In terms of importance and influence, few performers in the history of country music can compare with Hank Williams Sr. Revered by fans drawn to the sincerity of his songs, Hank Williams, during his brief 29 years, was instrumental in turning “hillbilly” music into “country” music. The Butler County native became enthralled with music from a young age, playing harmonica and organ and acquiring his first guitar around the time he was eight years old. By the end of 1951, Williams had amassed 24 top 10 singles, with six reaching number one. A key figure in the development of modern country music, Williams personified the musical genre’s shift from a regional, rural phenomenon to nationwide acceptance. His legacy remains alive today, with the heartfelt nature of his performances remaining the benchmark by which country music performers are measured. In April 2010, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded Williams with a posthumous Special Citation award.

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Encyclopedia of Alabama

Photos courtesy of: Alamy