Country Rewind: Alan Jackson Honors Hank Williams With Jaw-Dropping ‘Lovesick Blues’ Performance

by Keeli Parkey

Oftentimes the person you need to honor a legendary country music artist is another legendary country music artist. That’s what happened a few decades ago when Alan Jackson paid tribute to Hank Williams.

The year is 1994. And, Jackson was one of the performers on the “Roots of Country” television special, according to As part of his role in the show, Jackson was given the task of performing one of Williams’ most iconic songs. It was “Lovesick Blues.”

To make Jackson’s performance of the song even more memorable, two people who had worked closely with Williams prior to his untimely death took the stage with Jackson to perform the song. Those two people were Don Helms and Jerry Rivers.

Both Helms and Rivers were members of The Drifting Cowboys. This was the first band for Hank Williams. Helms played the steel guitar. Rivers played the fiddle.

The two men took the stage with Alan Jackson and they began the performance. And, even though no one can replace Hank Williams, Jackson came pretty close, according to reports. His yodel in the song evoked the deceased country music icon.

It’s obvious from the first time Alan Jackson croons “the blues” that this is a tribute for the ages. He’s got his trademark look on – cowboy hat with his blonde hair poking out the back, jeans, and cowboy boots – on. And, he’s clearly enjoying taking his turn covering this popular song by the deceased country star.

You can watch Alan Jackson perform “Lovesick Blues” below. You don’t want to miss Jackson keeping the spirit of Hank Williams alive. That’s one of the things that country music is about, after all.

‘Lovesick Blues’ Was a Beloved – and Sad – Country Song Long Before Alan Jackson Performed It During 1994

Like many other great country songs, “Lovesick Blues” is about heartache and heartbreak. The singer is mourning a lost love who left him behind. Check out these lyrics:

“Well, I’m in love, I’m in love with a beautiful gal / But she don’t care about me / Lord, I tried and tried to keep her satisfied / But she just wouldn’t stay / So now that she is leavin’ / This is all I can say.”

According to the Library of Congress, “Lovesick Blues” was written by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills during the 1920s. It wasn’t meant to be a country song. But, thanks to Hank Williams – and Alan Jackson – it’s difficult to imagine it being anything else. Williams recorded the song in December 1948 in Cincinnati.

The song helped skyrocket Williams to country music fame. It was No. 1 for 16 consecutive weeks. It also sold 11 million copies. No wonder Alan Jackson covered it for the 1994 country music special.

Hank Williams passed away in 1953. He was only 29 years old at the time of his death. You can watch him perform “Lovesick Blues” below.