When Hank Williams Jr. sings “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down” the version is usually melancholy. After all, he’s yearning for lost nights spent partying with his best drinking buddies.
But check out this sentimental, acoustic performance Williams gave for some of his best friends in the country music business. We’re celebrating the release of the song 39 years ago today.
The video is from 1985. It was part of a show called “The Door is Always Open.” Waylon Jennings was the host. The show featured performances by Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Jessi Colter, Webb Pierce, Roger Miller and Little Jimmy Dickens.
Hank Williams Jr, and Rest of the Special Honored a Departed Friend
Jennings used the show to honor the memory of Sue Brewer, who died in 1981 of cancer. She was only 48. Brewer managed Jones’ Possum Holler nightclub. She did work for Jennings. And she opened her home to singers for some after-hours music sessions.
Williams performance was like being in Brewer’s living room. He was sitting on a couch, surrounded by the friends he mentioned in his song.
Jennings introduced him, calling Williams one of his best friends.
After the intro, Williams talked a bit before he sang.
“I’m just so proud to be here,” he said. “And I’ve been blessed in a lot of ways. Number one, I was blessed because I was the son of Hank Williams. Number two, I was really blessed being around all these great songwriters and musicians I could steal from. … I stole everything I could. I want to try to pay back a little bit to some of you guys.”
Bocephus referenced a number of the men in the room, changing his voice to mimic how some of them sang. It went over well in the room. The friends in the song were Johnny Cash, Kristofferson, Jones and Jennings. Kristofferson was sitting to Williams’ left and laughed and sang through it all.
The song reached No. 1 on the country charts in 1981. “