The Life of Hank Williams
A captivating biography of one of America's greatest songwriters who died alone in the back of a Cadillac, aged only twenty-nine.
Hank Williams is not just one of America's greatest songwriters but also one of the most enigmatic & shy – a raw poet from the rolling pine woods of south Alabama whose anguished lyrics were celebrated from the clamorous roadhouses of the Deep South all the way to Carnegie Hall. His tragic early death at the age of only twenty-nine, drunk and drugged, alone in the back seat of a Cadillac convertible on his way to a gig, ended a career that lasted only six years but went on to influence many of the greatest musicians in recent history.
Paul Hemphill has written a fascinating interpretative biography of Hank Williams, with the kind of soul and understanding that other books about him have lacked. Whence the pain and despair? Why the booze and pills? Where did his genius come from? How did he know everything he wrote about? These are the questions it seeks to answer.
“This slim volume by Mr. Hemphill...is the only book I've read that is as exhilarating as the man's music”
Allen Barra, New York Sun
“'Hank Williams wrote the rock'n'roll rulebook. Moving...absorbing biography of "the hillbilly Shakespeare"' ”
“'A fabulous and tragic tale and Hemphill tells it well. Excellent'”
“'Moving and informative...Lovesick Blues is lean, distilled Hank' ”
“ 'This biography does tough justice to a wrecked icon'”
“'Hemphill writes with real enthusiasm and provides a compelling take on one of the great tragedies of popular music'”
“[A] concise, startling biography...The connection between author and subject is what makes this book so rewarding”