Top 5: Willie Nelson Duets

Willie Nelson celebrates his 80th birthday with some famous pals when CMT airs a special Crossroads salute to the country icon on Sunday, June 23. Airing at 9 p.m. ET, CMT Crossroads: Willie Nelson & Friends From Third Man Records was taped in April, just a few days before Willie’s milestone birthday.

Neil Young, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Ashley Monroe and Jamey Johnson all sing with the Red Headed Stranger during an intimate concert taped at Nashville’s Third Man Records, the recording studio, record store and concert venue of enigmatic rock star Jack White. CW was in attendance that evening and can assure you that it was quite a special time, featuring performances that rank among Willie’s best. Just try not to tear up when Neil salutes Willie with the growing-old anthem “Long May You Run.”

To tide you over until showtime on Sunday, we put together our Top 5 list of Willie collaborations.

5. “Shotgun Willie” – Willie with Kid Rock

Willie and the Kid go together as well as whiskey and Coke on this shuffling take of the musical Willie autobiography.

4. “Dead Flowers” – Willie with Keith Richards, Ryan Adams and Hank Williams III

The Rolling Stones have been bringing out a slew of country guest stars on their latest tour. Wouldn’t it be cool if Willie were one of them? 

3. “Folsom Prison Blues” – Willie with Johnny Cash

In 1997, Willie and Johnny teamed up for an episode of VH1’s Storytellers. The result was acoustic bliss, with Willie adding tasteful solos to his and Johnny’s biggest hits.

2. “Pancho and Lefty” – Willie with Merle Haggard

We don't know about you, but we picture Willie and Merle riding across the desert whenever they sing this Townes Van Zandt gem.

1. “Seven Spanish Angels” – Willie with Ray Charles

“It’s going to be a phonograph record pretty soon,” Willie says in introducing what is arguably his greatest duet (sorry, Julio!). Utter brilliance.

Listen to all five duets without interruption with our Top 5 Willie Nelson Duets YouTube playlist!

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