Willie Nelson Writes Book About Late Drummer Paul English: ‘I Knew Him Before We Met’

Willie Nelson unveiled his new book Me and Paul: Untold Stories of a Fabulous Friendship”, released on September 20 via Harper Horizon.

Me and Paul documents the long friendship between Nelson and Paul English, who played many roles in Nelson’s life as drummer, tour accountant and bodyguard. Nelson also called English his “guardian angel”.

“The mission of this book is to bring it back,” Nelson said in a statement. “Why were Paul and I so devoted to each other? Good question. That’s another reason I wrote this book – to show the mystical connection between me and Paul. It was like I knew him before we met. And now that he’s gone, he’s still here. He still knows me. He still lives in my heart and in the hearts of all whose lives he touched.

Written with journalist David Ritz, who also collaborated with the singer and songwriter on his 2015 book, It’s a Long Story: My Life and Me, and again in 2020 with Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Banda joint memorial with Nelson’s sister, Bobbie, who had worked with her brother since 1972 and died March 10, 2022, aged 91.

Born November 6, 1932 in Vernon, Texas, English played his first gig with Nelson in Fort Worth, Texas in 1955, and officially joined Nelson’s band in 1966. The pair would go on to collaborate and remain close friends for 70 years. until English’s death in 2020. “In 2020 my closest friend left me, into the infinite abyss,” Nelson wrote in the introduction to Me and Paul.

In 1985, Nelson released his 32nd album Me and Paulanother tribute to his drummer and friend, with the title track and lyrics chronicling their adventures on the road—Well it’s been a rough hard ride / But I’m finally standing on the ground… Guess Nashville was the hardest / But I know I said the same thing about them all / We got our education / In the cities of the nation, me and Paul.

“Another thing about Paul: I owe him a lot,” Nelson shared. “The man has saved my life more times than I can remember. They say a good friend knows all your best stories, but a best friend has lived them with you. Well, that was us.

Nelson added: “In the Willie Nelson family, he stood at the center. I was the leader of the group, but he was the leader of my life. He was the daddy bear, the big brother, the wise uncle, the money man, the bag man, the negotiator, the sharpest shooter and the kindest heart.

Photo: Courtesy of Harper Horizon