Celebrating the legendary Hank Williams on what would have been his 100th birthday.
Hiram “Hank” Williams was born September 17, 1923 in rural Alabama, and at the age of 14 won his first talent competition singing an original song that he had written.
From there, Hank would go on to chart the course for a century of country music, becoming one of the most influential singers the genre has ever known with his songs like “Hey Good Lookin’,” “Lovesick Blues,” “I Saw The Light” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
Of course the life of Hank Williams was a tragic one, with his drunkenness and addiction to painkillers leading to many missed shows and his highly-publicized dismissal from the Grand Ole Opry. And just as Hank was attempting to make a comeback to restore his damaged reputation, he tragically passed away in the back of a Cadillac in Oak Hill, West Virginia on his way to a show in Canton, Ohio on New Year’s Day in 1953, at just 29 years old.
Despite his short life and career, there’s been nobody who’s had more of an influence on country music over the past century than Hank Williams, with his music influencing generations of country singers and being universally recognized as some of the greatest songs of all time.
And today, on what would have been Hank’s 100th birthday, many are paying tribute to the legendary singer who passed away much too soon.
Alan Jackson, who burst onto the scene in 1989 with a new class of neo-traditional country artists who carried on the sound of Hank Williams, paid tribute to the legend with a cover of one of his most famous songs, “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”
The song was one of the last ever recorded by Williams before his death, in a session just months before his fateful road trip. It was released posthumously in January 1953, and quickly became one of his biggest hits, a song that was synonymous with the tragic life and death of one of country music’s best.
And Alan credited Hank with his own career in paying tribute to the legend:
“Happy 100th birthday, Hank. I don’t think I’d be here without you.”
— Alan Jackson (@OfficialJackson) September 17, 2023
Happy birthday, Hank. We’re still listening 100 years later.