Willie Nelson Wrote 'On the Road Again' on an Airplane Barf Bag
Inspiration knows no altitude limits.
Such is the case for Willie Nelson's timeless anthem, "On the Road Again," penned for the 1980 film Honeysuckle Rose which Nelson also starred in as the leading role of Buck Bonham. The familiar-from-the-first-beat song went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1981. Now, if you've ever wondered about this catchy tune's origin, read on.
As posted in a Q&A published in the UK music publication Uncut, a fan named Natalie Amber of Luton, England asked, "Is it true you wrote down 'On The Road Again' on an airline sick bag?"
To this inquiry, Nelson is said to have replied, "Yeah. I was on an aeroplane [sic] with [producer] Sydney Pollack and Jerry Schatzberg, who was the director of the movie Honeysuckle Rose. They were looking for songs for the movie and they started asking me if I had any idea. I said, 'I don't know, what do you want the song to say?' I think Sydney said, 'Can it be something about being on the road?' It just started to click in my head. I said, "You mean like, ‘On the road again, I can't wait to get on the road again'?" They said, 'That's great. What's the melody?' I said, 'I don't know yet.'"
Now, the chirpy, chugging melody is etched into our minds as well as the image of Nelson's smile cradled between his trademark pigtails.
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When you're fixing to get on the road again, treat your ears to our favorite country songs about every Southern state and hit the nearest winding, country road near you.