Both aliases sum up the extraordinary range of a man who was not only a country classicist, but also one of the greatest and most influential songwriters of the 20th Century. Though Hank only released two studio albums in his lifetime, both in the early 50s, a slew of posthumously sourced recordings have continued to enhance his reputation. Disagree with our picks for the 10 greatest Hank Williams songs of all time?
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One of the most important artists in the history of recorded music, Hank Williams seemed to arrive fully formed into the post-second world war country-music landscape. But the Alabama native had spent years honing his craft. By the time he made his first records, for the Sterling label in , Williams had extensively toured the south yet those releases failed to garner much attention. Williams had been diagnosed in childhood with a spinal deformity, and a horse-riding accident in his teens left him in constant pain.
We don't know how much arguing one can make about this statement — Hank Williams was the greatest songwriter in country music history. Sure, that is a massive statement, given such composers as Harlan Howard, Bill Anderson, Don Schlitz and writer-artists as Merle Haggard have graced the genre with their greatness. But, look at the Hank Williams song catalog. We could have expanded this list, but these ten performances represent American music perhaps as well as anyone has ever done it. These songs will never die, and nor should they! One of the first posthumous releases for Williams, the inspiration for this song was reportedly his first wife - and subject for so much of his material - Audrey. He actually wrote the song while traveling from Music City to Shreveport, as he described his first wife to his then-fiancee, Billie Jean. This recording - which featured Chet Atkins on guitar - was intended to be little more than a novelty number, but this Hank Williams song became a very important one in his catalog, as the song was on the hit parade at the time of his famous last ride from Knoxville to Oak Hill, giving the song a more tragic sheen. Williams and Fred Rose attempted to record this frisky number three times before they hit the mark in late
Hank Williams certainly packed a lot of living into his 29 short years of life. By the time the singer passed away on Jan. His tunes have become country classics, and he's continued to inspire those who came after him for more than 60 years.