Willie Nelson's signature long braids are almost as much a part of his outlaw legend as his inimitable singing and guitar playing, but the country music icon shocked everyone by cutting them off without warning in 2010.

Nelson got his hair cut shorter while on vacation in Hawaii, but he didn't make any public announcement about it. The legendary singer-songwriter debuted his new look when he joined his son Micah's band, the Reflectacles, onstage for a guest appearance during their set at Charley's in Maui on May 22, 2010, shocking the fans who were in attendance.

Pictures from that night went viral online, causing such a stir that Nelson's publicist, Elaine Schock, issued a statement to the Associated Press, explaining that he didn't want to make a big fuss over the change. Nelson simply might have grown tired of dealing with his long hair, she pointed out, saying, "There's a lot of maintenance" (quote via New York Daily News).

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Though the hairstyle Nelson is sporting in the pictures above is quite a bit shorter than his customary waist-length braids, it's still much longer than the clean-cut look he had in his early days in Nashville, when he wore suits and ties and tried to fit into the Music City mold. Nelson's long hair marked his transition from Nashville to Austin and the beginnings of the Outlaw Country movement that would transform his career and all of country music in the 1970s.

In an interview with Stuff magazine in 2007, Nelson revealed that he'd resisted pressure to cut his hair over the years.

"There have been a couple of times I've run into people who have requested that I cut my hair, but I'm not going to do it," he insisted. "Not for a movie or anything. You know, I might decide I don't like it one day and cut it all off, but I wouldn't do it just because that's what somebody wanted me to do."

Nelson's shorter 'do didn't last long. He grew back his long braids, which he still sports today at age 86.

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