Hank Williams

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Williams, Hank,

1923–53, American country singer and songwriter, b. near Georgiana, Ala., as Hiram Williams. He is widely regarded as the leading figure in the history of country music (see country and western musiccountry and western music,
American popular music form originating in the Southeast (country music) and the Southwest and West (western music). The two regional styles coalesced in the 1920s when recorded material became available in rural areas, and they were further
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). During his teenage years Williams began singing in Southern roadhouses, theaters, and radio stations. He signed his first recording contract in 1946 and the following year produced his first hit, "Move It On Over." In 1949 his greatest hit, "Lovesick Blues," was released and he made a spectacular debut on the Grand Ole OpryGrand Ole Opry,
weekly American radio program featuring live country and western music. The nation's oldest continuous radio show, it was first broadcast in 1925 on Nashville's WSM as an amateur showcase.
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. His melancholy voice and powerful, simply written songs earned him 27 Top 10 hits in the period 1949–53. His recordings continue to attract fans decades after his death.


See biographies by C. Escott (1994) and P. Hemphill (2005).

Williams, (Hiram) Hank

(1923–53) composer, lyricist; born in Olive Hill, Ala. As a young boy he joined the local church choir, taught himself guitar (and, legend claims, learned music from a local African-American street singer). In 1937 he won an amateur music contest and soon began singing on radio. In 1939 he formed Hank Williams and His Drifting Cowboys and began performing at honky-tonks and square dances. He worked in shipbuilding during World War II and reunited the Drifting Cowboys in 1944. He moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 1946 and became a regular performer on Louisiana Hayride, a country music radio show in 1947. In 1949 he began recording for MGM Records and caused a sensation at the "Grand Ole Opry" when he sang "Lovesick Blues" (1922, by Irving Mills and Cliff Friend), his recording of which reached No. 1 on the country music charts. Many hits followed, including "Hey, Good Lookin'" (1951) and "Your Cheatin' Heart" (1953). Called the "hillbilly Shakespeare," he wrote simple melodies mixing gospel, blues, and country, and his words and singing evoked a powerful sense of emotion; as much as anyone he was responsible for country music's being taken up by a broader public. Unsettled by a chronic back condition and a broken marriage, in 1953 he died of a heart attack attributed to drugs, alcohol, and insomnia, leaving a legacy of over 100 classic country songs. His son, Hank Williams Jr., became a popular country singer in the 1960s.
References in periodicals archive ?
It was during a television series he made for UTV that he decided to include a Hank Williams number in each show.
The book is mostly drawn from Hickey's "Simple Hearts" column in the Los Angeles journal Art issues, with such exceptions as the title piece, which appeared in these pages as "Critical Reflections," and "A Glass-Bottomed Cadillac," Hickey's Hank Williams seance.
Waylon Sings Hank Williams will be released to retailers by Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).
The life of country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams plays like a chapter pulled from Southern Gothic fiction in "Lost Highway.
From Emmett Miller and the dying embers of minstrelsy to the commercial explosion of Hank Williams and his vast influence on both country and the birth of rock 'n' roll, these books help explain how cultural forms migrate, mix, and recombine, often in invisible and unpredictable ways.
But their inconvenience will be more than offset by the elimination of brain-rattling whistles in many communities - and by the smiles on the faces of their peacefully slumbering residents who will no longer, to borrow the words of Hank Williams, "sit and cry when the ev'nin' train goes by.
From the ragged croak of "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" to the gallows grin of Bob Wills's "Trouble in Mind," Lofty Deeds tells a story of exploitation that would have been as familiar to Hank Williams as it is to Langford.
Little Richard also told us we could collect free copies of his book and photograph, and that Hank Williams was due to be playing at the venue.
Hank Williams, famous country singer, died alone, drunk, and suffering in 1953 in the back of his car on New Year's Day: Paul Hemphill journeys through Hank's life and times in a biographical which covers his hard life and the influence it had on his music.
Country singer ALAN JACKSON, who I added the lyrics "I'm a cowboy fan / Not a Brokeback man" to Hank Williams Jr.
In a review by Richard Hyatt in the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Georgia, Hyatt compares the audiences of the writer and the singer: "Paul Hemphill writes about Southerners with grease under their nails, whiskey on their breath, and a chip on their shoulder--the same blue collar folks who thought Hank Williams was singing about them.