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Hank Williams, Jr. Biography

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Hank Williams, Jr. (born May 26, 1949) is an American country and southern rock singer, son of country music pioneer Hank Williams and father of Hank III and Holly Williams.

Born Randall Hank Williams in Shreveport, Louisiana, and known by the nickname Bocephus (a name given to him by his father because he thought his son as a baby resembled a TV ventriloquist dummy named Bocephus), he was raised by his mother Audrey after his father's death in 1953. He began performing when eight years old, and in 1963 made his recording debut with "Lone Gone Lonesome Blues", a staple of his father's career.

Williams' early career was guided, some say outright dominated, by his mother Audrey Williams, who many claim was the driving force that led his father to musical superstardom during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Audrey, in many ways, wished for young Hank to be nothing more than a "Hank Williams, Sr. impersonator", sometimes going as far as to have clothes designed for him that were identical to his father's stage clothes and vocal stylings very similar to those of his father.

Although Williams' recordings earned him numerous country hits throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, he became disillusioned with his role as a 'Hank Williams clone' and severed ties with his mother in order to pursue his own musical direction and tastes. After recording the soundtrack to Your Cheatin' Heart, a biography of his father, Williams, Jr. hit the charts with one of his own compositions, "Standing in the Shadows". The song signalled a move to rock and roll and other influences as he stepped from the shadow of his father.

Also during this time, Williams had his first two No. 1 songs: "All For the Love of Sunshine" (1970, featured on the soundtrack to Kelly's Heroes) and "Eleven Roses" (1972).

By the mid-1970s, Williams had finally found the musical direction that would, eventually, make him a superstar. Williams' unique blend of traditional country with southern rock and blues earned him a devoted following, although some mainstream country radio stations wouldn't touch his new songs in this blatantly untraditional sound.

While recording a series of hit songs, Williams began abusing drugs, including alcohol and eventually tried to commit suicide in 1974. Moving to Alabama, Williams began playing music with Southern rock musicians Toy Caldwell, Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels, and others.

On August 8, 1975, Williams was severely injured in a mountain-climbing accident in Montana. The accident shattered every bone within his face and actually exposed his brain to open air. It would eventually take nine major surgeries to put his face back together again.

His recovery took two years. In order to hide the numerous scars, Williams adopted the look that would become his trademark, a thick, full beard, cowboy hat, and dark sunglasses. Upon his re-entry into the recording studio, Williams worked with Waylon Jennings on the album entitled The New South. But as far as singles were concerned, Williams didn't reach the charts again until the late 1970s, with Bobby Fuller's I Fought the Law, Family Tradition and Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound.

The singles "Family Tradition" and "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" sent Williams' career into orbit. During the 1980s alone, he scored no less than 35 top ten and number one singles on the country music charts and an impressive string of gold, platinum, and multi-platinum selling albums. Despite selling millions of albums, setting concert attendance records, and being one of Country Music's biggest stars, Williams received very little recognition by the country music establishment. Williams' untraditional approach, style, behavior, sound, and Rock and Roll attitude was seen as not being 'country' enough for hardcore country loyalists within the Nashville music scene.

In the mid-1980s, Williams took advantage of the emerging popularity of music videos and shot a video to showcase the single, "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight". The song became one of Williams' true signature songs, due in great part to the video that featured, quite literally, many of Williams' closest friends, many of whom were among the most recognizable names in music such as George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and George Thorogood. The video for "All My Rowdy Friends" became the first video to be named Video Of The Year by the Country Music Association in 1985. In 1989, ABC asked Williams to change his lyrics of "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" to "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here On Monday Night", leading to one of television's most famous quotes: "Are You Ready For Some Football?"

Well known Ultimate Fighting Champion Matt Hughes walks out into the octagon to the tune of 'A Country Boy Can Survive.'This song was modified to 'America Will Survive' following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Also, Professional Wrestler James Gibson used 'A Country Boy Can Survive' as his theme tune during his 2005 run in the Ring Of Honor.
Artist information courtesy of their Wikipedia entry, which is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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