Today is the birthday of one of America’s greatest songwriters and performers, Hiram “Hank” Williams (1923-1953). Unlike his precursor Jimmie Rogers, Williams came along too late for vaudeville; he was a creature of honky tonks, radio, the recording studio and the Grand Ole Opry (until they threw him out for drinking and pills). But is there vaudeville IN his music? I’d say so.
I attach two clips of two of my favorite tunes. The first for pure songwriting craftsmanship and the kind of sentiment we find less and less in today’s pop music; the second for comedy, hokum, and political incorrectness.
You want show biz? In 1964 no less than GEORGE HAMILTON played Williams in the bio-pic Your Cheatin’ Heart, featuring Red Buttons and Arthur O’Connell. Can you stand it?
To find out more about vaudeville past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc