Hank Williams, Jr: Wikis


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Hank Williams, Jr.

Hank Williams, Jr. performing during a 2006 concert.
Background information
Birth name Randall Hank Williams
Born May 26, 1949 (1949-05-26) (age 60)
Shreveport, Louisiana, US
Genres Country, outlaw country, southern rock, country rock
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, banjo, keyboards, harmonica, fiddle, saxophone, drums[1]
Years active 1957 – present
Labels MCA, Warner Bros., Curb
Website www.hankjr.com

Randall Hank Williams (born May 26, 1949), better known as Hank Williams, Jr., is an award-winning American country singer-songwriter and musician. His musical style is often considered a blend of Southern Rock, blues, and traditional country. He is the son of country music pioneer Hank Williams, and the father of Hank Williams III, Holly Williams, Hilary Williams, Samuel Williams and Katie Williams. Samuel is expected to be an aspiring singer.

Williams began his career imitating his famed father. His style gradually evolved, until he was involved in a near fatal fall off the side of a mountain, which apparently changed his personal and professional life. After an extended recovery, he challenged the country music establishment with a blend of country, rock, and blues. After some success in the 1980s, Williams earned considerable recognition and popularity. He is now considered an elder statesman of the country and outlaw country genres.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Williams' repertoire of skills include guitar, bass guitar, upright bass, steel guitar, banjo, Dobro, piano, keyboards, harmonica, fiddle, and drums.[1]




Early life and career

Williams was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. His father nicknamed him Bocephus (after Grand Ole Opry comedian Rod Brasfield's ventriloquist dummy). After his father's untimely death in 1953, he was raised by his mother Audrey Williams. While a child, a vast number of contemporary musicians visited his family, who influenced and taught him various music instruments and styles. Among these figures of influence were Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, Earl Scruggs and Jerry Lee Lewis. He first stepped on the stage and sang his father's songs when he was eight years old. In 1963, he made his recording debut with "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," one of many of his father's classic songs.

Williams' early career was guided, and to an extent some observers say outright dominated, by his mother, who is widely claimed as having been the driving force that led his father to musical superstardom during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Audrey, in many ways, promoted young Hank Jr. as a Hank Williams impersonator, even to the extent of having stage clothes designed for him that were identical to his father's, and encouraging vocal styles very similar to those of his father's.

A change in musical direction

Although Williams' recordings earned him numerous country hits throughout the 1960s and early 1970s with his role as a "Hank Williams clone", he became disillusioned and severed ties with his mother in order to pursue his own musical direction and tastes. After recording the soundtrack to Your Cheatin' Heart, a biography of his father, he hit the charts with one of his own compositions, "Standing in the Shadows (Of a Very Famous Man)". The song signalled a move to rock and roll and other influences, as he tentatively began to step out of the titular shadow of his father.

Furthermore, during this time, Williams had his first two No. 1 songs: "All For the Love of Sunshine" (1970, featured on the soundtrack to Kelly's Heroes) and "Eleven Roses" (1972).

By the mid-1970s, Williams began to pursue musical direction that would, eventually, make him a superstar. Nevertheless, while recording a series of moderately successful songs, Williams began a heavy pattern of both drug and alcohol abuse, and eventually attempted suicide in 1973. Upon moving to Alabama, in an attempt to re-focus both his creative energy and his troubled personal life, Williams began playing music with Southern rock musicians, among them Waylon Jennings, Toy Caldwell, Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels. Hank Williams Jr. and Friends, often considered his "watershed" album, was the product of these then-groundbreaking collaborations. Just as his career was starting to see a revival, tragedy befell Hank Williams once again. While he was climbing Ajax Mountain in Montana in 1975, he fell 442 feet down the side of the mountain. His injuries were serious—his skull was split and his face was crushed—but he survived. Following extensive reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, he had to learn how to speak and sing all over again. Williams' recovery period lasted at least two years.. After two years of surgery and recovery, Williams returned to the studio releasing two albums. In 1977 Williams released One Night Stand. It was the New South album which he got to work with his old friend Waylon Jennings. Waylon produced the album and appeared with vocals on Once and For All.

