Willie Nelson’s former drummer and friend has died, aged 87.
Paul English succumbed after a recent battle with pneumonia, surrounded by friends and family at a hospital near his home in Dallas.
Born in 1932 in Texas, English became a part of Nelson’s Family Band in 1966 and performed with Nelson up until his death, sharing percussion with his brother Billy English.
English met Nelson when he tagged along with his older brother, who landed a spot playing steel guitar on Nelson’s Western Express radio program.
However, the drummer didn’t show up and English filled in, without any previous drumming experience.
He was nicknamed The Devil due to his well-known black-satin cape and matching hat.
English served as part of of the inspiration behind Nelson’s 1971 road song Me And Paul.
The two friends’ rambunctious adventures will be forever remembered in that famous melody which has become one of the most famous works in the folk canon.
Nelson’s typically down-to-earth lyrics read: “We received our education. In the cities of the nation, me and Paul.”
When Nelson pursued his own career in Nashville, English found work playing with Good Time Charlie Taylor and His Famous Rock and Roll Cowboys.
They played with Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole and The County Dump.
However, it wasn’t paying the bills so English turned to making a living as a pimp, where he prostituted women from Fort Worth to Houston.
He would purchase several rental houses and run the salacious business out of them.
English had a minor stroke in 2010 but continued to tour as Nelson’s accountant.
He also occasionally served as Nelson’s bodyguard, road manager and was known for his rough past.
English credited Nelson for saving his life and told Rolling Stone magazine in 2014: “If I hadn’t gone with Willie, I would be in the penitentiary or I would be dead.
“I was running girls and playing music at the same time.”