Why is Hank Williams considered a great? (lyrics, singing, country)
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I absolutely love Hank Williams. He led such a sad and short life, but wrote some amazingly poignant and heartfelt songs. You don't see that much anymore, because the REAL songwriting isn't getting on the radio, it's played during bluegrass festivals, in little podunk cafes and restaurants. I guess his voice is a little...odd, but it's one of the things that makes him stand apart. You can ALWAYS recognize Hank singing, and it's not a cookie cutter crooner voice (although I do love Sinatra )which makes it seem like he could just be sittin on the porch with a guitar and singing his heart out. Reminds me a lot of what I did for many years as a songwriter.
Simple songs that have become country standards. Good point by LRUA,
Hank Williams wrote material that the people in his era could relate to. Living in the South. Dirt poor and I mean POOR! As he cut his early material just as WW-II was ending, he wrote songs about heartbreak, loss, and despair. But most importantly, he could relate to poor folk, common folk in words that they could identify with. I don't believe that the upper country echelon was (if there was such a thing) too thrilled about him with his whiny voice and his point blank style.
JetJocky hits the nail on the head as well. He died in 1953 and was only 29.But he wrote incredible material while he was alive. He lived a troubled life and his songs reflected that. The purchase of recordings was in its infancy in his day, 78's were what people had to work with, as 45's and ep's did not come along till the early 50's. Albums were marketed in 10'' form in 1949, then 12" form in 1953.
Hank Williams is the bridge between Country Western music and Rock and Roll. Decades after his passing, his music has been covered by many artists of different genres. In fact, the 1998 box set "The Complete Hank Williams" won a Grammy. Rockabilly? Sounds like Hank!
Hank Williams Sr. and Johnny Cash define Country music. They are its two biggest figures.
Last edited by DOUBLE H; 11-28-2008 at 09:58 PM..
One time after another, many of country's greatest male stars have tipped their hat to ol' Hank. Something about those old songs of his with him singing them that send me. Whatever the magic was, he certainly had it.
Another thing, just about everybody I've ever known knows a Hank song. Jambalaya, your cheatin' heart, I'm so lonesome I could cry, Hey good lookin', and drum roll please; Move it on over. The same song George Thorogood did years later. I think Hank certainly could pick em'.
Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, the Ramones, good whiskey, espresso, stout ...
There's just some things in life that are an acquired taste. But once you're hooked, there's no going back. And there's no real explaining it either. Like trying to explain chocolate ice cream to someone who has never tasted milk, seen ice, or has the faintest idea what cocoa is.
It may be hard to compare him with the voices of today since the recording quality was so poor as compared with now. Overall though, I think he came out with the right voice at the right time. He may not have been the same smash hit super star if he came out in 2008.
I do enjoy the pureness of his voice and those incredible lyrics.
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