Hank Williams Jr. recorded a cover of the 1929 stride jazz/early swing song “Ain’t Misbehavin’” for his fiftieth album Five-O. And the song, which he released as a single, was met with great commercial success, topping the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1986 and marking his eighth number one hit. But it wasn’t just the fans; the audience who enjoyed his version as critics also received it well.
As The Story Went
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” was originally written by Andy Razar to a score by Thomas “Fats” Waller and Harry Brooks for Connie’s Hot Chocolate, a Broadway musical revue. It was first performed at the play’s premiere in Harlem as an opening song sung by Paul Bass and Margaret Simms. According to Louis Armstrong, Hudson Theatre’s orchestra director at the time, who played a trumpet solo of the song, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” was something he cherished because it was ‘one of those songs you could cut loose and swing with.’
The Hank Williams Jr. Cover
Before Hank Williams Jr. covered the song, there were a lot of artists who already did, including Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, and Willie Nelson. But his version was one of the standouts, earning him a nomination for the Country Music Association (CMA) Male Vocalist of the Year and a win for Grammy’s Best Country Vocal Performance, Male.
Watch Hank Williams Jr. live performance of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” in the video below.
Hank Williams Jr.