Hank Williams

Icons of the Century

In the 50-plus years since his untimely death, country music legend Hank Williams’ influence has only deepened. You don’t have to know that Tony Bennett, Jo Stafford and Joni James all struck crossover gold in the 1950s with Williams songs (“Cold Cold Heart, “Jambalaya” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart” respectively) to feel his influence upon American popularmusic and contemporary songcraft.

But sadly the current country music scene he helped create shows no sign he ever existed. The mournful melodies and lyrics of songs like “I Can’t Help It” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” soulful vocals on everything from “Alone and Forsaken” to “Kaw-Liga” wouldn’t attract one bland country radio programmer today.

Who cares? His creative children are still out “Honky-Tonkin’,” from Bob Dylan to the Cowboy Junkies, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty and Ryan Adams and his spiritual heirs still hear his voice wherever they are out on the “Lost Highway.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading