Remember When Willie Nelson Proved His Record Company Wrong With ‘Stardust’?
Willie Nelson scored one of the biggest successes of his career with Stardust, an album that his record company didn't even want him to record and release. Stardust was certified quadruple platinum on Jan. 9, 1990, after selling more than 4 million copies.
Stardust featured Nelson's interpretations of time-honored songs from the Great American Songbook, including classics from Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and others. The music was a dramatic departure from the Outlaw Country that had made Nelson famous, and Columbia Records executives were not at all enthusiastic about the project's adventurous mix of country, pop, jazz and folk.
“[It's] another one of those albums that they said, ‘This is not a good idea. It costs too much money first of all, and these old songs, nobody wants to hear ‘em anymore,’” Nelson later recalled. "Again, they were wrong.”
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Released in April of 1978, Stardust scored Nelson a string of hits with "Georgia on My Mind," "Blue Skies," "All of Me" and "September Song." The album reached No. 1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart, and it also hit No. 30 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Nelson also won Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for his rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" at the Grammy Awards.
The album went on to make history on Aug. 13, 1988, when it marked 10 consecutive years on Billboard's Country Albums chart, and on Jan. 9, 1990, Stardust was certified quadruple platinum for sales in excess of 4 million units,
Stardust went on to sell more than 5 million copies and remained on the charts for a total of 540 weeks. The Grammy Hall of Fame inducted the album into its archives in 2015.
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