Although his life was cut short, the mark Hank Williams left on country music is undeniable. The singer-songwriter from south Alabama made his mark on Music City with hits like “Move It on Over” and “Lovesick Blues”, and his songs have influenced generations of musicians since his passing. These 10 country artists pay tribute to this iconic artist in the best way they know how, by writing a song.
10. “Mission From Hank” – Aaron Tippin
Released in 1994, this song by Aaron Tippin could be the life story of many aspiring artists who make the move to Nashville. A young artist moves to town on a mission from Hank to write songs. He considers the legend his patron saint and looks to him for guidance as his career grows.
9. “Hank’s Cadillac” – Ashley Monroe
This heart-wrenching ballad, released on Ashley Monroe‘s 2006 debut album, paints a picture of what she would have done to keep the singer alive if she had been in that white Cadillac in the early hours of January 1, 1953.
8. “Hank Williams Said It Best” – Guy Clark
The title says it all in this Guy Clark tune. The song offers up strong words of advice from the legendary singer: “Unless you have made no mistakes in life, be careful of the stones you throw.”
7. “Talkin’ to Hank” – Mark Chesnutt
In this upbeat tune, Mark Chesnutt recalls an encounter in the woods with an old man who swore he was just 29. The two talk about life and love, and the man can’t shake the feeling that he’s been talking to Hank.
6. “I’ve Done Everything Hank Did But Die” – Keith Whitley
Keith Whitley sings about modeling his life after that of his hero, Hank Williams. He says he followed in Hank’s footsteps early in his own career with whiskey and late nights, but soon learns just how dangerous that path can be.
5. “Rollin’ and Ramblin'” – Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris sings the true, lesser told story of Hank Williams’ relationship with the Nashville music industry toward the end of his life. She paints a picture of a hard-drinking man who sang the blues because it was what he lived.
4. “The Night Hank Williams Came to Town” – Johnny Cash
In this upbeat song, Johnny Cash recalls a night Hank Williams played a show in a small town. Truman was President, I Love Lucy was on TV and the whole town was packed into a gym to see the Opry star.
3. “The Conversation” – Waylon Jennings & Hank Williams Jr.
Waylon Jennings sits down with Hank Williams Jr. to literally have a conversation about his daddy. What would Hank think about the music they were making? Would he be right there with them if he were still alive?
2. “Midnight in Montgomery” – Alan Jackson
Stopping at the grave of Hank Williams is something of a rite of passage for artists traveling through Alabama. Alan Jackson took it one step further with this song in 1991 where he describes an encounter with a drunk man in a cowboy hat.
1. “The Ride” – David Allan Coe
David Allan Coe released what is arguably the most well-known tribute to Hank Williams in 1983. The song describes an eerie ride for a musician hitchhiking from Montgomery to Nashville. The stranger that gives him a lift leaves him with words of wisdom for becoming a big star.