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    Williams, Hank (17th September 1923-1st January 1953)

    He is a country singer-songwriter and musician who was born Hiram King Williams in Mount Olive, southwest of Georgiana, Alabama. He was named after the historical Hiram I of Tyre who lived in around 950 BC and when he was born it was never discovered he suffered from a mild form of spina bifida which would give him pain the whole of his life.  He moved to Fountain, Alabama, to stay with relatives, and learned to play the guitar with his Aunt Alice.  After returning to Georgiana he met up with the blues musician Rufus Payne who would become his mentor until the family moved to Montgomery in 1937.  This is where Hiram changed his name to Hank as he decided that it would be better suited to country music, which was the career he was looking at following.  He sang in front of the WSFA radio studios after school and at weekends and when he had been noticed by the producers he would sometimes be asked in to perform on air.  Because the listeners had asked to here more of him he was given his own 15 minute slot twice a week.  This paved the way for him to progress in the industry and he started his own band, The Drifting Cowboys.  He dropped out of school and they toured regularly while he still hosted his radio show.  In WWII the members of the band were all drafted and Hank fell into alcoholism which turned away many of their replacements.  The singer Roy Acuff had tried to advise him, but was unheeded, and Hank lost his job at the radio station in 1942 for "habitual drunkenness".  His career was still a successful one though and he succeeded in having 12 No. 1 hits including "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", "Hey Good Lookin'", "Jambalaya", "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "Take These Chains From My Heart".  After singing at the Grand Ole Opry in 1949 he became the first performer to receive six encores and that same year he had seven hit songs.  He was also known as Luke the Drifter where he would sing more religious songs, but he was still known as Hank Williams for his country songs.  He was fired from the Grand Ole Opry in 1952 due to his alcoholism and drug abuse.  Not long after that the Drifting Cowboys also left him giving the reason that he was "drinking more than a show would pay".  After being unable to fly, due to bad weather, he hired a chauffeur to take him to Canton, Ohio where he was to perform, and before he left he was injected with morphine and B12 to help with pain.  During the journey they stopped at a service-station where he was discovered dead in the back seat at just 29 years old.  His funeral was said to be the largest event ever held for a citizen in Montgomery, Alabama.  His children are Hank Williams Jr. who is a very successful country music star, and Jett Williams, born 5 days after her father's death, who is also a country musician.    Ranked at #74 in the Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Artists of All Time he is an inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.  His songs have been covered by hundreds of artists ranging from Elvis Presley to The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

     

    Patsy Brewer Recordings

    Your Cheatin' Heart (Hank Williams)                                                            

    Pilot Master, 8061-37B

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Williams#Childhood
    2. http://www.hankwilliams.com/
    3. http://imdb.com/name/nm0930729/

     

                         

     

     

     



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