It’s been sixty-six years since that cold night when Hank Williams, 29, was seen lying dead at the back seat of his ’52 Cadillac. His death has speculated many stories that until now has been a mystery. Many people believed that there was a foul play that happened and the real cause was hidden. Some liked to believe that he really died of heart attack. Meanwhile, others say that he might have committed suicide because of the downward spiral of his career. However, whatever the reason Hank Williams died, we can say he will always be loved and remembered by his fans, and the people in the music industry.
“I Saw the Light”
This is perhaps the most popular song of Hank Williams. It has been covered numerous times, and it had been his closing song after his shows. “I Saw the Light” was written by Hank in 1947. He was inspired to write the song after the words of his mother. This gospel song was first released in 1948 but didn’t receive much recognition. It didn’t become a big-time hit song for him. However, many artists record it, and it has since then become a very popular song.
Did you know that “Lovesick Blues” is not an original recording of Hank Williams? It was first recorded by Elsie Clark in 1922. The song was written for the play Oh! Ernest. However, it was the recording of Emmett Miller and Rex Griffin that pushed Williams’ to perform the song. Despite this, many told him not to but still, he insisted on performing the song. Eventually, success worked for him. His version reached number one on the Billboard chart. Since then, whenever he closes his show instead of singing “I Saw the Light,” Hank began singing “Lovesick Blues.” This now has become what we know as his signature song and his first number one song on the country chart.
“I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”
Before his death, Williams was able to release his last single “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.” It was written by Fred Rose and Williams in 1952. The song was intended to be a humorous song. However, because of Williams’ death, the song sounded more melancholic. “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” became his last number one on the chart before he died.
Hank Williams was pronounced dead at 7 in the morning, on January 1, 1953. He was supposed to be performing at a show in Canton, Ohio. An autopsy examination showed that Hank died of heart attack. However, other stories mentioned that the autopsy report showed a few traces of alcohol, no drugs found in his body, bruises, and hemorrhage on his neck and head.
We’ll never know the real story of how Hank Williams died. But, the only thing we can do is live the legacy he left behind. Today, we remember Hank as one of the greatest and most influential country musicians of all time.
Hank Williams Sr., i saw the light, I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive, Lovesick Blues