99 Years Ago: Hank Williams Is Born
If Hank Williams was still alive, he would be celebrating his 99th birthday today (Sept. 17). The country icon was born on this date in 1923 in Alabama.
Williams, who died only a few months after his 29th birthday, penned more than 130 songs in his short life, including all-time classics such as "Hey Good Lookin'," "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," "Honky Tonkin'," "I Saw the Light" and "Your Cheatin' Heart," which became a No. 1 hit after his death. The singer died sometime during the night between Dec. 31, 1952, and Jan. 1, 1953; his cause of death was ruled as "insufficiency of the right ventricle of the heart," though it is widely believed that Williams' heart problems were exacerbated by excessive consumption of alcohol and morphine.
The country legend has continued to be enormously influential in country music in the decades since his passing: More than 40 albums of Williams' songs have been released since his death, including the 2011 record The Lost Notebooks, which features artists such as Alan Jackson, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Levon Helm and Sheryl Crow performing their versions of his classic hits. Williams' musical legacy also continues to live on in country music through his son, grandsons and granddaughters -- Hank Williams Jr., Sam Williams and Hank Williams III, and Holly Williams and Hilary Williams, respectively -- all of whom have followed in his career path.
Williams was one of the very first inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961. His life and career were immortalized in a biopic in 2015.
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.
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