The Nashville newspaper The Tennessean has an intelligent, thoughtful article about Hank Williams. The paper’s long time country music writer Peter Cooper paid tribute to Hank on the 60th anniversary of his death.
I was attracted to this piece because although he doesn’t dwell on it, Cooper briefly mentions Hank’s back problems and seems to take it seriously noting Hank’s”back always hurt”. I don’t think he is suggesting Hank used his back problems to get drugs, although that might have been a view at the time.
Readers of this blog know that I think it’s likely Hank suffered from a serious spinal cord disease called Spina Bifida. We know for a fact and that in December of 1951, Doctors at Vanderbilt thought it was serious enough that he underwent a spinal fusion operation also known as open back surgery.
This is serious unpredictable surgery today in 2012, and the pain which often results is often unbearable even with the pain control advancements made by the pharmaceutical industry in the past 60 years..
For those interested in all of the details and controversies surrounding Hank’s last ride around New Years 52/53, Cooper also provides a link to a very thorough, factual, non sensational, history of that trip which he wrote in 2003.
Here’s the link:
And here’s a link to three of the articles I wrote about spinal fusion surgery including Bono’s back surgery.
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The Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery Alabama is sponsoring memorial events surrounding the 60th anniversary of the death of Hank Williams on New Year’s Day 1953.
On New Year’s Eve for a modest charge there will be food and music at the Commerce Street museum with a candlelight vigil to nearby statue of Hank Williams at midnight. At the same time, The City of Montgomery is sponsoring a street party honoring Hank and Commerce Street will be blocked off near the museum.
On New Year’s Day, participants will meet at Hank’s grave at the Oakwood Cemetary Annex at 10am for a wreath laying and memorial service.
Following the service everyone is invited to the museum for black-eyed peas and more music. Events wrap up at 1pm.
I think I speak for Hank fans all around the world who, although they are unable to journey to Montgomery, deeply appreciate that a sincere, touching, heartfelt, tribute is being held at the Hank Williams gravesite on the anniversary his death every year.
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An early country video collector with many years experience says it’s unlikely more Hank Williams video will be discovered.
Ken Campanile contacted me after reading my two posts on Hank video from the ‘Kate Smith Show’.
Ken says WSM appearance were not recorded and Perry Como appearance seems to be lost:
I’ve been on the search for Hank Williams video footage for about 25 years. I’ve heard all the rumors and urban legends.
The WSM footage is probably gone forever. In those days, there wasn’t any video tape only kinescopes. And the small stations, didn’t film the shows.
Now the networks did film (kinescope). So there’s always hope that the Como show film shows up in someone’s attic, basement or garage. I’m keeping hope alive…
Thanks to Ken for more information on the Jimmie Rodgers film made away back in 1929 over 30 years before Hank Williams’ death:
And I don’t know if you knew this but there’s actually 6 complete songs on film by Jimmie Rodgers. The Columbia short, The Singing Brakeman was actually shot twice. The first one shows a date of 1929 in the credits and is directed by Jasper Ewing Brady. The second one is dated 1930 and the director was Basil Smith. The second one from 1930 was released by the Yazoo video company on VHS and DVD on the compilation Times Ain’t Like They Used to Be and it came from an original 35mm print, which means the picture quality is superb (compared to the grainy copies of the 1929 versions floating around among collectors). I have both versions in my collection.
I was so impressed as a viewed this video once again after a few years that I decided to put it up here for you:
Thanks Ken for your help on this.
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