Acceptance into the country music establishment

Hank Williams, Jr., in concert at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California, on August 4, 2006.

Williams' career began to hit its peak after the Nashville establishment gradually—and somewhat reluctantly—accepted his new sound. His popularity had risen to levels where he could no longer be overlooked for major industry awards. He was extremely prolific throughout the 1980s, sometimes recording and releasing two albums a year. Family Tradition, Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, Habits Old and New, Rowdy, The Pressure Is On, High Notes, Strong Stuff, Man of Steel, Major Moves, Five-O, Montana Cafe, and many others resulted in a long string of hits. In 1987 and 1988, Williams was named Entertainer Of The Year by the Country Music Association. In 1987, 1988, and 1989, he won the same award from the Academy of Country Music. The pinnacle album of his acceptance and popularity was Born to Boogie. During the 1980s, Williams became a country music superstar known for catchy anthems and hard-edged rock-influenced country. During the late 1970s and into the early to mid 1980s Hank Jr's songs constantly flew into the number one or number two spot. His songs like Family Tradition, Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, Old Habits, Ain't Misbehavin, Born to Boogie, and My Name is Bocephus.

His 1989 hit "There's a Tear in My Beer", was a duet with his father created using electronic merging techonology. The song itself was written by his father, and had been previously recorded with Hank Williams playing the guitar as the sole instrument. The music video for the song combined television footage that had existed of Hank Williams performing, onto which electronic merging technology impressed the recordings of Hank Jr., which then made it appear as if he were actually playing with his father. The video was both a critical and commercial success. It was named Video Of The Year by both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country music. Hank Williams, Jr. would go on to win a Grammy award in 1990 for Best Country Vocal Collaboration.

He is probably best known today for his hit "A Country Boy Can Survive." He may also be well known today as the performer of the theme song for Monday Night Football, based on his 1984 hit, "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight". The opening theme became a classic, as much a part of the show as the football itself. In 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994, Williams' opening themes for Monday Night Football would earn him four Emmy awards. In 2001 Hank rewrote his classic hit A Country Boy Can Survive after 9/11 renaming it America Can Survive. In 2004, Williams was featured prominently on CMT Outlaws. And in 2006 Hank starred at the Summerfest concert.

He has also made a cameo appearance along with Larry the Cable Guy, Kid Rock, and Charlie Daniels in Gretchen Wilson's music video for the song "All Jacked Up". He and Kid Rock also appeared in Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" video. Hank is also in small part of Kid Rock's video Only God Know's Why. He is also name-checked or referenced in numerous songs by modern-day country singers, including Kid Rock, Gretchen Wilson, Alan Jackson, Justin Moore, and Trace Adkins.

In April of 2009, Williams released a new single, "Red, White & Pink-Slip Blues", which charted to #43 on the country charts. The song was the lead-off single to Williams' album, 127 Rose Avenue. The album debuted and peaked at #7 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Also in July 2009, it was announced that 127 Rose Avenue would be his last album for Curb Records.[2]

From the perspective of a half-sister

Williams has a half-sister, Lycrecia Williams Hoover, with whom he shared a common mother. In an interview on December 13, 2008, for an audio-visual program held in conjunction with the Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy, she recounted her half-brother's struggle in the late 1960s to find his own voice in his father's shadow. She recounted Hank Williams Jr's negative reaction towards his father's music as he approached adulthood. She recounted his parents' battles with alcoholism which had eventually led to their separate deaths. Their mother had taken to alcoholism after Hank Williams' death. She did not think that the relationship his mother had with him or his father was as tumultuous or as domineering as commonly depicted. She depicted their mother as an enthusiatically caring woman and claimed that their mother's skill as a manager was essential to her stepfather's inability to handle business and to averting her stepfather's affinity to alcoholism. As Hank Jr's father died when he was three, Lycrecia lamented Hank Williams Jr had not been old enough to know his father. She recounted that as audiences were accustomed to his playing in his father's image, "a lot people would get up and walk out" when he played his own songs. He would respond that he had to be accepted as he was not his daddy.

