Country Throwback: Watch Conway Twitty Sing Hank Williams’ ‘Jambalaya’ in 1970

by Emily Morgan
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

There’s no questioning that Conway Twitty left a legendary mark on country music. Even though many remember Twitty as a country music great, he made sure to pay tribute to those that came before him. One country singer Twitty admired was none other than Hank Williams. 

In 1970, Twitty paid homage to the legend when he covered Williams’ classic country hit, “Jambalaya.” 

Even though Hank Williams has long since passed away, fans will never forget his invaluable talent. Considered the King of Country Music, many country music singers believe Williams greatly influenced their music, including Twitty.

As Twitty took the stage to sing the tune, the camera cut to a close-up of Twitty flashing a grin after he surprised the audience with his rendition of the country hit. 

The Story Behind Hank Williams’ ‘Jambalaya’

Williams released “Jambalaya” in July 1952. Named after a Creole and Cajun dish, the song quickly produced numerous cover versions from artists such as John Fogerty, The Carpenters, and Little Big Town.

The song reached No.1 on the U.S. country charts for fourteen non-consecutive weeks. Williams performed “Jambalaya” for the famous radio show, Louisiana Hayride, as part of his “homecoming” in the fall of 1952 after being fired from the Grand Ole Opry. 

In the live recording, listeners can hear outbursts of applause and cheer as Willaims performs in an unreleased version included in the 2017 CD set, At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight.

After Williams released his version, Cajun musicians also recorded the song using Cajun instruments. However, they made one minor change. They used Williams’ lyrics translated into the Cajun French language. “Jambalaya” remains one of Hank Williams’ most popular songs today. 

In addition, Williams also wrote a sequel to the song using the female perspective. Titled “I’m Yvonne (Of the Bayou),” it was later recorded by Goldie Hill.