Controversy is the nemesis of stardom even as early as 1950s and Hank Williams was not an exception when the famed Grand Ole Opry decided to fire Hank Williams from its roster of inducted country artists on August 11 1952.
Hank Williams, Removal from Grand Ole Opry
Many would argue if Grand Ole Opry is still a major factor on a country artist’s success and fame. Most especially that 21st century introduced Internet so that anyone could put themselves out there and any record label or event producers could just stumble on a talent through Youtube. Some of the new country artists making names for themselves could attest to the power of social media and Internet in defining someone’s influence over people.
Flashback on 1952 when Internet could probably be an idea of a mad scientist, Hank Williams was in the zenith of his career as a major recording star and Grand Ole Opry backing him was an important tie. Unfortunately, like every story of fame infested of intrigue, it did not escape from the eyes of Nashville’s organizers that Williams might have gone overboard with his fancy of alcohol.
It proved to be true as that fancy turned to alcohol abuse that later on affected his professionalism at work. The Opry definitely extended their patience even if the country star missed many appearances in Grand Ole Opry. It’s also a different story when Williams canceled his appearances on concert engagements.
Hank Williams watched a butterfly effect in front of him as MGM terminated his movie contract a few weeks later he was fired from Opry. Weeks later, his strings of unfortunate events also resulted to a divorces for the second time around with his wife, Audrey.
Hank Williams, Petition to Reinstate
While Hank Williams was obviously facing a deteriorating personal life and probably musical career, pain proved to be an important element in his success. If you add talent with pain, art could be the result. Williams’ popularity was unfazed by his misfortunes. A week after being fired in Opry, his song ‘Jambalaya’ entered Billboard’s country chart and emerged to be his next number one.
This memory certainly brings us to question if Hank Williams should have his name reinstated in Grand Ole Opry. After all, his talent silenced everyone’s judgment when everyone thought his talent equates his attitude.
Currently, an online petition spearheaded by Hank III aims to collect signatures to bang the thick walls of Grand Ole Opry and give Hank Williams’ the spot he deserved. You can sign the online petition here: HANK WILLIAMS