Hank Williams Jr. is an American country musician who has a net worth of $45 million dollars. Hank Williams Jr. started his career covering his father’s songs. He went on to establish his own style within the country music genre, utilizing his multi-instrumentalist skills on steel guitar, keyboards, dobro, banjo, harmonica, fiddle, and other instruments, and combining country with rock and blues sounds. Later, in 2011, Williams got into trouble for comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
Hank Williams Jr. is the son of country rock star Hank Williams. The younger Williams’ career began by impersonating his father until he developed his own style. In the early ’70s, he fell into drug and alcohol abuse and moved to Alabama to get clean. In 1975, he nearly died in a mountain climbing accident in Montana after he fell nearly 500 feet when snow collapsed beneath him. Since then, he has rarely been seen without his beard, hat and sunglasses, which he originally began wearing to cover his scars.
The next decade brought considerable musical success for Williams, who released dozens of albums, including “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound”, “Habits Old and New”, “The Pressure Is On”, “Major Moves” and “Man of Steel”. All 21 of his albums between 1979 and 1992 went at least gold and he released 30 singles that would climb into the top ten. Eight of those songs topped the charts. He was the County Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year in 1987 and 1988 and the Academy of County Music’s Entertainer of the Year from 1987 until 1989. Williams continued to release new music, with more than 35 albums dropping between 1964 and 2012.
Hank Williams Jr. was born as Randall Hank Williams on May 26, 1949 in Shreveport, Louisiana to Audrey and country music legend Hank Williams. Following his father’s death in 1953, he was brought up by his mother. At the age of eight, Williams appeared on stage for the first time singing songs by his father. As a teen, he went to John Overton High School in Nashville, Tennessee, where he played at pep rallies and with the choir.
Williams made his first recording in 1964, singing his father’s classic song “Long Gone Lonesome Blues.” The same year, he provided the singing voice of his father in the biographical musical film “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” and sang on the country duet album “Connie Francis and Hank Williams Jr. Sing Great Country Favorites.” His other albums in the 60s included “Ballads of the Hills and Plains,” “Blues My Name,” “Country Shadows,” “A Time to Sing,” and “Songs My Father Left Me.”
In the 70s, Williams started moving toward a new musical direction that would differentiate him from his father. He began playing with many Southern rock musicians, such as Toy Caldwell, Charlie Daniels, and Waylon Jennings. Williams went on to release his breakthrough album, “Hank Williams Jr. and Friends,” in 1975. The album marked a watershed moment in which Williams transitioned to his own unique style of Southern-style rock.
Ajax Peak Accident
A major turning point in Williams’ life came in August of 1975, when he was nearly killed in a climbing accident on Ajax Peak in Montana. While scaling the mountain on the continental divide west of Jackson, he fell almost 500 feet when the snow collapsed beneath him. Landing on hard rock, Williams suffered multiple facial and skull fractures. This incident was later depicted in the 1983 television film “Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story.” Severely injured, Williams spent two years in recovery and underwent a number of reconstructive surgeries. To conceal his scars, he grew a beard and started to regularly wear both sunglasses and a cowboy hat, which became his signature look from that point on.
Career in the 80s and 90s
Following his extended recovery from the Ajax accident, Williams forged ahead to make a new name for himself in the country music establishment. He was incredibly prolific in the 80s, releasing two albums per year; his credits included “Family Tradition,” “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound,” “Rowdy,” “High Notes,” “Strong Stuff,” “Major Moves,” “Five-O,” and “Montana Cafe,” among others. In 1982 alone, Williams had nine albums on the Billboard Top Country Album chart simultaneously. Thanks to this success, he became a superstar of country music, known for his catchy anthems and rock-influenced sound.
Between 1979 and 1990, Williams had 44 top-ten singles on the Billboard Country charts, including eight number-one singles. One of his most notable hits in the 80s was his song “There’s a Tear in My Beer,” a duet with his father that was created using electronic technology that merged recordings of father and son. It also spawned a music video that combined pre-existing television footage of Williams Sr. with recordings Williams Jr. created. Other hit songs during the 80s included “A Country Boy Can Survive”; “Old Habits”; “Born to Boogie”; “If the South Woulda Won”; and “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” which was reconfigured as “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” for broadcasts of “Monday Night Football” on ESPN. In the 90s, Williams had hit albums with “Lone Wolf,” “Pure Hank,” “Maverick,” and “Out of Left Field.”
Career in the 2000s
In the 2000s, Williams released the albums “The Almeria Club Recordings,” “I’m One of You,” “127 Rose Avenue,” “Old School New Rules,” and “It’s About Time.” From “127 Rose Avenue,” he had a hit on the country charts with the single “Red, White & Pink-Slip Blues.” Also in the 2000s, Williams opened for Super Bowl XL in 2006. In 2020, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Williams has four remaining children from a total of five; his daughter Katherine was killed in a car crash in 2020. His other kids all have music careers; they are Holly, Hilary, Sam, and Shelton, who performs as Hank Williams III.
Williams has been highly controversial over the years, in large part stemming from his affiliation with the Republican Party. The biggest backlash occurred in 2011, when he appeared on the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” and compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. Moreover, Williams called Obama and Vice President Biden “the enemy,” and compared them to the Three Stooges. In response, ESPN temporarily dropped Williams’ opening song from its “Monday Night Football” broadcasts. Williams subsequently recorded a song criticizing not only ESPN, but Fox & Friends and, again, Barack Obama. He doubled down on his awful rhetoric at the Iowa State Fair in 2012, when he made racist, inflammatory statements about the president.