I feel so very fortunate to have grown up at the time that Hank Williams was singing and creating his music. In my teens, it became my very first love. That love has never diminished even now at age 88 years.
Hank first came to my attention with his Lovesick Blues hit song. It was awesome. It was like a totally new sound. It had feelings like nothing before. I could never afford to buy records, but I just had to own a part of this great singer. I saved enough to buy his second hit record, Cold, Cold Heart, a 78 rpm single. The LP’s, long playing 33 rpm’s came out years later.
I was living in Oakland, CA where where all my friends followed only the Pop music scene such as the Top-40. Country music was considered low-brow then. I enjoyed all music, but when listening to the radio, it was always country music and was not to be shared with my friends.
Hank died suddenly of a kind of exhaustion or depletion while traveling from town to town in the Winter cold, January 1, 1053. They said it was a heart attack. Hank Williams was only 29 years old.
My life then moved on to marriage, children, and a career of 35 years. Hank was fading away from me through the decades of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I later learned that he was still very well known and popular in Asia and Europe. The World loved his heart-felt musical creations about real people. His songs were alive with feelings. His music and lyrics will live on throughout the ages. His lyrics represent a snap-shot of the times he lived.
Then, a miracle brought him back to me. The digital world ushered in the likes of Napster, and then Pandora. My old love returned, and it was better than ever due to digital remastering. All the scratches from the needle and turntable were gone! This was like a second miracle indeed. Now on my computer I could listen to all of my most cherished music from the 1930’s and to the present. I downloaded over 700 music items. This was an exciting time to be living. Our new century was just beginning with accelerating change.
The great joy of easy, nonstop listening was indescribably moving as old memories from childhood came flooding back to me. Relaxing cock-tale hours of playing cards on the computer while listening to cherished music became my new reality. I proudly claimed my most prized possession to be my digital music collection. Gone were the days of mechanically playing a record or a tape and of limited play times which needed constant attention.
Being born in 1928 put me in an enviable position. I had a very long time frame of song memories to be re-enjoyed. Younger people had no such thing. I doubt they ever will because the early days of radio music was of a certain romantic period that will never return. The music business for the creative musician was a pathway to wealth. It was a period for the most talented musical minds to flourish. That makes the music and lyrics of the 1930’s to 1950’s to be very special.
The fame and fortune of Hank Williams continued long after his death in 1953. Hundreds of his unreleased records were made public since then, and played on Pandora radio where I also enjoyed them immensely. And then in 2010 a most remarkable thing happened. He was posthumously awarded the coveted Pulitzer Prize, a Special Awards and Citation for his pivotal role in transforming country music.
… Yes, Hank Williams was the Father of Country Music, and,