Shirley Collie Nelson

Willie Nelson performing on stage with second wife, ShirleyCollie Nelson.

Willie Nelson performing on stage with second wife, Shirley Collie Nelson.

We’re sad to report that Shirley Collie Nelson, country singer and the second wife of Willie Nelson passed away on Wednesday (1/27/10) at the age of 78.

Shirley Collie made a name for herself on television before she hit country radio, as she appeared on ABC’s ‘Ozark Jubilee’a country music variety show in the late ’50s.

She released three singles on Liberty Records in the early ’60s, including a duet with Willie called ‘Willingly,’ which marked her future husband’s debut on the Billboard country charts and her only appearance on the Top Ten.

Willie Nelson's Martin guitar purchased from Shirley Collie Nelson used in his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1963.

Willie Nelson’s Martin guitar purchased from Shirley Collie Nelson used in his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1963.

Shirley’s first single was ‘Dime a Dozen,’ penned by legendary songwriter Harlan Howard. She then followed it with a cover of “Why, Baby, Why,” written and first released by George Jones. Both of those songs cracked the Top 25 on the charts.

Shirley and Willie married in 1963, one year after ‘Willingly’ was released. It was a second marriage for both, as Shirley was first married to famed country radio DeeJay Biff Collie. Shirley and Willie divorced in 1971 and did not have any children together.

When you visit the Willie Nelson Museum you can see the actual guitar we purchased from Shirley that Willie used the night he made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry in 1963.

In addition to the guitar, you will also see the actual paycheck stub he received from his performance that night. Guess what his take home pay was…..only $11.71!

Shirley was a very nice and talented lady and will be missed by all who knew her. Learn more about her here.


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