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On my countdown of 33 Favorite Recording Artists- #31 is Hank Williams- the Hillbilly Shakespeare. The first album I remember listening to and falling in love with was an album my father owned. I wasn’t in school yet so I must have been 5 or 6 years old. The album was Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits- 14 of Hank’s All-Time Best. The album was released in 1961. Hank Williams had died the on New Years Day 1953 at the age of 29. I recall playing this album over and over. Looking back I am glad my father let me take over the album I probably played it more than he did. Also around that age I saw the movie about Hank starring George Hamilton “Your Cheatin’ Heart” as a six year old I thought it was great but I viewed it again as an adult and it was well… not up there with Citizen Kane but not total disaster. I haven’t seen the recent movie on Hank.  But even at an early age I was interested in the history and the story of Hank.

HANK WILLIAMS Greatest Hits 14 All-Time

In his short life and career Hank had 35 Top 10 hits and 11 #1 hits on the country and western charts.  Twenty years ago they came out with a box set- The Complete Hank Williams- over 10 discs 225 songs including studio sessions, demos and live performances. Of course I had to have it. I think since then they have unearthed some more live recordings but I think if you have this thing you probably have all you need.

Hank Williams “The King of Country Music’- his influence has been felt over the years not only in country music but in all contemporary music. I read an article that claimed Hank was the first ‘punk rocker” and in the way he lived his life I can see that connection. Hank Williams is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He influenced generations of both country music musicians but rockers also. I do doubt whether many of the so called popular country artists of today would even know his music. Maybe they’ve heard the name.

Anyway- a list of favorite Hank tunes would be a long one but here is a short list of some of my favorites-

  • I Saw The Light
  • Lost Highway
  • Your Cheatin’ Heart
  • I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
  • I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
  • Hey Good Lookin’
  • Honky Tonk Blues
  • I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You
  • You Win Again
  • A Mansion On The Hill
  • Take These Chains From My Heart
  • Lovesick Blues
  • Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do
  • Cold, Cold Heart
  • Settin’ The Woods On Fire
  • Kaw-Liga
  • Jambalyaya {On The Bayou}
  • Move It On Over

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The Complete Hank Williams is of course only for the fanatical. The album I’d recommend to the average fan- would be 40 Greatest Hits- it has all most would need.


40 Greatest Hits (Hank Williams, Sr. album).jpeg







  1. I’m the otherway round, Hans, I’ve seen the second film, “I saw the light”, but not the first. I highly recomment the second film and I’ll keep an eye out for the first!

  2. His songwriting was genius… quality with the quantity in his short life. Lost Highway and I’m so Lonesome… are up there in the best songs ever to me. “The silence of a falling star
    Lights up a purple sky”… You just don’t come up with that every day.

    • I will go time to time to read his lyrics…just some incredible things…not counting the melodies he put with them.
      Wasn’t Bob Dylan going to finish some unfinished songs of his at one time?

    • I think you are right on that – I wonder what happened with that project? I think if a list of the ten greatest and most important American musical artists were made- Hank would be on the list.

    • Yes he would he would be on that list. I like all the songs you had down…just quality…
      I’m going to try to hunt down that project to see what happened.

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