artists]

“Always on My Mind”

Willie Nelson is at his best many times when he is singing wistfully. It’s as if he can imbue his music with nostalgia and that numinous feeling of vague loss. Nelson’s version of this song, which was originally written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James, was released in 1982 on his album of the same name. On the song, which he makes his own, his voice brings it to life in an especially lovely way. It’s about having done your love wrong and at the same time the singer is trying to make up for it. It’s classic and heartfelt. On it, he sings,

Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
Maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel, oh, second best (you did, you did)
Girl, I’m sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

“Funny How Time Slips Away”

Written by Nelson, this song was first recorded by Billy Walker in 1961. But when Nelson sings it, he gives it his signature sense of familial style. It’s as if he’s reading a letter to the woman he’s left behind as he goes out on the road. And the subject matter of this particular track, of course, is one we can all relate to. The passing of time and how we are all getting older, our lives passing through our hands like grains of sand. On the track, Nelson sings,

How’s your new love?
I hope that he’s doing fine?
I heard you told him
That you’d love him ’til the end of time

Now that’s the same thing that you told me
It seems like just the other day
Gee, ain’t it funny how time slips away?

I gotta go now
I guess I’ll see you around
I don’t know when though
Never know when I’ll be back in town

But remember, what I tell you
That in time you’re gonna pay
And it’s surprising, how time slips away


Originally witten by Nelson, this song was made famous first by the iconic country star Patsy Cline. But when he sings it, the song takes on a bit of a rougher feel. Like a neighbor singing on the porch under the dusky sky. That is, if your neighbor was one of the best songwriters ever. With just a few lines, you can feel your eyes beginning to well. We all can feel out of sorts at times and we all know the deep pangs of love. Those are the ingredients to this tune. And on it, Nelson sings,

Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wondering, “What in the world did I do?”

I’m crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I’m crazy for loving you
I’m crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I’m crazy for loving you

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Photo by Frederick M. Brown/WireImage

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