October 31

Williams Bent Whiskey and He was Hell Bound

Written and recorded, “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” is from American country music artist Hank Williams Jr.

Having the same album name, “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” was released in September 1979 as the first single. It reached number 1 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart. It also hit the number 2 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

In the same album, “Women I’ve Never Had” peaked at number 5 in country charts. It was not a surprise, after all, that the album did well too. On the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, it reached number 5. Moreover, the RIAA certified Williams’ album Platinum. This was his first, adding up from his 3 earlier Gold album certifications.

Having given the same name and having a close resemblance, Hank Williams Jr. may have felt pressured to break out from his father’s shadows. His father was a remarkably gifted songwriter whose influence overshadowed the genre.

Junior Williams might not outshine his father’s popularity but he was able to make his own name. He worked very hard on it for almost half a century. Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, the Charlie Daniels Band and The Marshall Tucker Band were among his inspirations. He developed the fusion of rock with the legacy of family country music to have his distinctive style.  Williams scored a long list of “outlaw” hits in the 1970s and ’80s, including “I Fought the Law,” “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” “Dixie on My Mind” and others.

When CMT asked, “What’s the story behind ‘Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound’”? He answered:

“Yeah. The Allman Brothers and me in Hollywood. Gregg Allman married Cher, and that worked all of three months. Dickey Betts said, “You know, how do you write — just bang! — a good country song?” And I’d had several No. 1’s in a row. And I said, “Well, it’s always good to start off with an idea like, (sings) “I got a good woman at home …” and from there, schoooooo, the rocket launched. And that’s exactly how it went down. That’s how it happened. All the good ones take like 10 minutes. And then sometimes you’ll have one that’s up there a year or two. Then you get the one other line, then bam, and you birth that one. I had that happen to me the other day. I had that thing but just that one line, pow! And there it was. You know, I played it for ol’ Haggard. And he said, “Wow, you better go cut that one.” When Merle Haggard says you better go cut it, it’s pretty good. I like that man.”


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