Bobbie Nelson, Willie Nelson’s Sister and Pianist for 50 Years, Dies at 91


Bobbie Nelson, the older sister of nation song legend Willie Nelson, has died. She was once 91. A explanation for loss of life was once now not disclosed.

In a observation posted to her brother’s Fb web page on March 10, the Nelson circle of relatives published that Bobbie had “gave up the ghost this morning, peacefully and surrounded by means of circle of relatives.”

“Her class, grace, good looks and ability made this global a greater position,” the observation learn. “She was once the primary member of Willie’s band, as his pianist and singer. Our hearts are damaged and he or she will likely be deeply ignored. However we’re so fortunate to have had her in our lives. Please stay her circle of relatives for your ideas and provides them the privateness they want at the moment.”

Born in Abbott, Texas on January 1, 1931, Bobbie’s grandparents raised the siblings and inspired them early directly to discover song. Her grandfather purchased her a $35 piano when she was once 6, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than she was once making song round the home along with her brother. Their grandparents even taught the pair their first track “The Nice Speckled Hen,” when Bobbie was once 6 and Willie was once 4. Through her teenagers, Bobbie was once functioning at gospel conventions. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than she was once taking part in church buildings and highschool purposes in and round Abbott together with Willie.

“I be mindful once I were given my first piano,” mentioned Bobbie. “I assumed, ‘I’ll by no means be lonely once more.’”

Through 1972, Willie requested Bobbie, who was once then 42 and had by no means recorded inside of a studio, to sign up for his periods for gospel album The Troublemaker, alternatively for his first album with Atlantic, Shotgun Willie, and from that time on she was once a part of the band. The siblings persisted to play in combination for any other 5 many years.

“The Atlantic Information enjoy put me on a brand new path,” mentioned Willie Nelson. “Maximum necessary, it introduced me again at the side of Bobbie. When the periods in New York had been over I made it simple. ‘Sister,’ I mentioned, ‘you’re now a member of the band.’”

Photograph: Willie Nelson / Fb

In 2008, on the age of 78, Bobbie launched her first solo album Audiobiography, and launched 5 albums along with her brother from 1986 via 2013. Their ultimate album in combination was once Farther Alongside: The Gospel Assortment.

The siblings additionally collaborated on books, together with Me and Sister Bobbie: True Stories of the Circle of relatives Band in 2020 and 2021 free up Sister, Brother, Circle of relatives: An American Youth in Song.

All the way through her existence, Bobbie confronted many hardships, however song and her tight union with Willie saved her going. Married to Bud Fletcher at 16, Bobbie persisted elevating their 3 sons Randy, Michael, and Freddy after Bud died in 1961. In 1989, Bobbie misplaced two of her sons inside of a six-month duration when Michael succumbed to leukemia and Randy died in a automotive coincidence.

Willie ceaselessly referred to Bobbie as his “little sister,” even if she is the older of the 2. “My little sister was once at all times at the piano doing nice song,” mentioned Nelson in a 2020 interview. “I’d sit down there at the piano stool beside her and take a look at to determine what the hell she was once doing. Sister Bobbie is 10 occasions a greater musician than I’m. I’m somewhat higher con guy, I feel.”

The pair performed their closing display in combination on the Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels, Texas on October 9, 2021.

Bobbie is survived by means of her brother Willie, son Freddy, and 8 nieces and nephews.