All About The “Lost Highway”
It may be surprising to some but “Lost Highway” isn’t a Hank Williams original song. The song was written by country singer and songwriter Leon Payne back in 1948. He was also the first one to record the single and released it in October 1948.
He wrote this song while waiting at the edge of the road in California. During this time, Leon Payne was trying to hitchhike from California to Texas because he wanted to visit his sick mother.
It was during that time he was waiting for a willing car to stop for him when he wrote this song. Eventually, he was able to get a ride thanks to the Salvation Army, so good ole’ Leon was able to visit his sweet mother.
Hank Williams’ version became a hit but not enough to break the charts, and since he released his version of it, “Lost Highway” has always been associated with him. Of course, it is a bit ironic that a song that would become one of his supposed “signature” songs wasn’t actually his, to begin with.
However, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t made it his own. The song may not have originated from him but he definitely owned his performance of the song.
“Lost Highway” is seen as one of Hank’s defining moments, as when he released this record it helped him get really noticed by a wider audience. Along with that, it was also a really defining moment in country music, again because his performance was so good that it helped bring the genre to more mainstream audiences everywhere.
So yes, it is ironic that a song with this much impact for Hank didn’t even belong to him in the first place but he certainly made it his own when he released it.
Enjoy “Lost Highway” here: