January , 1983
Hank Williams, Jr.
Hank Williams, Jr. moves to the big time
Hanks parents were stars in their own right. Hank Williams was the first and certainly the most enduring of country music's superstars. More than anyone else, Hank Williams was responsible for the national popularization of country music in the late 1940s. In addition. Williams was one of the most powerful songwriters ever in America popular music. Decades after his untimely death on New Year's Day, 1951, his catalog of songs including "Hey. Good Lookin.." "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry.- "Your Cheatin' Heart" and others - remains extremely popular.
Hank's mother, Audrey Williams was a country singer in her own right. She is credited with much of the responsibility of getting the senior Williams to Nashville. She was also responsible for Hank Jr.'s early on-stage performances.
Hank Jr. himself, is an accomplished instrumentalist with almost any stringed instrument placed in his hands, He plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, piano, bass and steel guitar, plus harp and other instruments. His training as a musician began literally as soon as he was old enough to hold a guitar.
Hank Jr.'s first professional perfor-
mance was at the age of eight in Swainsboro, Georgia. "I walked out on that stage with my hands stuffed into the pockets of my little black suit, and I sang "Lovesick Blues" in my little eight-year old voice. The audience l0000ved it! They went crazy. shouting about Hank's little boy " recalled Hank Jr.
First of all, Hank Williams. His daddy's music was played constantly around the Williams house, and Hank Jr. learned it all very early on. But a number of other famous musicians spent a lot of time around the Williams house, and each one taught young Hank a few tricks. Best remembered were Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles. Brenda Lee and Johnny Cash. Among his own personal favorites were Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and Chubby Checker.
At age 11, Hank Jr, premiered. with "Lovesick Blues," the Tin Pan Alley song that had made his father a star when he did the song on the Opry.
Tucker Band and Chuck LeaveII from The Allman Brothers. The Friends album signalled a major change in country music, opening the door for more rock-oriented acts to gain a toehold, Ironically, Hank Jr. didn't benefit from his landmark album. He was nearly killed in a fall on Aug. 7. 1975 in the Montana Rockies just before the album's release, and the record com pany refused to take full advantage. It was so out of character they were afraid to it. Despite Hank Jr.'s adamant arguing, they wouldn't release "Can't You See," a remake of the Marshall Tucker song. as a single. As a result, Waylon Jennings, a close personal friend of Hank Jr.'s. recorded "Can't You See" with Hank Jr.'s arrangement. The song was a huge hit for Jennings.
An accomplished sportsman, Hank Jr. hunts and fishes whenever he has the opportunity. He has hunted and fished around the world, including in Africa and the wild reaches of Alaska. A
Hank Jr. stole the show and got his own curtain call, a rarity at the Opry.
Hank Williams Jr. And Friends, recorded for MGM in 1975, has been critically acclaimed as the definitive blending of country music and Southern rock, marking the beginnings of a trend that dominated both country and rock for the better part of a decade. His "friends" included rock fiddler Charlie Daniels, Toy Caldwell of The Marshall
crack shot, he has taken all manner of dangerous game at close range with a handgun.
Currently on tour, Hank Jr. is showing the country music world that his time has come to sit on the throne of country music.
We couldn't agree more