In January 2016, country star Hank Williams Jr. released his 53rd studio album It’s About Time, and opened up about almost refusing to re-record one of his classic hits for the album.
The country singer gave fans a sneak peek of what’s to come on the new album a couple months before. He opened the CMA Awards in November 2015 with the album’s lead single “Are You Ready for the Country,” which featured Eric Church. It’s About Time also included numerous other special guests on the album.
One song in particular made Williams Jr. think twice about recording it for a second time. He was skeptical about re-recording his 1987 hit “Born to Boogie” until three other country stars joined the project to liven it up. Brad Paisley, Brantley Gilbert, and Justin Moore joined the remake and helped not only update the ’80s hit, but convince Williams Jr. to sign off on the project.
“I’ve already sold millions on that one. I’ve got new stuff!” Williams Jr. told ABC Radio about his original reaction. “This is a new ‘Born to Boogie.’ You know now, this ‘Born to Boogie’ has got Justin and Brantley on it, so it’s a new one. But I said, ‘Look, I’ve got new, good stuff. I don’t care about re-doing that one.’ You know, you’re gonna get it straight from me!”
Hank Williams Jr. Covers Waylon Jennings’ Hit
Hank Williams Jr. fans were surely excited to hear about another track on the album. Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis penned country legend Waylon Jennings‘ 1967 hit “Mental Revenge.” The song was part of Jennings’ tenth studio album titled Jewels. Tillis’ song flopped the year before, but once Jennings released it on his album, the single shot up to No. 12 on the charts.
In fact, Williams Jr. says he thought that his version of “Mental Revenge” would be the lead single off of It’s About Time.
“Mel Tillis? They say, ‘What?’ They don’t connect Mel Tillis with ‘Mental Revenge.’ I had to look it up. He’s the guy that wrote it! We actually thought that was gonna be the single. I mean, we’re all over ‘Mental Revenge.’ It’s fresh. The Allman Brothers twin guitars,” he says, imitating the guitar part in the song with a laugh. “Guess who told ’em to play that lick?”
It’s About Time includes collaborations and covers, but it also includes original songs by Williams Jr. He wrote five of the songs on the album, and said he was proud of the material, especially “Dress Like an Icon” and the title track.
Fans can listen to 2016’s It’s About Time in its entirety on all streaming services right now.