Hank Williams Jr.

The fact that the career of Hank Williams Jr. has endured and become a legend in his own time is not surprising. What is surprising -- no, make that amazing -- is that the man himself has survived the ride.

Just grazing the half-century mark in his own life, Hank Williams Jr. is at an important juncture. Emerged fully from his father's imposing shadow, he's looking back at the roots of his raising with a new appreciation from whence he came. He's mellowed a shade or two, but lost none of the raw power and cutting edge. That very steam powered engine that succeeded in propelling his own musical imprint into the history books is now driving him into yet another phase in his boundless career.

With his career crowding seventy albums, Hank has a fascinating career to look back upon for a legend still in his prime. His discography chronicles a bold profile of growth from adored offspring of a legendary father, to titan of the modern country rock movement in his own right.

Is it any wonder that during the whole last decade, America came to its collective fight each Monday night when this larger than life superman of a musician looked into the camera and unleashed the national anthem for viewers of ABC's "Monday Night Football" -- "Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?" Those simple words won Hank not only a whole new generation of fans but gave him the distinction of being the first country performer to ever win an Emmy -- a feat he repeated in '90 through '93.

Randall Hank was born May 26, 1949, one month before his father made a landmark first appearance on "The Grand Ole Opry" stage in Nashville. His daddy affectionately nicknamed his baby boy "Bocephus," after the ventriloquist dummy of the same name who shared the stage with country comic Rod Brasfield.

An ironic moniker in the fact that in years to come, Hank Jr.'s uncanny genius for blending his own musical style to cross all the conceivable boundaries between rock and country, would find him, least of all, possessed of none of the qualities of his wooden namesake.

The public Hank, whose concerts are parties thrown for thousands of "guests of honor" who clamor before his stages, waving beer bottles and Confederate flags and are legendary, is as relevant to music today as he was the first day music buyers by the millions took his music to heart. He's a legend ... so are his hits. In his private life, Hank loves to hunt and fish, loves his wife and kids, loves his country, and still loves to raise hell whenever possible. His every appearance reminds us that America -- like Hank -- "can survive." And will.

The pages of his bio can't hope to contain the essence of his larger than life persona and his legend. Sufficient is it to say in this, the current chapter of greatness, Hank Williams Jr. is a satisfied man.


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