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Hank Thompson (Singer)
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    (September 3, 1925-November 6, 2007)
    Born in Waco, Texas
    Singer and guitarist
    Recorded the singles ‘Humpty Dumpty Heart’ (1948), ‘Green Light’ (1948), ‘Whoa Sailor’ (1949), ‘The Wild Side of Life’ (1952), ‘Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart’ (1952), ‘No Help Wanted’ (1953), ‘Rub-a-Dub-Dub’ (1953), ‘Wake Up, Irene’ (1953), ‘A Fooler, A Faker’ (1954), ‘Honky Tonk Girl’ (1954), ‘The New Green Light’ (1954), ‘Wildwood Flower’ (with Merle Travis, 1955), ‘Breakin’ In Another Heart’ (1955), ‘Don’t Take It Out On Me’ (1955), ‘Most of All’ (1955), ‘The Blackboard of My Heart’ (1956), ‘Squaws Along the Yukon’ (1958), ‘I’ve Run Out of Tomorrows’ (1958), ‘A Six Pack to Go’ (1960), ‘Oklahoma Hills’ (1961), ‘On Tap, In the Can, Or in the Bottle’ (1968), ‘Smoky the Bar’ (1968) and ‘The Older the Violin, The Sweeter the Music’ (1974)
    Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1989)
    In his teens, he performed on local radio as ‘Hank the Hired Hand.’
    He married his first wife, Dorothy Jean Ray, during a live radio broadcast (1948).
    He quit the Grand Ole Opry in a dispute over pay and musical styles, despite Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams urging him to stay.
    He was a heavy smoker, which probably contributed to the lung cancer that killed him.
    He served in the US Navy during World War II.
    He was one of the better-educated country performers of his day, having studied electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Southern Methodist University, and Princeton.
    He used his engineering knowledge to improve the sound and lighting systems for his concerts.
    He last made the Billboard country singles chart (with a duet with Junior Brown) in 1997, almost 50 years after his first hit.
    His life inspired Thomas Cobb’s novel ‘Crazy Heart,’ making him indirectly responsible for Jeff Bridges winning an Oscar.

Credit: C. Fishel

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