It is a measure of the country crooners staying power that their legacy still remains in the hearts of country music lovers. Few have conveyed the sincerity and realism reflected in Hank Williams’s southern working class lyrics and singing style.
Born on September 17, 1923 in Alabama, Hank Williams seemed destined to spend his life battling poverty and family instability but his climb to prominence made him a hardened veteran of the rough honky-tonk circuit by twenty-three.
He failed his first audition for the Grand Ole Opry. A proclivity for alcohol and his own undependable behavior frequently sidetracked his career yet his talent proved difficult to ignore and he gradually worked his way to superstardom.
Financial and artistic success, however, did not soothe Hank's physical and emotional difficulties. An untreated congenital birth defect of the lower spine left him stooped and in constant pain. Drugs and alcohol eased his discomfort but didn't help his erratic personality. The Opry fired him for chronic drunkenness and unsatisfactory performances.
During his attempted comeback, one of our favorite country crooners, Hank Williams, died in the backseat of aCadillac of an apparent heart attack. His funeral attracted a tremendous outpouring of grief from his beloved fans. Hank brought attention to ordinary people whose lives rarely resembled the affluence and popularity he rightly deserved.
Johnny Cash | Country Crooners Legend
John R. Cash was born in 1932 before moving to Arkansas for the federal New Deal farming program. The Cash family and Johnny, not yet a country crooners star, survived by farming cotton and other the crops they grew on their 20 acre farm.
Johnny married June in 1968 and the following year Johnny was asked to host his own television show, The Johnny Cash Show. Also in 1968, Johnny recorded one of his most popular albums, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison earning two Grammy Awards.
In 1992 Johnny, AKA The Man In Black, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, making him the only performer ever to be inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Johnny continued to record and perform his music and in 1998 his album Unchained won a Grammy for best country album. Cash celebrated his Grammy in true country crooners fashion by taking out a full page ad in Billboard magazine showing Johnny making a rude gesture to thank country music radio stations, which he felt had turned their backs on him in previous years. The 2002 release of American IV: The Man Comes Around was the culmination of his success.
The year of 2003 would be the final chapter in the tumultuous life of Johnny Cash. After 35 years of marriage, June Carter Cash died in May of that year. Johnny continued to record his music to escape the pain of his loss. Johnny's final album, American V: A Hundred Highways, was completed just one week before his death on September 12, 2003. In rural Arkansas, amidst a depression, Johnny Cash rose from humble beginnings to realize his dream of making music.