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.