AUSTIN, Texas - Country music legend Willie Nelson helped unveil a statue honoring him in downtown Austin by singing his new song "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" on Friday, a date long reserved to celebrate marijuana use.
The faint smell of marijuana smoke wafted through a crowd of about 2,000 people as Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell accepted on the privately funded statue as a gift from a private arts group. Organizers said they didn't intentionally choose April 20 for the event, but once they found out, they scheduled the unveiling at 4:20 p.m. as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Nelson's openness about his marijuana use and advocacy for its legalization.
The statute stands in front of the Moody Theater, where the Austin City Limits Studio is now located. Nelson, a 10-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 40 million copies of his 150 albums, appeared on the first episode of the public television show in 1974.