It’s his birthday today.
He came to Nashville and he just set this whole world on fire. He was the first one to go to Las Vegas as a country singer, he was the first one in a major hotel in New York City to work. He opened a lot of doors for us. Of course he closed a lot of them for us later on in his career when he really got into trouble with his boozing and his personal life and all. When Hank got into his own personal problems later on, it completely ruined him, in a way, in the industry. It didn’t ruin the love that people had for him but it hurt him from the booking – bookers wouldn’t take chances on him because they knew if they booked him they might have an auditorium full and Hank, 1 time out of 10, might show up. He was in so much trouble personally. They had made an addict of him anyway when he fell off that horse and hurt his back and they gave him morphine. So Hank suffered. I know I’ve seen him on the floor on his back, tears running out of his eyes it was hurting so bad. It’s a sad thing. People that don’t know say, ‘Oh, he died a dope addict.’ Well, that ain’t really true. He died a sick man.
– Faron Young, singer/songwriter
Unforgettable tributes by two country giants:
One of my favorite moments – in my life, in general – happened a year ago when I went to go see Wanda Jackson play at a big hall out in New Jersey. Wanda plays Hank’s “I Saw the Light” every show, as a tribute to her Christian faith. Joan Jett had shown up at the hall, to see Wanda’s show. There was no assigned seating so the crowd just clustered up against the stage. During Wanda’s rousing version of “I Saw the Light” a couple of blazingly emotional things happened:
1. Everyone sang along. This was a song written almost a century ago. Goosebumps.
2. I was standing near Joan Jett in the crowd. Everyone respectfully let her alone, but of course we all were WELL AWARE of her presence. I glanced over during “I Saw the Light” and there she was, deadpan face (of course), but moving around to the beat, singing along.
Hank Williams, man. White hats off.