Friday Five: Songs About Hank Williams
Tomorrow is Hank Williams’ birthday. He’d be 88. Though he’s been dead twice as long as he was alive, he remains a central figure in the country music consciousness, perhaps due to his mysterious death as much as the masterful lyrics he penned during his too-short career. Unsurprisingly, more than a few songwriters have tackled the Hank Williams legend. Here are a few of my favorites. What are yours?
It’s not the best idea to hitch a ride from a ghostly pale, “half drunk and hollow eyed” stranger in a classic Caddy, but it seemed to work out well in this song.
“Back then they called him crazy/Nowadays they call him a saint/Now the ones that called him crazy/Are still ridin’ on his name.”
3. Ashley Monroe – Hank’s Cadillac
As you’ll hear in the clip below, Monroe wrote this song when she was just 17, imagining what she’d do to keep Hank alive if she were in the car with him on that fateful New Year’s Eve. Based on this and her songwriting on the Pistol Annies album, it seems like she spent a lot of time studying the master.
Burgers cost 30 cents and you got to see Hank Williams sing? There’s something to be said for the good old days.
This song about a ghostly encounter with Williams was penned by Jackson and Don Sampson; in 1992 it hit #3 on the country charts. It’s a fantastic song, and the music video makes it even better.
- Paul W Dennis: Tom T & Dixie Hall are good people and I wish them all the best through this difficult time
- Paul W Dennis: Actually , it is not. We have so thoroughly debased our language that it is no longer possible to praise …
- Leeann Ward: Sheesh, Paul, that's a random/strange dig!
- Jack Williams: After reading that New Yorker article, I canceled my pre-order of the Basement Tapes box set. I love Bob …
- Leeann Ward: Wow! How terrible for Dixie Hall and Tom.
- Ken Morton, Jr.: Another twisted collection of songs to put into the Friday Five Hall of Fame, Juli.
- Arlene: I'd have included "Omie Wise." Doc Watson's is the version I'm familiar with but I think it's been recorded by …
- luckyoldsun: I think the number one country murder ballad is "Frankie and Johnny"--by Jimmie. Also, how about "Delia's Gone" from Harry Belafonte …
- Juli Thanki: Colloquial use of "fantastic" as a synonym for "excellent" dates back to the 1930s. And if it's good enough for …
- Paul W Dennis: I think "Banks of The Ohio", "Miller's Cave" and "It's Nothing to Me" are far creepier than several of the …