1923 - 1953
Born Hiram Williams in Georgiana, Alabama, Hank is considered to be the greatest country singer of all time, with his music being hailed as American Classics and his style influential to many country artists both past and present.
Hank always had music inside him, and by age 13 he would spend most of his spare time making music on a cheap guitar in between shining shoes, selling newspapers and selling peanuts to help support his family. One year later he started playing with a band and began to form his own style of music, blending the sounds of the music he had come to love, such as gospel, western, and "black" music that he had heard on the streets.
In 1937 he formed "The Drifting Cowboys" which played in area honkytonks, but when World War II hit, Williams temporarily began work as a welder in the shipyards.
Fred Rose, heard some of Hank's tunes, and immediately signed him to a contract, and eventually got him signed to MGM. Not long after Hank began performing on the famed "Louisiana Hayride" Radio Show.
With his success on the "Hayride" and several recording hits, Hank finally made his debut at the Grand Ol' Opry in 1949. The Opry had put off inviting Hank, because they felt they had a "Clean and wholesome" image to protect, and Hank didn't quite fit the bill... But perform he did, and to the shock of the Opry family, he received and unprecedented 6 encores! Williams became an Opry regular, and with the now reformed Drifting Cowboys began to tour across the U.S., Canada, and even Germany (to entertain the troops).
With more hits on the charts, Hank was in big demand with both Country and Pop audiences. His songs were honest and seemed to hit home in a manner that everyone could relate to.
His life was far from perfect. Excessive consumption of alcohol and pills, divorce... but through it all Hank had a gift of music, a gift that continues to give to generation after generation of music lovers.
Hank Williams Sr. Passed away January 1st, 1953 in the back seat of his powder blue Cadillac of heart failure.
The record on top of the country charts the day he died was his own: "I'll never Get Out of This World Alive"
© 1997 Eddie Bear Productions