Saturday, November 8, 1980

Willie Nelson “On the Road Again” hit #1 on the country chart

On the Road Again

Willie Nelson

Writer(s): Willie Nelson (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 30, 1980

Peak: 20 US, 22 CB, 11 GR, 16 HR, 16 RR, 7 AC, 11 CW, 64 AU, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 35.31 video, 123.67 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Willie Nelson was born in Texas in 1933. He started his career as a songwriter, writing such classics as Faron Young’s “Hello Walls” and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” He charted on his own for the first time in 1962 on the country charts, but it wouldn’t be until 1975 that he landed his first of 25 country chart toppers, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” The song was also his first entry on the pop charts, hitting #21. It would be another five years before he’d land another top 40 hit – this time with 1980’s “On the Road Again” (#20).

Fellow outlaw country artist Waylon Jennings said Nelson “will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest songwriter ever in country music…He can write the most complex song…that will shoot over most people’s heads, and then he will turn around and write a little song like ‘On the Road Again’ that everyone can appreciate.” TR

Nelson wrote the song for the movie Honeysuckle Rose. He was tapped to star as “an aging musician who fails to achieve national fame.” WK Nelson was asked to write a song for the movie about touring. TR Bob Dylan called it “a song of a traveling bandit” BD which captured the life of a touring musician. He said, “this song feels like the movement of the road. The way it feels on a bus…when you’re on the road, you’re living the life you love. Making music with your friends, and earning a living…The thing about being on the road is that you’re not bogged down by anything. Not even bad news. You give pleasure to other people and you keep your grief to yourself.” BD

“On the Road Again” won a Grammy for Best Country Song and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. It also won the American Music Award for country song of the year.


  • BD Bob Dylan (2022). The Philosophy of Modern Song. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pages 91-92.
  • TR Tom Roland (1991). The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Pages 270-1.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Related Links:

First posted 11/2/2022; last updated 2/3/2023.

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