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90 Years Ago: Hank Williams Is Born

Hank Williams
Courtesy of Webster & Associates

If Hank Williams was still alive, he would be celebrating his 90th birthday today (Sept. 17).

The singer, who passed away only a few months after his 29th birthday, penned more than 130 songs in his short life, including all-time classics like ‘Hey Good Lookin’,’ ‘Long Gone Lonesome Blues,’ ‘Honky Tonkin,’ ‘I Saw the Light’ and ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart,’ which became a No. 1 hit after his death.

Williams died sometime during the night between Dec. 31, 1952 and Jan. 1, 1953. The cause of death was ”insufficiency of the right ventricle of the heart.” It is widely believed that Williams’ heart problems were exacerbated by the excessive consumption of alcohol and morphine.

He has continued to be enormously influential in country music in the decades since his passing. More than 40 albums of his songs have been released after his death, including the 2011 record, ‘The Lost Notebooks,’ which featured artists such as Alan Jackson, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Levon Helm and Sheryl Crow performing their versions of his classic hits.

Williams’ musical legacy continues to live on in country music. His son and grandson, Hank Williams, Jr. and Hank Williams III have both followed in his career path, as well as his granddaughter, Holly Williams.

Williams was one of the very first inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961. The ‘I Saw the Light’ singer was recently honored with the Academy of Country Music’s Poet’s Award, honoring his extensive contributions to the genre.

Next: See the Top 10 Hank Williams Songs

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