Among The Honky Tonk Angels – Hank Thompson

Few country music artists can claim a longevity and track record to equal that of Hank Thompson. Between 1948 and 1974 he scored no less than twenty-nine Top Ten hits, with another nineteen in the Top Twenty, and continued to chart into the 1980s. Many of these, including “Green Light,” “A Six Pack to Go,” and “Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart,” he penned himself, thus proving his stature in country music’s great singer-songwriter tradition.
Hank Thompson has taken his Final Taxi.
He decided to pursue his musical talent after serving in the U.S. Navy in World War II as a radioman and studying electrical engineering at the university level. His first single was “Whoa Sailor” in 1946. The year 1952 brought his first #1 disc, “The Wild Side of Life”, which contained the memorable line “I didn’t know God made honky-tonk angels” (which inspired the Kitty Wells answer song, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”). Subsequent Thompson chartmakers of the 1950s included “Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart,” “Rub-A-Dub-Dub,” “Yesterday’s Girl,” “Wake Up, Irene,” “Honky Tonk Girl,” “Most of All,” “The Blackboard of My Heart,” and “Squaws Along the Yukon,” all in the Top Ten.
Thompson’s musical style, characterized as Honky Tonk Swing, was a mixture of big-band instrumentation, fiddle and steel guitar that featured his distinctive, gravelly baritone vocals. His backing band, The Brazos Valley Boys, was voted the No.1 Country Western Band for 14 years in a row by Billboard Magazine.
In 1997 Curb Records released Hank Thompson and Friends, a critically acclaimed collection of duets pairing Thompson with Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, George Jones, Kitty Wells, and others.
The last show Thompson played was Oct. 8, 2007 in his hometown of  Waco Texas. That day was declared “Hank Thompson Day” by Gov. Rick Perry and Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy.

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One Response

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