Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pulitzer Prize for Hank Williams

by Dick Mac

The first time I heard a contemporary (someone I considered hip) mention Hank Williams was on Patti Smith's bootleg record "Teenage Perversity And Ships In the Darkness."

On this tour, the band was performing the Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" as a medley with "Louie, Louie" and Smith announced. "Lou Reed wrote this song about Hank Williams who died in the back of a limousine on his way to a gig."

At the time, I had no idea if it was true. I have since learned that it is not true, but sounds really cool.

Prior to that, my only exposure to Williams had been late-night television advertisements for collections of his music on "LP, cassette, or 8-track tape."

I had no appreciation for country music and though not disdainful, I ignored it. I began to appreciate country music in the early-1990s and started listening to Johnny Cash. It wasn't long before I learned that Hank Williams had written a number of really great songs: "Hey Good Lookin'," "Your Cheatin' Heart," and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" among them.

Today, Hank Williams is in regular rotation in my music collection.

Williams died tragically at the age of 29: too young. He left us an amazing songbook.

Yesterday, the Pulitzer Prize was posthumously awarded to Williams for his songwriting.

Hank Williams' songwriting earns special citation from Pulitzer Prize board

Hank Williams at wikipedia.org

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