1964: 15-Year-Old Hank Williams Jr. Makes His TV Debut
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Let’s rewind the time and travel back to 1964, when a 15-year-old Hank Jr. stepped into the spotlight, marking the beginning of his legendary journey.
Hank Williams Jr., famously also known as Bocephus, is no stranger to accolades. A true powerhouse in the music industry at the time, he dominated the country music scene from the ’70s through the early ’90s. With a string of successful albums, he claimed the title of five-time Entertainer of the Year, was given both ACM and CMA awards, grabbed a Grammy, and even secured his spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Recently, at the age of 73 (he’s now 74 years old, being born on May 26, 1949), he once again showcased his musical versatility with the release of “Rich White Honky Blues,” a blues project that skyrocketed to #1 on the Country, Americana, and Blues charts.
The sound of Hank Jr.’s music is intricately woven with blues tones, a heritage passed down from his father, Hank Williams Sr. It was Hank Sr.’s early encounter with a bluesman named Rufus “Tee-Tot” Payne that laid the foundation for this musical legacy—a heritage that Hank Jr. has easily embraced.
Hank Williams Jr. Sings “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” In 1964
Rewinding even further, in 1964, a towering 14-year-old Hank Jr. stood ready to make his debut on ABC’s The Jimmy Dean Show with a series of his father’s hits.
Starting with a soulful rendition of “Long Gone Lonesome Blues,” the air was electric with anticipation as the young prodigy paid homage to the legendary Hank Williams Sr.
Jimmy said on ABC at the time, according to Whiskey Riff, “My favorite songwriter, I think I would have to say Hank Williams. He wrote with a lot of heart, he was a fine performer… we are delighted to have his son with us, and we’d like you to give a nice, warm welcome to Mr. Hank Williams Jr.”
With warmth and excitement, he welcomed the young Hank Jr. to the stage, bridging the generational gap with a genuine appreciation for their musical heritage.
“Long Gone Lonesome Blues,” penned and performed by Hank Williams Sr. in 1950, was a milestone in Hank Sr.’s career—a chart-topping song that left a mark on the Country & Western charts. Fast-forward to 1964, and the baton was passed to Hank Jr., who embraced the legacy by offering his own heartfelt rendition of the song, which soared to #5 on the charts at the time.
As the lovely tunes of “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” went through the airways, it became evident that Hank Jr.’s debut on The Jimmy Dean Show was a defining moment in the story of his career.
A 14-year-old stepping onto a national stage to honor his father’s legacy is a great way to express the power of music, heritage, and the family bond he and his father had. The pages of history turned that day, and the rest, as they say, is a great journey that will forever be remembered.