October 29, 1984 12:00 PM

It was just too hot,” says Willie Nelson of the shoulder-length hair that made him country music’s mane man for most of the last decade. So, having already shaved his beard for Songwriter, the current movie in which he co-stars with Kris Kristofferson, Willie woke up one morning and asked third wife Connie to invite his nephew’s wife, a hairdresser, to come over and un-lock him. Alas, Nelson’s newly scalped braids will never be displayed at the Smithsonian: Willie had them trimmed a bit at a time. The next day, even after he walked onstage at the Tennessee State Fair, most of the audience still seemed to be waiting for Willie Nelson. But when they realized who the short-haired stranger was, they applauded. “I guess the fans like it,” says Willie of the clean look. “And the ones who don’t just don’t mention it, I guess.”

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