1937: Hank Williams Sr.

 Feb, 16 - 2014   no comments   1940s Music

Williams_Hank_011a.jpgHank Williams, Sr. (/hæŋk wɪljəmz /; September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953), born Hiram King Williams, was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Regarded as one of the most significant country music artists, Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that would place in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one. Born in Mount Olive, Butler County, Alabama, Williams moved to Georgiana, where he met Rufus Payne, a black street performer who gave him guitar lessons in exchange for meals or money. Payne had a major influence on Williams’s later musical style. During this time, Williams informally changed his name to Hank, believing it to be a better name for country music. He moved to Montgomery and his music career began there in 1937 when WSFA radio station producers hired him to perform and host a 15-minute program. He formed as backup the Drifting Cowboys band, which was managed by his mother, and dropped out of school to devote his time to his career. When several of his band members were conscripted into military service during World War II, Williams had trouble with their replacements and was dismissed by WSFA due to his alcoholism. Williams eventually married Audrey Sheppard, who managed the singer for nearly a decade. After recording “Never Again” and “Honky Tonkin'” with Sterling Records, he signed a contract with MGM Records. In 1948 he released “Move it on Over”, which became a hit, and also joined the Louisiana Hayride radio program. One year later, he released a cover of “Lovesick Blues”, which carried him into the mainstream of music. After an initial rejection, Williams joined the Grand Ole Opry. He had 11 number one songs between 1948 and 1953, though he was unable to read or notate music to any significant degree. Among the hits he wrote were “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Hey, Good Lookin'”, and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”. Several years of back pain, alcoholism and prescription drug abuse severely deteriorated Williams’s health; he divorced Audrey and was dismissed by the Grand Ole Opry, citing unreliability and frequent drunkenness. Williams died in the early morning hours of New Years Day in 1953 at the age of 29 from heart failure exacerbated by pills and alcohol. Despite his short life, Williams has had a major influence on twentieth-century popular music. The songs he wrote and recorded have been covered by numerous artists, and have been hits in various genres including pop, gospel, and blues. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

  • Hiram King Williams
  • Luke the Drifter
  • The Hillbilly Shakespeare
  • The Singing Kid
  • Country
  • Western
  • gospel
  • blues
  • honky-tonk
  • folk
Year Album
1952 Hank Williams Sings
Moanin’ the Blues
1953 Memorial Album
Hank Williams as Luke the Drifter
1954 Honky Tonkin’
I Saw the Light
Ramblin’ Man
1957 36 of His Greatest Hits
Sing Me a Blue Song
1958 Hank Williams Sings 36 More of His Great Hits
The Immortal Hank Williams
1959 The Unforgettable Hank Williams
1960 Wait for the Light to Shine
The Lonesome Sound of Hank Williams
1961 The First, Last & Always
I’m Blue Inside
1962 Hank Williams on Stage
1963 On Stage Volume II
1965 Father & Son (w/ Hank Williams, Jr.)
1966 The Legend Lives Anew
1967 Hank Williams / Hank Williams Jr. Again (w/ Hank Williams, Jr.)
1968 In the Beginning
Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits
1969 The Essential Hank Williams
1970 Life to Legend
1973 The Legend of Hank Williams in Song and Story (w/ Hank Williams, Jr.)
1974 Insights Into Hank Williams in Song and Story
1976 Hank Williams, Sr. / Live at the Grand Ole Opry
24 of Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits
1977 24 Greatest Hits Vol. 2
1978 40 Greatest Hits
1985 Just Me and My Guitar
1992 The Best of Hank & Hank (w/ Hank Williams, Jr.)
1994 The Hits, Volume 1
1996 Three Hanks: Men with Broken Hearts (w/ Hank Williams, Jr. & Hank Williams III)
1998 The Complete Hank Williams
20 of Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits
2002 The Ultimate Collection
2005 Hank Williams Gold
2008 The Unreleased Recordings
The Unreleased Recordings
2009 The Unreleased Recordings: Gospel Keepsakes
The Unreleased Recordings: Revealed
2010 The Complete Mother’s Best Recordings…Plus!
2011 Bound for the Promised Land
Icon: Hank Williams
2012 The Greatest Hits Live: Volume 1
The Greatest Hits Live: Volume 2
The Lost Concerts


