Randall Hank Williams (born May 26, 1949), better known as Hank Williams, Jr., is a Country Music artist. Obviously, he's the son of the legendary Hank Williams. Defying the common pattern for sons of famous musicians, Williams Jr. managed to establish a career at least as fruitful as his father's, in terms of chart and sales success, but did so on his own terms; whereas the elder Hank did so with pure honky tonk, Hank Jr. fused his father's music with Southern rock to create a sound and movement that few have equalled. His son Hank III and daughter Holly are country music artists in their own right.
Early in his career, Hank Jr. sang most of his dad's material, but he eventually grew tired of imitating his father and decided to forge a sound of his own, taking cues from Southern rock. Not surprisingly, the demons hit him pretty hard as well — pills and booze nearly drove him to suicide in 1974, but he soon regrouped. In 1975, he fell 442 feet off a Montana mountain and seriously damaged his skull and face, re-emerging in 1977 after re-learning how to sing and talk. He also grew his trademark thick beard and began wearing large dark sunglasses to hide the visible scars from his injuries and surgery.
Although it took him a while to get his career back on track, he broke through again 1979, following in the tradition of outlaw singers such as Waylon Jennings. For the rest of his career, he would balance his rock and country sound, managing to include chest-beating party anthems and sincere tributes to his father's sound in equal measure. Although he never had a Top 10 hit after 1990, he continued to release the occasional album.
Despite what you might have read on some websites, Hank Williams, Jr. is not the father of Kid Rock. This rumor was based on a misinterpretation of a lyric sung by Williams in his collaboration with the latter. Williams' real son, Hank III, addressed this rumor in his song "Not Everybody Likes Us". He also is not related to Paramore singer Hayley Williams
Tropes about Hank Jr. himself:
- Badass Beard: He grew one not long after that fall off the mountain, mostly to cover up the substantial scars his injuries left. Those who have happened to see him clean-shaven claim that the scars aren't so bad nowadays, but he likes the look.
- Child Prodigy: Had his first hit at 14, and his first #1 country hit at 21 (which for a long time made him the youngest male artist to do so).
- Generation Xerox: A very literal example at first, but eventually developed his own style while still paying respect to his father.
- Gun Nut / Manly Men Can Hunt: According to Kid Rock, Hank's biggest three passions are hunting, collecting guns, and making music.
- Sunglasses at Night: It's rare that you see Hank without sunglasses, regardless of what time it is.
- Signature Style: He likes to write about the South, a lot. Usually in the form of thumping uptempos.
Tropes from/about Hank Jr.'s music:
- Call-Back: "All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down" is referenced in "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" and "Born to Boogie".
- Early Installment Weirdness: Just about anything before the late 70s he hadn't yet found his Southern rock and outlaw influences, so most of his earlier stuff is more mainstream countrypolitan and/or covers of his dad. Even though he had early #1 hits with "Eleven Roses" and "All for the Love of Sunshine," they are at total odds to his signature sound.
- Hand Cannon: Addressed in the first verse of "I Got Rights":I said, "Gimme one of them Smith and Wesson magnum 44s"
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover:
- Off on a Technicality: The murderer in "I Got Rights" gets away with the crime because of this.
- Posthumous Collaboration:
- "There's a Tear in My Beer", which incorporated a vocal track recorded by his father. The video digitally inserted Hank Jr. into a performance of Sr.'s.
- The entire album Three Hanks: Men with Broken Hearts, using Hank Sr.'s vocal tracks, and newly recorded vocals by Hank Jr. and Hank III.
- Repurposed Pop Song: "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" was repurposed by ABC for Monday Night Football.
- Rearrange the Song: "A Country Boy Can Survive", twice. He released a Y2K version in late 1999 (featuring Chad Brock and George Jones), a re-written patriotic version ("America Will Survive") after 9/11, and re-released the original recording in 2007.
- Sequel Song: "All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down" begat "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" and its repurposed version for Monday Night Football.
- Singer Name Drop: He namedrops his nickname, "Bocephus", in many of his songs.
- Spiritual Successor: He started out his career as one for his father. He even released some spoken-word pieces credited as Luke the Drifter, Jr.
- Vocal Evolution: His voice was a lot higher and smoother on his early "countrypolitan" material.