Hank Williams Jr., a five-time Entertainer of the Year recipient and the only country artist to ever win an Emmy award (multiple, by the way), has been named #13 of Billboard Magazine’s Top 25 Country Artists from 1985-2011. Earlier this summer, Billboard ranked the top 25 country artists of the last twenty-five years, combing their Country Songs and Country Album charts since 1985.
Anyone who thinks country music didn’t attract a sizable youth audience before te early 90’s must have slept through Hank Williams Jr.’s chart run during the previous decade. He first appeared on Country Songs in 1964 with a cover of his legendary father’s 1950 smash “Long Gone Lonesome Blues,” but found a new, youthful following starting in the mid-70’s. He resonated with rebellious young fans via songs like “Family Tradition” and “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” and notched successful version of his father’s hits, such as “Honky Tonkin’.” At one point in the mid-80’s, the younger Williams simultaneously had six titles on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.
Williams’ raw creativity and passion has shaped the history of country music for over five decades. Williams boasts three multi-platinum albums, eight platinum albums and has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Williams holds the distinction of being the first country artist to ever win an Emmy, a feat he repeated 1990 through 1993 for his Monday Night Football anthem, “Are You Ready for Some Football?”
A true visionary on all fronts, Williams paired up with friend Waylon Jennings in 1983 for his first music video “The Conversation.” The following year he called on some more famous friends to create the video for his 1984 signature hit “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” which featured a “who’s who” of country music names including George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and George Thorogood. Williams went on to conceptualize dozens of music videos, including the 1989 duet with his late father “There’s a Tear in My Beer,” which used cutting-edge production techniques to appear as if the father and son duo were actually performing together in the video.