Willie Nelson Pens Anti-War Ballad

Willie Nelson, singer, 9-1-02
Willie Nelson plans to debut an anti-war ballad he wrote Christmas Day at a fund-raising concert Saturday for Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich at Austin Music Hall.

Nelson said he planned to record "What Ever Happened to Peace on Earth" this week in Nashville, Tenn., and rush-release it as a single.

"Now, I haven't played it for Toby (Keith) yet," a laughing Nelson told the Austin American-Statesman for Tuesday editions. Although the two are close friends, the sentiments of Nelson's song are the polar opposite of Keith's angry-American anthem "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," with its call to arms.

"Toby wrote that song in reaction to 9/11, which was a totally different thing than watching U.S. soldiers die in Iraq," Nelson said. "Toby's said he's not a Republican or a Democrat; he's a Christian. So we're coming from the same place."

The song asks questions such as "How much oil is a human life worth?"

Asked if the song might anger conservative country music fans, he said, "I sure hope so. I don't care if people say, 'Who the hell does he think he is?' I know who I am."

Kucinich, an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, is not opposed to all wars but he is perhaps best known for his proposal to create a new Cabinet-level federal agency - the Department of Peace - to explore and implement non-violent approaches to foreign policy problems.

Nelson said he supports Kucinich because of the four-term Ohio congressman's support of family farmers.

That's a cause which hits home for Nelson, the president and a co-founder of Farm Aid, a group which harnesses big names in music for benefits to help preserve family farms.

The 70-year-old country star wrote his new song at the Lake Elsinore, Calif., home of his in-laws.

"There was nothing but bad news, and here it was Christmas Day," Nelson said. "I said, 'There sure are a lot of babies dying and mothers crying,' and (wife) Annie said, 'That sounds like a song.'"