Hank Snow: Country Music Legend
Hank Snow was one hard-working fella, as he was one of the most prolific singers and songwriters in country music history. In a career that spanned over four decades, Snow recorded over 120 albums, and sold roughly 70 million records in his illustrious career.
Public domain photo courtesy Wikipedia
Brooklyn, Queens County, Nova Scotia, Canada, was the birthplace of Clarence Eugene "Hank" Snow on May 9th, 1914. Hank's childhood was quite difficult almost from the beginning. Snow's parents divorced in 1922, and four years later, at the age of 12, Hank ran away from home to escape an abusive stepfather. To support himself, Snow worked as a fishing boat cabin boy, and often entertained the boat's crew with his singing. With his earnings, Hank bought a $5.95 guitar at age 16, and shortly thereafter began performing at a wide variety of venues.
Hank's "Signature Hit" - Two Weeks at Number One-1962
By 1933, Snow had a radio show in Halifax. Although the show was only 15 minutes long, it got him a great deal of attention, and three years later Hank signed a record deal with RCA Victor, and stayed with them for 47 years.
American audiences first discovered Hank Snow's Jimmie Rodgers influenced style of music in the 1940's. "Marriage Vow" was Hank's first American single released in 1949. The year 1950 was a breakout year for Snow. He played the Grand Ole Opry for the first time, and had his first number one hit,"I'm Movin' On", which stayed at the top spot for 21 weeks.
Snow played an important role in the launching of Elvis Presley's career. Snow employed Presley as his opening act in the early fifties, and Elvis first met his long-time manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker through Snow. Bob Dylan also lists Snow and one of his major musical influnces.
Hank was a hit-making machine throughout the 1950s and and into the early 60s. By the mid-60s, however, Snow's popularity as a recording artist had begun to dwindle. Hank's last number one hit was "Hello Love" in 1974.
Snow, also known as "The Singing Ranger" remained an active performer and songwriter well into the 1990s. He continued to be very popular at the Grand Ole Opry until just before his death on December 20, 1999 at his home in Madison, TN at the age of 85.
Hank's Biggest Chart Topper - 21 Weeks at Number One-1950
Statistics and Awards
Snow has been elected to eight different musical Halls of Fame. He was voted Canada's country performer of the year ten times. Hank had seven number one hits, and those hits spent a total of 56 weeks in the number one slot. Even more impressively, Snow had an astounding 85 charted hits, 65 top-forty hits, and 43 top-ten hits. His releases spent an amazing 876 total weeks on the music charts.
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Hank Snow Links
Snow's Music at Amazon
Thumbnails courtesy: Creative Commons, Wikimedia, and free use public domain photos.