Monthly Archives: August 2011

Five Things I’ve Learned From Hank Williams

One of my favorite country music stars is Hank Williams.  Hank started singing professionally when he was 16.  His first hit song was Move It On Over, recorded in 1947.  He was 23.  By the age of 25, he was a superstar.  Four years later he died at 29.

Hank had a turbulent personal life. His relationship with his first wife was stormy and gave him much of his song writing material. Personal and career pressures and almost constant pain (from Spina Bifida Occulta) led to problems with alcohol. The addition of morphine and chloral hydrate was a lethal combination that led to his death.

He couldn’t read music, yet he wrote almost 300 songs.  He recorded 66 songs under his own name and 37 of those became hits.  Many of Hank’s songs became popular classics and were recorded by other artists. His songs were known, and still are,  for their direct, emotional lyrics.  He sang in a bluesy, lonesome, sincere manner. Some of his songs were silly, some inspirational, some high and lonesome. “I Saw The Light” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” are two of his timeless songs.

One of his later songs was The Angel of Death, so somber that his recording company did not want him to record it.

Chorus:
When the angel of death comes down after you
Can you smile and say that you have been true
Can you truthfully say with your dying breath
That you’re ready to meet the angel of death?

So what have I learned from Hank Williams?  On the surface we couldn’t be more different, but here are the five  things I have learned from Hank Williams.

1. If you want to be a success, you have to work at it.

2.  Writing should come from the heart.

3.  For life to have meaning, there must be love.

4.  Art imitates life.

5. Practice, practice, practice.

Whom have you learned from?  What did you learn?

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