Throughout his career, Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow, is undeniably known as one of the most successful country music stars to come out of Canada during the industry’s formative years. He also emerged as one of the unique stylists, best songwriter, creative recording artist, great guitarist, and masterful businessman in the modern industry. Throughout his career, he never turned his back on the classic Jimmie Rodgers style that first made him famous. Moreover, he has also carried out Latin rhythms, jazz, blues, Hawaiian styles, recitations, the mambo, and gospel songs. Snow was able to produce more than 140 albums with 85 singles landing on the Billboard country charts. His most successful years happened between 1950 and 1980. Some of his most popular songs include “I’m Moving On” and “The Golden Rocket”. Sadly, he passed away due to heart failure in 1999.
Three Nice-To-Knows, Snow’s Early Years
Like other country music stars, Snow had to go through hardships and cope with difficult situations in his childhood.
A Challenging Childhood
Hank Snow was born in Nova Scotia to George Snow and Marie Alice Boutilier shortly before the Great Depression. He was the fifth of six children born to the couple and the family who lived in punishing poverty. Eventually, Snow’s parents separated. When his mother struggled to make ends meet, she sent Snow to live with his father’s mother. A few years later, he went back to live with his mother and stepfather.
Snow’s life with both his grandmother and stepfather included bouts of physical and emotional abuse. In order to stop the difficulty, a 12-year-old Snow signed up as a cabin boy for a fishing yacht in 1926. He did not earn money working on the ship, but was able to sell fish he caught on his own. Snow persisted to work aboard ships until 1930 when the ship barely escaped sinking.
First Instrument and Musical Inspiration
The first guitar Snow played was a steel guitar owned by his mother, a talented musician. As a young boy, Snow was a huge fan of Jimmie Rodgers, who he considers as a big influence on his music. Snow and his wife, Minnie Aalders, later named their son, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, after the musical legend.
Hank Snow and His Huge Success
For a long time, Hank Snow was unable to get a hit or get a big audience response. Then his first RCA Victor American hit came along, “I’m Moving On.” It was followed by two more hits, “The Golden Rocket” in 1950 and “Rhumba Boogie” in 1951. For the next five years, he averaged three Top Ten hits a year.
Throughout the l960s and l970s, Snow aided hold the line against rock and pop’s attack on traditional country music. He traveled worldwide, including Vietnam, and became a regular on the Opry. In l977, he recorded his 104th LP for RCA Victor, “Still Moving On”, an appropriate title for an artist who gave endurance a new and intense meaning.
Hank, your music will surely live on!