In 1952, I lived in Kentucky and all my friends and I haunted our radios just hoping to hear our idol, country music star Hank Williams’ records. He was just the best there was and we all loved him. When “Your Cheatin’ Heart” came out in 1953, it hit #1 on the country charts and stayed there for weeks. What we didn’t know then was that Hank Williams was already dead when this song hit the airwaves. You see, his heart “told on him.”

“When Tears Come Down Like Fallin’ Rain…”

This is a line from “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” that goes on to say “You’ll toss around and call my name,” and many of us did after we found out about his death. We truly grieved because we all felt as though we knew him through his songs. When we heard “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” we knew exactly what that lonesomeness felt like. When he sang “Hey, Goodlookin’,” we just knew he was talking to us. “Lovesick Blues” became the exact way we felt about him. Every song was meant for us, his people, and we all knew we shared the same kind of country way of life with him. He was one of us.

He was a good ol’ boy from Alabama

Born in Mount Olive, Alabama, his Momma practically raised him alone from a young age, as his father began years of hospitalization at a VA hospital from injuries suffered during WW1. Hank, (born Hiram,) also had health problems, having been born with spina bifida occulta, a disorder of the spinal column. He would suffer from back pain all his life, resulting in an abuse of alcohol and prescription painkillers that would eventually take his life at the young age of 29.

Hear the man himself, the great sound and timber of his voice, even in those days of early recording techniques. These are some of his very best songs.

Hank Williams wrote many of his own songs, but never learned to read music.

He was taught to play guitar in his youth by Rufus Payne, a black street performer.

"Your Cheatin' Heart" has been "covered" by such recording artists as Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, LeeAnn Rimes, Glen Campbell, Patsy Cline and many more.

"Your Cheatin' Heart" was also the title of a 1963 film starring George Hamilton.

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What are your thoughts on this country music star who left us too soon? Please leave a comment.

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  • Brite-Ideas Feb 12, 2014 @ 9:19 am
    Congratulations Nancy on receiving 'Review of the Day' !
  • carknack Feb 11, 2014 @ 12:37 am
    I am a Musician, and I do several of Hank's big hits, They go over big with my audiences everytime. I wanted to be able to talk a little bit about Hank them as I played and sang them, to give some background to the songs. Your article has been a big help, thanks
  • MSchindel Feb 09, 2014 @ 4:55 pm
    Nancy, congratulations on your terrific Review of the Day! I had no idea that Hank Williams was only 29 when he died, nor that he had serious health problems, was in constant pain, died because off drug and alcohol abuse to try to dull that pain, and never learned to read music. He certainly made his mark during his short time on this earth. Thank you for sharing such an informative, touching and compelling article, my friend!
  • nancycarol Feb 09, 2014 @ 5:08 pm
    Thank you for your visit Margaret. I always try to impart some new information in each lens I write and from your comment it sounds like I succeeded! Thanks again!
  • DANCINGCOWGIRLDESIGN Feb 05, 2014 @ 9:10 pm
    Oh ya, now your talking. I grew up on Hank Williams and bet I can sing nearly every song.
  • bloomingrose Feb 05, 2014 @ 5:58 pm
    Lovely review. I did not realize that Hank Williams had died over prescription medicine abuse from his spina bifida. He was such a bright, if a shooting star. Congrats on being featured as review of the day! Bookmarked.
  • kinworm Feb 05, 2014 @ 12:50 pm
    It is sad that a talent like this was taken too soon with a young death but great that his songs live on. Great review, Nancy.
  • veryirie Feb 05, 2014 @ 12:42 pm
    I did not know Hank Williams couldn't read music. There was always an album of his playing on the stereo in our home "back in the day". :)
  • DebMartin Feb 05, 2014 @ 12:14 pm
    I have this CD and LOVE it. It's a gem. So is Hank.
  • OhMe Feb 05, 2014 @ 9:52 am
    He was definitely the best and I sure enjoyed this review!
  • Merrci Feb 05, 2014 @ 7:36 am
    Wonderful review, Nancycarol! I didn't realize he had spin bifida or that he had died that young. Just enjoyed his music. Thanks for sharing this!
  • tonyleather Feb 05, 2014 @ 7:26 am
    Great song by a legendary singer!
  • lisadh Feb 04, 2014 @ 7:25 pm
    Hank Williams was a legend. He died before I was born, but I still appreciate some of his classics. Great music is timeless.
  • DaveStone13 Feb 04, 2014 @ 6:45 pm
    I grew up on C&W, my mother's favorite, and Hank Williams was the king. When she died, she still had her collection of old vinyl records, more than 50 years old.
  • Brite-Ideas Feb 04, 2014 @ 6:14 pm
    Nancy, another terrific review - you have a way of telling these music related stories so that it's easy to read, plus I usually learn something I didn't know about the this case I didn't know so many artists have covered the song, and that he couldn't read music - a fun read and educational too
  • CorrinnaJohnson Feb 04, 2014 @ 5:28 pm
    My dad is a huge fan of Hank Williams and I grew up listening to all his music, even though he passed away a couple of decades before I was born. Now that my dad is living with us, my kids even know who he is! Great review!

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