Name at birth: Hiram King Williams
Hank Williams was one of the superstars of modern country music when he died in 1953, at the age of 29. He began his career as a teenager in Montgomery, Alabama and began forming his own band, the Drifting Cowboys, around 1940. A recording session in Nashville in 1946 led to an MGM contract in 1947, and that year Williams had his first big hit, "Move It on Over." By 1950 he was a touring and recording star, and his blend of blues and country drew fans from beyond the country music scene. Williams was born with a spinal problem, and surgery in 1951 only made things worse. He began taking painkillers and was earning a reputation as an unreliable drunk (the Grand Ole Opry fired him after three years, in 1952), but he was still popular with fans and continued to record a string of hit songs, including "Lovesick Blues," "Hey, Good Lookin'," "Cold, Cold Heart," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Jambalaya" and "Honky Tonk Blues." On his way to a concert in Ohio he died in the back seat of his Cadillac while a companion was driving. Williams probably died the night of 31 December 1952, but was officially pronounced dead on 1 January 1953.
His son, Hank Williams, Jr. (Randall Hank Williams), is a recording artist known for rock-flavored country hits of the 1980s, including ?All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight??. Hank Williams was given a posthumous Pulitzer prize in 2010 for his contributions to music.
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