79 Facts About Hank Williams


Hiram "Hank" Williams was an American singer, songwriter, and musician.


Hank Williams is regarded as one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century.


Hank Williams began his professional career in Montgomery in 1937 when local radio station WSFA hired him to perform on a 15-minute program.


Hank Williams formed the Drifting Cowboys backup band, which was managed by his mother, and dropped out of school to devote his time to his career.


Hank Williams married Audrey Sheppard, who managed his career for nearly a decade.


Hank Williams was dismissed by the Grand Ole Opry because of his unreliability and alcoholism.


Hank Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the Native American Music Awards Hall of Fame in 1999, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Hank Williams was born Hiram Williams on September 17,1923, in the rural community of Mount Olive in Butler County, Alabama.


Hank Williams was the third child of Jessie Lillybelle "Lillie" and Elonzo Huble "Lon" Williams.


Hank Williams was named after Hiram I of the Book of Kings.


Hank Williams's name was misspelled as "Hiriam" on his birth certificate, which was prepared and signed when he was 10 years old.


Hank Williams was born with spina bifida occulta, a birth defect of the spinal column that caused him lifelong pain and became a major factor in his later alcohol and drug abuse.


At the age of three, Hank Williams sat with his mother as she played the organ at the Mount Olive Baptist Church.


Hank Williams received his first instrument, an harmonica, at the age of six.


In 1930, when Hank Williams was seven years old, Elonzo began experiencing facial paralysis.


Hank Williams remained hospitalized for eight years and was mostly absent throughout Williams' childhood.


Hank Williams learned to play basic guitar chords from his aunt and listened to music that was played at dances and in area churches.


Hank Williams worked in a cannery and served as a night-shift nurse in the local hospital.


Hank Williams told Hill that her mother was interested in talking to him about her problems.


Hank Williams followed Rufus "Tee-Tot" Payne, a street performer who gave Hank Williams guitar lessons in exchange for money or meals prepared by Lillie.


Later on, Hank Williams recorded "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It", one of the songs Payne taught him.


Hank Williams was influenced by other country acts, most notably by Roy Acuff.


In 1937, Hank Williams got into a fight with his physical education teacher about exercises the coach wanted him to do.


Payne and Hank Williams lost touch, though Payne eventually moved to Montgomery, where he died in poverty in 1939.


Hank Williams wrote the lyrics and used the tune of Riley Puckett's "Dissatisfied".


Hank Williams never learned to read music; instead he based his compositions in storytelling and personal experience.


Hank Williams showed up unannounced at the family's home in Montgomery.


Hank Williams dropped out of school in October 1939 so that he and the Drifting Cowboys could work full-time.


Lillie Hank Williams began booking show dates, negotiating prices and driving them to some of their shows.


Meanwhile, between tour schedules, Hank Williams returned to Montgomery to host his radio show.


Many of their replacements quit the band due to Hank Williams' worsening alcoholism, and in August 1942 WSFA fired him for "habitual drunkenness".


In 1943, Hank Williams met Audrey Sheppard at a medicine show in Banks, Alabama.


In 1945, back in Montgomery, Hank Williams returned to WSFA radio.


On September 14,1946, Hank Williams auditioned for Nashville's Grand Ole Opry by the recommendation of Ernest Tubb, but was rejected.


Audrey Hank Williams asked Rose if her husband could sing a song for him at that moment, Rose agreed, and he liked Hank Williams' musical style.


The Sterling releases of Hank Williams' songs became successful, and Rose decided to look for a larger label for future releases.


Hank Williams signed with MGM Records in 1947 and released "Move It on Over"; now considered an early example of rock and roll music, the song became a country hit.


Hank Williams eventually started to host a show on KWKH and began touring across western Louisiana and eastern Texas, always returning on Saturdays for the weekly broadcast of the Hayride.


Hank Williams' version was a hit; the song stayed at number one on the Billboard charts for four consecutive months.


On June 11,1949, Hank Williams made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry, where he became the first performer to receive six encores.


Hank Williams brought together Bob McNett, Hillous Butrum, Jerry Rivers and Don Helms to form the most famous version of the Drifting Cowboys.


Hank Williams' career reached a peak in the late summer of 1951 with his Hadacol tour of the US with Bob Hope and other actors.


On November 14,1951, Hank Williams flew to New York with his steel guitar player Don Helms where he appeared on television for the first time on Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall.


