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Country’s Best Drinking Songs, No. 24: Hank Williams Jr., ‘Family Tradition’

Cheers-worthy lines:Why do you drink? Why do you roll smoke? Why must you live out the songs that you wrote?

Fans love to call out the answers to those three questions in “Family Tradition” during live performances of this song. The first answer: “To get drunk!” The second: “To get stoned!” The third: “To get laid!”

The song was written and recorded by Hank Williams, Jr. and also features Charlie Daniels on his fiddle during the bridge. It was released in May 1979 as the final single and title track from his album of the same name, but it’s more than just a song–it’s a stance, a statement of rebellion.

“Family Tradition” explains that Williams wants his own style, own music and will clear his own path in the way he wants. Even though his career started with him emulating his father (even being known as a Hank Williams impersonator, he eventually forged his own way, taking on a new image (sunglasses, beard and hat) and new sound.

The lyrics are crystal clear; Williams will continue carrying on the family tradition–but only in the ways he chooses. He sings, “I am very proud of my daddy’s name / Although his kind of music and mine ain’t exactly the same / Stop and think it over / Put yourself in my position / If I get stoned and sing all night long it’s a family tradition.” Fans can definitely raise a beer can to that!

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