People we love: Hank Williams

Hiram King “Hank” Williams, September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953

Born on this Day in 1923.

American singer-songwriter Hank Williams recorded 35 singles, five of them released after his death, that would find their way to the Top 10 of the Bill Board Country & Western Best Sellers Chart.

Williams began his career in 1937 when WSFA radio station in Montgomery Alabama hired him to perform a 15-minute program. He formed the Drifting Cowboys band as his backup band, but when several members of the band were drafted during World War II, Williams began drinking and he was dismissed by WSFA. He later joined the Grand Ole Opry. He had 11 numberone sonces between 1948 and 1953.

Williams married Audrey Sheppard in 1944, their son, Randall Hank Williams would gain his own fame as a country singer performing as Hank williams, Jr. Williams and Sheppard Divorced in 1952 and Williams married Bille Jean Jones Eshlimar.

On December 31, 1952, Williams was scheduled to perform at the Municipal Auditorium in Charleston, West Virginia. Unable to fly because of the weather, Williams hired a college student, Charles Carr to drive him to the concert. Unable to reach Charleston, Carr was directed to take Williams to Canton, Ohio. In Knoxville, Williams was seen by a doctor who administered two shots of vitamin B12 that also contained a quarter-grain of morphine.

When Carr stopped for gas in Oak Hill, West Virginia, he realized that Williams was dead. Empty beer cans and unfinished lyrics were found in the car.

Williams was pronounced dead on January 1, 1953. He was 29.

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