An awesome thing happened in Tampa, Florida, over the weekend. When Hank Williams Jr. finished up a show at the Florida State Fairgrounds, both he and a bunch of his fans unwittingly headed to the same Waffle House.
It was then, around 2 am on the morning of Saturday, May 20th when Williams walked into the same Waffle House that a bunch of his fans were at and the crowd of hungry fans saw him and started singing. Packed with fans from Hank Jr.’s concert, the Waffle House was, upon his entrance, filled with a beautiful singalong rendition of his famous, classic hit, “Family Tradition”.
In the video of the incident that was posted to Tik Tok, you can see people from all different age groups and walks of life enjoying a late-night meal of breakfast food and then seeing Williams and belting out the famous Hank Jr. song. Watch them here:
Hank Williams Jr.’s website, describing his big career break and how he moved out of his father’s shadow and into his own place in the sun, says:
For Hank, Jr., everything changed with that 1975 dive off Ajax Mountain. The music world caught on to those changes around 1979, the year he released his first million-selling album, Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, along with his autobiography, Living Proof. In the early 1980s, he catapulted to full-on superstar status, with major hits including “Texas Women,” “Dixie On My Mind,” “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down),” and in 1984, “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” a party anthem featuring a riotous video that starred Bocephus in conjunction with stars from inside (Merle Kilgore, Porter Wagoner, Kris Kristofferson, etc.) and outside (Cheech and Chong) country music.
In 1987, Hank, Jr. won his first of five country music entertainer of the year awards, and the two albums released that year – Hank Live and studio effort Born To Boogie – were platinum sellers. Born To Boogie was the CMA’s album of the year in 1988, the year he won the CMA and ACM’s top entertainer prize. Hank’s star rose far beyond the country world in 1989, when manager Merle Kilgore arranged a deal with ABC’s Monday Night Football to have Hank, Jr. rework “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” into a theme song to be played before each Monday’s game. Two years later, the Monday Night theme won the first of four straight Emmy Awards, and Hank, Jr. would be the singing voice of Monday Night Football for 22 years.
With the Monday Night Football deal in place, Hank Williams, Jr. was now known to millions who had never even listened to country music, and he’d become an ambassador for that musical genre. He’s held that position through the 1990s and up to the present, with hard-charging songs that speak to his truth, his “unique position,” and to our lives. His room-shaking voice is as identifiable to fans as that of his father, and he has passed the family music tradition down to son Shelton and daughter Holly, both of whom are recording artists in their own right.
“I’ve been a very lucky man,” he’s fond of saying, but Hank, Jr. has made his own luck, and made his own way. Given a chance to coast on his father’s songs and his father’s royalties, he found a new song to sing, and a new way to sing it.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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