On May 21,1951, Hank Williams was admitted to North Louisiana Sanitarium for the treatment of his alcoholism, leaving on May 24.


That same year, Hank Williams had a brief extramarital affair with dancer Bobbie Jett, with whom he fathered a daughter, Jett Hank Williams.


Audrey Hank Williams divorced him that year; the next day he recorded "You Win Again" and "I Won't Be Home No More".


Hank Williams returned to Shreveport to perform on KWKH and WBAM shows and in the Louisiana Hayride, for which he toured again.


Hank Williams's performances were acclaimed when he was sober, but despite the efforts of his work associates to get him to shows sober, his abuse of alcohol resulted in occasions when he did not appear or his performances were poor.


Hank Williams met Horace "Toby" Marshall in Oklahoma City, who said that he was a doctor.


Hank Williams purchased the DSC title for $25 from the Chicago School of Applied Science; in the diploma, he requested that the DSc be spelled out as "Doctor of Science and Psychology".


The marriage was always turbulent and rapidly disintegrated, and Hank Williams developed serious problems with alcohol, morphine, and other painkillers prescribed for him to ease the severe back pain caused by his spina bifida occulta.


In June 1952, Hank Williams moved to a house on the Nashville section of the Natchez Trace, which he shared with singer Ray Price.


Hank Williams's mother adopted Jett, who became a ward of the state after her grandmother's death.


Hank Williams was adopted and raised by an unrelated couple and did not learn that she was Williams' daughter until the early 1980s.


Fitzgerald was interviewed, and he suggested that Lillie Hank Williams operated a brothel at her boarding house in Montgomery.


Hank Williams was scheduled to perform at the Municipal Auditorium in Charleston, West Virginia, on December 31,1952.


Back in Knoxville, the two arrived at the Andrew Johnson Hotel, and Carr requested a doctor for Hank Williams, who was affected by the combination of the chloral hydrate and alcohol he had consumed on the way to Knoxville.


Carr and Hank Williams checked out of the hotel, but the porters had to carry Hank Williams to the car as he was coughing and hiccupping.


Hank Williams wrote that Williams had been severely beaten and kicked in the groin recently, and local magistrate Virgil F Lyons ordered an inquest into Williams' death concerning a welt that was visible on his head.


That evening in Canton, when Hank Williams' death was announced to the gathered crowd, they started laughing because they thought it was just another excuse.


Hank Williams's funeral was said to have been the largest gathering held in Montgomery, surpassing the inauguration of Jefferson Davis.


Hank Williams' remains are interred at the Oakwood Annex in Montgomery.


The Country Music Hall of Fame stressed that Hank Williams "set the agenda for contemporary country songcraft" and the "standard by which success is measured in country music".


Hank Williams had 11 number one country hits in his career, as well as many other top 10 hits.


On February 8,1960, Hank Williams' star was placed at 6400 Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Hank Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, and into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1985.


Hank Williams was ranked second in CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003, behind only Johnny Cash who recorded the song "The Night Hank Williams Came To Town".


Canadian singer Sneezy Waters performed as Williams in the stage play Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave.


In 1999, Hank Williams was inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame.


Meanwhile, Lewis Fitzgerald's son Ricky billed himself as Hank Williams IV following his father's claim of being Williams' son.


Hank Williams said that Bob Dylan was given the first opportunity to perform 12 songs for a CD compilation.


Hank Williams later said that although Dylan had said nothing about them at first, she recognized them immediately as her grandfather's work.


Hank Williams then said he had been asked to possibly cut an entire album, or that he might have other artists perform them.


Hank Williams heard nothing more about it for two years until Mary Martin revived the project and she got a phone call from her publishing company saying it was time for her to pick up some samples of the available material.


The completed album, named The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, included the contributions of Bob Dylan and Holly Williams, as well as recordings by Alan Jackson, Jack White, Jakob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Patty Loveless, Levon Helm, Sheryl Crow, and Merle Haggard.


Material recorded by Hank Williams, originally intended for radio broadcasts to be played when he was on tour or for its distribution to radio stations nationwide, resurfaced over the years.


Hank Williams had an agreement giving his first wife half of the royalties, but allegedly there was no clarification that the deal was valid after his death.


In 1951, Hank Williams hosted a 15-minute show for Mother's Best Flour on WSM radio.


The court rejected claims made by PolyGram Records and Legacy Entertainment in releasing recordings Hank Williams made for the Mother's Best Flour Show.