Williams also has another half-sister, Jett Williams, who was given up for adoption shortly after birth.

Notable events

Williams donated $125,000 to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Biloxi, Mississippi, on October 14, 2005.[3]

On December 26, 2005, he opened Monday Night Football on ABC for the last time; the program moved to Disney corporate sibling, ESPN. Williams continues to open the show. For MNF's 2006 debut on ESPN, Williams Jr. re-recorded the MNF opening theme with an all-star jam band that included Little Richard, Questlove, Joe Perry, Clarence Clemons, Rick Nielsen, Bootsy Collins, Charlie Daniels, Steven Van Zandt and others.

Williams visited with Randal McCloy Jr., the only survivor of the Sago Mine accident, on Wednesday, January 11, 2006, in Morgantown, West Virginia. Williams traveled to the hospital after learning that McCloy was a fan of his music. "It just hit me like a ton of bricks because I had a big mountain fall in the 1970s, and they said I wouldn't live," Williams told Pittsburgh TV station KDKA-TV. "It really, really affected me, and I said, 'I've just got to go there and meet the family."

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling stating that Williams and half-sister Jett have the sole rights to sell their father's old recordings made for a Nashville radio station in the early '50s. The court rejected claims made by Polygram Records and Legacy Entertainment in releasing recordings Williams made for the Mother's Best Flour Show, a program that originally aired on WSM-AM. The recordings, which Legacy Entertainment acquired in 1997, include live versions of Williams' hits and his cover version of other songs. Polygram contended that Williams' contract with MGM Records, which Polygram now owns, gave them rights to release the radio recordings.

Williams opened for Super Bowl XL February 5, 2006, on ABC and was in the stands as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

On April 10, 2006, CMT honored Williams with the Johnny Cash Visionary Award, presenting it to him at the 2006 CMT Music Awards. Williams joins an elite circle of gifted performers to have received this prestigious mark of distinction, including Loretta Lynn (2005), Reba McEntire (2004), Johnny Cash (2003).

In August 2006 a petition was started online to place Williams into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He sold the majority of his compound outside Missoula, Montana, in 2007. He kept a small plot of land and now stays in his guesthouse when he is in Montana. He also resides in the small town of Paris, Tennessee, and owns a hunting cabin in rural Pike County, Alabama.

In 2008, Williams performed at the first annual BamaJam Music and Arts Festival in Enterprise, Alabama.[4] On January 18, 2009, Williams performed in front of a sold-out crowd at Heinz Field before the 2009 AFC Championship Game.


Williams has been politically involved with the Republican Party. On October 13, 2008, at a rally in Virginia Beach for Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, he performed "McCain-Palin Tradition", a song in support of McCain and his Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.[5]

On November 17, 2008, Williams announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 as a Republican party candidate, challenging incumbent Republican Senator Bob Corker.[6] Williams was reported to have already consulted with Senator Lamar Alexander and former Senator Bill Frist, both Republicans from Tennessee.



Year Award Awards
2007 CMT Giants CMT
2007 Tennessean of the Year Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
2006 Johnny Cash Visionary Award CMT Music Awards
2003 #20 in CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music CMT
1994 Composed Theme Emmy
1993 Composed Theme Emmy
1992 Composed Theme Emmy
1991 Composed Theme Emmy
1990 Video Of The Year TNN/Music City News
1990 Vocal Collaboration Of The Year TNN/Music City News
1989 Video Of The Year Academy of Country Music
1989 Music Video Of The Year Country Music Association
1989 Vocal Event Of The Year Country Music Association
1989 Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals Grammy
1988 Entertainer Of The Year Academy of Country Music
1988 Video Of The Year Academy of Country Music
1988 Album Of The Year Country Music Association
1988 Entertainer Of The Year Country Music Association
1987 Entertainer Of The Year Academy of Country Music
1987 Entertainer Of The Year Country Music Association
1987 Music Video Of The Year Country Music Association
1986 Entertainer Of The Year Academy of Country Music
1985 Music Video Of The Year Country Music Association
1984 Video Of The Year Academy of Country Music


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