Five years ago today, Hank Williams Jr. saw his hit song “A Country Boy Can Survive” go platinum. However, he wrote the song more than thirty years before. In 1982, Williams wrote and recorded the song, but it did not go platinum until 2016. The traditional southern ode to the self-sufficient man defined southern rock for years to come.
The music of the song combined elements of old blues and classic country, bring with it a feeling of grit and strength. The classic country riff accompanied by pedal steel guitar gave it it’s country twang, however, some of the licks throughout the song give it more of a bluesy feel. The driving drum also contributed to this gritty feeling of country pride. Hank Williams Jr. had a voice perfect for the song, especially switching between the low growl and the modulated howl.
The video tells the story of the song through a series of video clips between country folk and clips of the city. It glorifies the sufficiency of rural America, whether it’s from the West Virginia coal mines or under the western skies. Between hunting, fishing, and spitting tobacco, Hank Williams Jr. certainly appreciated the old traditions of southern culture.
For instance, Hank Williams Jr. makes a point to mention that the city-dwelling character in the song gets robbed and killed by a man with a switchblade. No such thing happens out in the country according to Hank Williams Jr., at least not if he has anything to do with it.
Hank Williams Jr. Goes Platinum 34 Years Later
Despite being an icon on the country music scene for almost half a century, Hank Williams Jr. is still in high demand. For instance, just back in 2016, “A Country Boy Can Survive” went platinum after selling one million copies of the song. He talked about his platinum and gold albums with the Songwriter Universe in 2016.
“Well, you know the business has changed so much,” Hank Williams Jr. said at the time. “As my daughter, Holly told me “nobody is buying albums anymore,” so I guess when I got the plaques for selling a gold single and platinum single, it reminded me of the days when we would release singles and the record company would sell 45’s.”
Just like the song “A Country Boy Can Survive,” Hank Williams Jr. feels nostalgia for the old times in country music. “I guess it’s like old times, but with a quicker way for people to get music. At the same time, I shouldn’t complain about how they get it or they got it as long as they paid for it. Knowing that those songs went gold and platinum mean that the fans are still buying my music and certain songs still resonate with the newer generation of fans.”
Even at 71 years old, the country music legend is still trucking on. In 2015, he released his 37th studio album, It’s About Time. It doesn’t seem like he will slow down any time soon either, as he continues to release compilation albums and keep the wheels churning.