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There's A Tear In My Beer

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Uploaded on Sep 15, 2010

Buck Billo and Maxi sing "There's A Tear In My Beer" by Hank Williams.
In 1950, Williams began recording as Luke the Drifter, an appellation given to Williams for use in identifying his more moralistic and religious-themed recordings, many of which are recitations rather than his usual crooning. Fearful that disc jockeys and jukebox operators would become hesitant to accept these non-traditional Williams recordings, thereby hurting the marketability of Williams's name, the name Luke the Drifter was employed to cloak the identity of the artist—though the source of the recordings was quite evident. Around this time, Williams released more hit songs, such as "My Son Calls Another Man Daddy", "They'll Never Take Her Love from Me", "Why Should We Try Anymore?", "Nobody's Lonesome for Me", "Long Gone Lonesome Blues", "Why Don't You Love Me?", "Moanin' the Blues" and "I Just Don't Like This Kind of Livin'". In 1951, "Dear John" became a hit but the B-side, "Cold, Cold Heart", has endured as one of his most famous songs, aided by the #1 pop version by Tony Bennett in 1951 being the first of many recordings of Williams' songs in a non-country genre. ("Cold, Cold Heart" has subsequently been covered by Guy Mitchell, Casino Steel, Teresa Brewer, Dinah Washington, Lucinda Williams, Cowboy Junkies, Frankie Laine, Jo Stafford, and Norah Jones, among others). That same year, Williams released other hits, including the enduring classic "Crazy Heart".

Despite Hank's numerous country hits, the legend of Hank Williams seems to rest in the duality of his writings. On one hand, Hank would sing about having a rowdy time ("Honky Tonkin'") or drifting aimlessly ("Lost Highway"), but would then sing religious songs of remorse, most particularly, the title track to the album "I Saw The Light."

However, Williams' life would become unmanageable due to his success. His marriage, always turbulent, was rapidly disintegrating, and he developed a serious problem with alcohol, morphine and other painkillers. Much of this abuse came from attempts to ease his severe back pain. In 1952, Hank and Audrey separated and he moved in with his mother, even as he released numerous hit songs, such as "Half as Much", "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)", "Settin' the Woods on Fire", "You Win Again" and "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive". Williams' drug problems continued to spiral out of control as he moved to Nashville and officially divorced his wife. A relationship with Bobby Jett during this period resulted in a daughter, Jett, who would be born just after his death.
In October 1952, Williams was fired from the Grand Ole Opry. Told not to return until he was sober, he instead rejoined the Louisiana Hayride. On October 18, 1952, he married Billie Jean Jones Eshlimar. A ceremony was held at the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium and 14,000 people bought tickets to attend. Soon after, the Drifting Cowboys decided to part ways with Williams. Their departure was due to Hank drinking more than a show would pay.

On January 1, 1953, Williams was due to play in Canton, Ohio, but he was unable to fly due to weather problems. He hired a chauffeur and, before leaving the old Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee, injected himself with B12 and morphine. He then left in a Cadillac, though contrary to popular belief, he did not have a bottle of whiskey with him. He was trying to get his career back on track by proving to promoters that he could be sober and reliable. The only items found in the backseat of Hank's car were a few cans of beer and the hand-written lyrics to an unrecorded song.

When the seventeen year-old chauffeur Charles Carr pulled over at an all-night service station in Oak Hill, West Virginia, he discovered that Williams was unresponsive and becoming rigid[3] Upon closer examination, it was discovered that Hank Williams was dead. He was twenty-nine. Controversy has since surrounded Williams' death with some claiming Williams was dead before leaving Knoxville.[4]

Williams' final single was ominously titled "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive". Five days after his death, his illegitimate daughter by Bobbie Jett (Jett Williams) was born. His widow, Billie Jean, married country singer Johnny Horton in September of that year (1953).

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