In his brief life, Hank Williams created one of the defining bodies
of American music. Songs like Your Cheatin' Heart, Hey Good Lookin'
and Jambalaya sold millions of records and became the model for
virtually all country music that followed. But by the time of his
death at age twenty-nine, Williams had drunk and drugged and
philandered his way through two messy marriages and out of his
headline spot on the Grand Ole Opry. Even though he was country
music's top seller, toward the end he was so famously unreliable
that he was lucky to get a booking in a beer hall. After his death,
Williams' records sold more than ever, and have continued to do so
in the half-century since. His oft-covered catalog has produced
hits for artists ranging from Fats Domino and John Fogerty's Blue
Ridge Rangers to Ray Charles and B.J.