Archive of the Death of Hank Williams
Jett Williams in a recent interview asserted that more people, including a relief driver and Hank’s doctor were present at Hank’s death. A tracing of Hank’s final ride by Peter Cooper of The Tennessean was re-published this weekend, and Michael Williams of the Sevier County News has another good account of Hank’s final ride.
Below are some of the archives recounting Hank’s death, including newspaper clippings and obituaries, telegrams, the death certificate, and the death announcement audio from WCKY radio.
Newspaper clippings from the Nashville Banner from The Nashville Scene.
Left- unknown. Right, original obituary from the LA Times.
Hank Williams’ funeral was the largest in Montgomery, Alabama’s history. Over 25,000 people attended, but only 2,750 people were able to get into the Montgomery Municipal Auditorium to see Hank. The pictures below are from the Sevier County News. The first is of the funeral procession. The second is of Charles Carr, the driver during Hank’s “Last Ride” consoling Hank’s sister Irene.
Pictures of The Boarding House and Hank’s open casket from Angel Fire.
Telegram to Hank’s sister Irene from Hank Williams’ mother. Image from Letters of Note and Brian Bubonic.
The Hank Williams Death Certificate
Hank Williams Death Announcement on WCKY radio on New Years Day, 1953
Audio from the Hank Williams Funeral
The grave of Hank and Audrey Williams
January 1, 2013 @ 4:46 pm
Poor Hank. I like many of you I’m sure, grew up 70 years too late, and wish I could have had the chance to hear him live on the radio. Here’s to you and yours Hank, cheers bud.
January 1, 2013 @ 5:06 pm
The Nashville Tennessean paper had a very nice write up in Sunday’s paper about him
January 1, 2013 @ 7:20 pm
this is the greatest/saddest thing ive seen on this site.
January 1, 2013 @ 7:40 pm
Here’s another article you may like then:
January 2, 2013 @ 4:19 am
Thanks Trigger, nicely presented. The thing that bothers me most about Hank’s death (aside obviously from the loss of such a great music maker!) is the fact that people seem to know about the drugs and the booze but not about the underlying physical problems that led to the dependency.
A very sad ending!
January 2, 2013 @ 5:32 am
“Williams sang doleful mountain ballads in a nasal voice, accompanying himself on a guitar”
LOL! This is a great description of country music, but it is still quite funny how the journalist’s description here makes country seem like some type of novelty. It shows how new the genre was as a popular music form and how unfamiliar it was to much of the country back then.
I also find it ironic that the most important figure in “hillbilly” music history was not an Appalachian “hillbilly” himself, but rather a Deep Southerner. The same was true of the other artist most responsible for popularizing “hillbilly” music, Jimmie Rodgers.
January 2, 2013 @ 3:53 pm
had hank williams been black, his music would most likely have been called the blues by the journalist, assuming of course that the mainstream media would have still reported on his death
January 2, 2013 @ 4:56 pm
Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers were truly the pioneers in mixing Upland South/Appalachian “hillbilly” music with Deep South blues music, thereby giving rise to country music. Their love of blues can be attributed to their Deep Southern upbringing, although it also shows how they were far more racially enlightened than the vast majority of Deep South whites at the time.
January 3, 2013 @ 10:38 am
You’re just a wealth of knowledge, Eric. I’m so glad that you are always able to set the record straight about the feelings, background, culture, and “enlightenment” of people who lived half a century ago, in that horrible place known as the “Deep South.”
January 3, 2013 @ 1:51 am
i agree with you, the mixing of the blues and mountain folk music is what made hank williams music original and timeless i was simply commenting on the stereotyping and racism of the journalist, if he’s white it’s hillbilly, if he’s black it’s the blues
January 2, 2013 @ 10:46 am
Thanks for the clippings and videos. I’ve always been intrigued by HW and his life and death.
There’s a little burger joint in downtown Bristol, TN/VA that claims to be the last place Hank stopped in for a meal before his death. Don’t know if it’s true, or what proof there is, but I do like to stop in the little place (though remodeled a couple of times, it still keeps the vibe of that time period), and ponder on his life and times, along with that time period. Sitting in there can kinda take you back in time.
This is the article that should have 60 plus comments, not the Taylor Swift article.
January 2, 2013 @ 12:06 pm
I agree this is the article that should be getting more comments, but comments are not always indicative of traffic or interest. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. I’m actually pretty pleased on how many folks took time out of their New Years Day to come check this out.Good to see people still care about the important stuff.
January 2, 2013 @ 7:12 pm
Hank passed 60 yrs ago, but his music will never die. People still sing & play his songs to this day. Timeless. He’s the reason i got into country in the first place. thank u Hank, and thank u trig for this article.
Bigfoot is Real (seriously)
January 3, 2013 @ 7:58 am
A note of interest…I noticed a couple of the reports above erroneously credit Hank as the writer of “Love Sick Blues” which was likely due to the rush to get the story to deadline.
January 3, 2013 @ 9:52 am
This is one of the coolest articles I’ve seen on this site. Thanks Trig.
Country website features comprehensive archive on the death of Hank Williams « A Hank Williams Journal
January 15, 2013 @ 1:51 pm
[…] This fine history Â can be found here. […]
January 1, 2014 @ 7:36 pm
Hank is my favorite songwriter, and the first person I want to see when I get to heaven. I appreciate the negativity and sarcasm in a lot of his music.
January 1, 2014 @ 7:46 pm
That telegram is heartbreaking.
January 1, 2014 @ 9:36 pm
I was just about to leave a comment saying exactly that.
February 16, 2023 @ 7:11 pm
Hank Williams was one of the best country music singer and song writers ever born. His live was short but he is still remember today as the greatest performer ever.