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Profile of the Day: Hank Williams

On September 17, 1923, country music’s first superstar Hank Williams was born in Butler County, Alabama. Best known for his hits “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Williams is regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time.

Image: Hank Williams / Wikimedia Commons

He was born Hiram Williams in Mount Olive, Alabama to Elonzo Huble Williams and Jessie Lillybelle Skipper. Born with spina bifida, Williams struggled with back pain throughout his life.

Williams began playing the guitar at a young age and was greatly influenced by local gospel music. After making his debut on radio at the age of 13 and winning a few local talent shows, Williams caught the attention of Nashville. In 1947, he released his first hit song “Move It on Over” and quickly saw his fame skyrocket. With several consecutive hits, Williams became known as country music’s first superstar.

Sadly, as his career continued to rise, his abuse of prescription drugs and alcohol increased, severely deteriorating his health. In the early morning hours of New Years Day in 1953, Williams died at the age of 29 from heart failure. Today his influence on country music remains strong. His music has been covered by numerous artists and have been hits in various genres including pop, gospel and blues.

Do you have a favorite song?

Explore Hank Williams’s family tree on Geni and share your connection to the country music legend.

View Hank Williams’s Geni Profile

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