Paul English, the longtime drummer for the legendary Willie Nelson, has died. He was 87 years old. Nelson’s publicist confirmed his passing to Rolling Stone. According to the publication, English began performing with Nelson in 1966.
English was born in 1932 in Vernon, Texas. Prior to joining Nelson’s Family Band in the late 1960s, English was heading down a rough path. The former gang leader and pimp once credited Nelson for getting his life back on track.
“If I hadn’t gone with Willie, I would be in the penitentiary or dead,” English shared with Rolling Stone in 2014. “I was running girls and playing music at the same time.”
Nelson chronicled his friendship and adventures with English in the 1971 road song “Me & Paul.” The track was featured on multiple Willie Nelson albums, including his 32nd studio release in 1984.
English continued to tour with Nelson up until his death, sharing percussion duties with his younger brother, Billy English.
Neither Paul English’s cause of death, nor plans for his funeral have not been revealed.