Wednesday, October 14, 2009
One of the most fascinating characters I found in researching my book Willie Nelson: An Epic Life was his second wife, Shirley Collie, who was married to disc jockey and record promoter Biff Collie when she and Willie met in Los Angeles where they were label mates on Liberty Records. I wrote that Willie fell in love with her voice on their meeting, their voices blended together so well. As much as Willie's known for his duets, Shirley was his first singing partner and helped him get his first top ten country hit with "Willingly" back in 1961.
Shirley and Willie were so in love, they left their respective mates, married in Vegas, and performed together on the road, where Shirley played bass in the band. Willie eventually talked her into staying home in Ridgetop outside of Nashville, where she helped raised his three children he had with first wife Martha - Lana, Susie, Billy.
When Shirley found out about Willie's affair with Connie Koepke from Houston, their marriage fell apart in the late sixties and Shirley retired to her native Missouri, cutting short a promising career.
But don't take my word for it. Let Shirley tell her story as she knows it best. Click on the headline how to order her recently published book, Scrapbooks In My Mind. She's got some good stories to tell.