Willie Nelson served in the U.S. Air Force for a short time after graduating high school in 1950. However, back troubles forced him to leave the service after being stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Johnny Cash also was trained at Lackland, although it's not clear if the two eventual country legends ever crossed paths there.

After the Air Force, Nelson tried college at Baylor University, but eventually took odd jobs like selling encyclopedias before his country music career took off. That took time. His move to Nashville didn't come until 1960, but by then he'd written a few hits -- like 'Crazy,' which was recorded by Patsy Cline.