Year Song Peak positions Album
US Country US
1947 “Never Again (Will I Knock on Your Door)” singles only
“Wealth Won’t Save Your Soul”
“My Love for You (Has Turned to Hate)”
“Pan American”
“Move It On Over” 4
“On the Banks of the Old Ponchartrain”
1948 “My Sweet Love Ain’t Around” Moanin’ the Blues
“Honky Tonkin'” 14 Honky Tonkin’
“I’m a Long Gone Daddy” 6 Moanin’ the Blues
“I Saw the Light” I Saw the Light
“A Mansion on the Hill” 12 Hank Williams Sings
1949 “Lovesick Blues” 1 24 Moanin’ the Blues
“Wedding Bells” 2 Hank Williams Sings
“Mind Your Own Business” 5 singles only
“You’re Gonna Change (Or I’m Gonna Leave)” 4
“My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It” 2 Honky Tonkin’
1950 “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Living” 5 single only
“Long Gone Lonesome Blues” 1 Moanin’ the Blues
“Why Don’t You Love Me” 1 single only
“Why Should We Try Anymore” 9 Sing Me a Blue Song
“Moanin’ the Blues” 1 Moanin’ the Blues
1951 “Cold, Cold Heart” 1 The Memorial Album
“Howlin’ at the Moon” 3 Honky Tonkin’
“Hey Good Lookin’” 1 The Memorial Album
“(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle” 9 Ramblin’ Man
“Baby, We’re Really in Love” 4 Honky Tonkin’
1952 “Honky Tonk Blues” 2 Moanin’ the Blues
“Half as Much” 2 The Memorial Album
“Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” 1 20 Honky Tonkin’
“Settin’ the Woods on Fire” 2 The Memorial Album
“I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive” 1 Honky Tonkin’


Year Song US Country Original A-side single
1949 “Never Again (Will I Knock on Your Door)” 6 “Lovesick Blues”
“Lost Highway” 12 “You’re Gonna Change (Or I’m Gonna Leave)”
1950 “My Son Calls Another Man Daddy” 9 “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”
“They’ll Never Take Her Love from Me” 5 “Why Should We Try Anymore”
“Nobody’s Lonesome for Me” 9 “Moanin’ the Blues”
1951 “Dear John” 8 “Cold, Cold Heart”
“I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)” 2 “Howlin’ at the Moon”
“Crazy Heart” 4 “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle”
1952 “You Win Again” 10 “Settin’ the Woods on Fire”
1953 “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (posthumous) 1 “Kaw-Liga”

Posthumous singles

Year Song Peak positions Album
US Country US
1953 “Kaw-Liga” 1 The Memorial Album
“Take These Chains from My Heart” 1 Ramblin’ Man
“I Won’t Be Home No More” 4 Honky Tonkin’
“Weary Blues from Waitin’” 7 Moanin’ the Blues (1956 album)
“Calling You” I Saw the Light
1954 “Low Down Blues” Moanin’ the Blues (1956 album)
“How Can You Refuse Him Now” I Saw the Light
“I Ain’t Go Nothin’ but Time” single only
“Angel of Death” I Saw the Light
1955 “Please Don’t Let Me Love You” 9 The Immortal Hank Williams
“Message to My Mother” I Saw the Light (1956 album)
“Teardrop on a Rose” single only
“At the First Fall of Snow” The Immortal Hank Williams
“Battle of Armagedeon” single only
1956 “California Zephyr” The Immortal Hank Williams
“I Wish I Had a Nickel”
“Singing Waterfall” Sing Me a Blue Song
“The Pale Horse and His Rider” singles only
1957 “Ready to Go Home”
“Leave Me Alone with the Blues”
“Waltz of the Wind” The Immortal Hank Williams
1958 “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It” Honky Tonkin’
“Just Waitin’” single only
1965 “Lovesick Blues” Father and Son
“The Pale Horse and His Rider” (w/ Audrey Williams) Mr. and Mrs. Hank Williams
1966 “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” 43 109 Legend Lives Anew with Strings
“They’ll Never Take Her Love from Me”
1967 “Dear John” Hank Williams More with Strings
1976 “Why Don’t You Love Me” 61 Insight into Hank Williams

List of songs written by Hank Williams

I hang my head and cry Hank Williams as Luke The Drifter – Men With Broken Hearts  Hank Williams on the Kate Smith Evening Hour vol. 2  Rare Hank Willimans Video 1952 – Cold Cold Heart Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain by Hank Williams   I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY (1949) hey good lookin’ The Very Best Of Hank Williams (Full Album)  The Funeral Of Hank Williams Sr, 1–4–1953

  • Sterling
  • MGM
  • Drifting Cowboys
  • Hank & Audrey
  • Three Hanks
  1. http://www.biography.com/people/hank-williams-9532414
  2. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/hank-williams-mn0000549797/biography
  3. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/hank-williams/about-hank-williams/734/
  4. http://countrymusichalloffame.org/full-list-of-inductees/view/hank-williams
  5. http://hankwilliams.com/
  6. http://www.hankwilliamsfestival.com/
  7. http://rockhall.com/inductees/hank-williams/bio/
  8. http://thehankwilliamsmuseum.net/
  9. http://www.hankwilliamsdiscography.com/
  10. http://www.discogs.com/artist/256313-Hank-Williams

Related articles

Leave a Reply