The Night Hank Williams Came to Town
Shreveport has a long and storied music history. From Lead Belly to James Burton to Elvis Presley and everything in between, we could spend hours...probably days or weeks talking about how Shreveport was a major music hub that had (and still has) a major impact on the world.
But, oddly, one name that doesn't get talked about near enough when it comes to Shreveport's fabled music history is Hank Williams. Hank, also known as the "Hillbilly Shakespeare", is widely considered one of, if not the most, influential musicians of all time. From country artists to rockers, everyone has been influenced by Hank.
But, when most people talk about Hank, they talk about everything but his time on the Louisiana Hayride. Which is just weird to me. He first appeared on the show August 7th, 1948 and made appearances off-and-on until the end of his life in 1953. Hank tried to "borrow" The Hayride's house steel guitar player Felton Pruett for the Drifting Cowboy band because he enjoyed his playing so much.
In fact, if you really dig into, the first time most people heard Hank was on the Louisiana Hayride radio show. Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis and dozens of others recall tuning into the show just to hear Hank. His performance on the Hayride of "Lovesick Blues" is what caught the attention of the Opry. When they fired him, he spent the final months of his life returning the Louisiana Hayride and its touring circuit.
He owned a home in Bossier City on Modica Street. His son, Hank Williams Jr., was born here. He was a part of the fabric of this community and THE reason Shreveport was and still is a must stop destination for artists and tourists from around the world.
Having statues of James Burton and Elvis is cool (and well deserved), but if there is one man who should be memorialized for their impact on our little part of the world, it is Hank Williams, Sr.