Hank Williams Sr. Biography

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Birth Name: Hiram King Williams
Born: 1923/09/17
Birth Place: Montgomery, Alabama, US
Died: 1953/01/01
Years Active: 1937-1952
Genres: Country And Western


Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953), born Hiram King Williams, was an American singer-songwriter and musician regarded as among the greatest country music stars of all time. He charted eleven number one songs between 1948 and 1953, though unable to read or write music to any significant degree. His hits included "Lovesick Blues", "Long Gone Lonesome Blues", "Why Don't You Love Me", "Moanin' the Blues", "Cold, Cold Heart", "Hey Good Lookin'", "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)", "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive", "Kaw-Liga", "Your Cheatin' Heart", "Take These Chains from My Heart" — as well as many other top ten hits.

In 1946, Williams recorded two singles for Sterling Records—"Never Again" (1946) and "Honky Tonkin'" (1947)—both of which were successful. Williams soon signed with MGM Records, and released "Move It On Over", a massive country hit. After a few more moderate hits, Williams released his version of Emmet Miller's composition, made popular by Rex Griffin, a tune called "Lovesick Blues" in 1949, which became a huge country hit and crossed over to mainstream audiences.

That year, Williams sang the song at the Grand Ole Opry, where he became the first performer to receive six encores. In addition, Hank brought together Bob McNett (guitar), Hillous Butrum (bass), Jerry Rivers (fiddle) and Don Helms (steel guitar) to form the most famous version of his backing band the Drifting Cowboys. 1949 also saw Williams release seven hit songs after "Lovesick Blues", including "Wedding Bells", "Mind Your Own Business", "You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave)" and "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It".

In 1950, Williams began recording as Luke the Drifter, an appellation given to him for use in identifying his religion-themed recordings, many of which are recitations rather than singing. Fearful that disc jockeys and jukebox operators would become hesitant to accept these non-traditional Williams recordings, thereby hurting the marketability of Williams's name, the name Luke the Drifter was employed to cloak the identity of the artist.

Around this time, Williams released more hit songs, such as "My Son Calls Another Man Daddy", "They'll Never Take Her Love from Me", "Why Should We Try Any More?", "Nobody's Lonesome for Me", "Long Gone Lonesome Blues", "Why Don't You Love Me?", "Moanin' the Blues" and "I Just Don't Like This Kind of Livin'".

In 1951, "Dear John" became a hit but the B-side, "Cold, Cold Heart", has endured as one of his most famous songs, aided by the No. 1 pop version by Tony Bennett in 1951 being the first of many recordings of Williams's songs in a non-country genre. That same year, Williams released other hits, including "Crazy Heart".

Williams died at age 29; his death is widely believed to have resulted from a mixture of alcohol and drugs. His son Hank Williams, Jr., daughter Jett Williams, and grandchildren Hank Williams III, Holly Williams, and Hilary Williams are also professional singers.

His songs have been recorded by hundreds of other artists, many of whom have also had hits with the tunes, in a range of pop, gospel, blues and rock styles. Williams has been covered by performers including Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Cake, Kenny Rankin, Beck Hansen, Johnny Cash, Tony Bennett, The Residents, Patsy Cline, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and Tom Waits.




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