I was very disappointed to see that the new country music movie Crazy Heart does include the Hank Williams classic recording of the Fred Rose composition in the soundtrack. Obviously the title of the movie is taken from the song.
Crazy Heart has always been one of my favorite Hank Williams recordings, although it was a ‘B’ side and did not make the charts. However I think it was one of the most popular of Hank Williams songs after his death. It was featured on many posthumous Hank Williams’ collections. ‘Crazy Heart’ was written by Fred Rose and Maurice Murray. It was recorded by Hank Williams July 25th 1951, and released as the B side of ‘I Heard That Lonesome Whistle’.
As opposed to the traditionally country and western styling of ‘Lonesome Whistle’, ‘Crazy Heart’ was a hard-driving, high energy, raw, edgy number which could have easily been an early rockabilly cover by Elvis, Jerry Lee, or Carl Perkins.
The new country music movie stars Jeff Bridges as a sort of Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson character who hasn’t had a hit for years and is reduced to playing cheap bars, using local pick up bands.
Although for some inexplicable reason the soundtrack does not include Hank Williams singing ‘Crazy Heart’ it does have a few classic country records by the original artists. The main soundtrack and the songs sung by the Jeff Bridges character were written by T-bone Burnette and Ryan Bingham. Bingham sings what looks like the film’s biggest hit a song called ‘The Weary Kind’.
The traditional Country songs on the soundtrack include: Buck Owens ‘Hello Trouble’, The Louvin Brothers’ ‘My Baby’s Gone’, ‘Searching’ by Kitty Wells, the ‘Color of the Blues’ by George Jones, and finally a great 70’s classic ‘Are You Sure Hank Done it this Way’ by Waylon Jennings.
But alas I can’t find any reference to a real Hank Williams’ classic called ‘Crazy Heart’ written by Fred Rose. I wonder if there were copyright problems or some legal issues that kept Hank off the movie. Seems very mysterious. With my limited amount of research I haven’t been able to solve it, so if you have any ideas give us a shout in the comments section below.
This movie by the way is Oscar bound. Jeff Bridges is expected to get a nomination for Best Actor.
It interesting to note that Jeff Bridges connection with Hank Williams goes back into the 60’s. As all fans know, one of Hank Williams’ greatest triumphs came in a movie about a decaying Texas town called ‘The Last Picture Show’. A very young Jeff Bridges was brilliant in the Peter Bogdanovich film which also starred Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, and Timothy Bottoms.. The soundtrack of that classic was made up almost entirely of original Hank Williams’ recordings with a few by Hank Snow and some others. But the black and white photography, the despair etched on the faces of the lead actors including Bridges, and the haunting ghostly sounds of Hank Williams in the distance made this an all time American classic.