Hank Williams, Jr.'s Near-Fatal Fall Changed The Face Of Country Music

Hank Williams, Jr. inherited his father's musical talent, giving him a career that made him as great as his father. Ol' Bosephus, as they're known, recorded number one hits, over 50 albums, collected numerous awards, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, but that may have all been in one summer in 1975. The day is over. ,

The Tragic Accident of Hank Williams, Jr.

On August 8, 1975, Williams and his friend, Dick Willey, set out to hike Ajax Peak, a 10,000-foot mountain near the Idaho-Montana border. About 1,000 feet below the summit, the two friends came across an ice field, but as Williams crossed it, the snow suddenly gave way under his feet. He fell about 500 feet down the mountain, smashing his face onto a boulder along the way and suffering several horrific injuries, including fractures to his face and skull, a broken jaw and nose, and broken teeth. One of his eyes was hanging free from a broken socket, and a fracture in his skull was so bad that his brain was exposed.

A Tough Row To Hoe

Seeking help for his friend, Willie fled to a ranger station on the mountain, where park officials radioed a helicopter to rescue the country singer from the side of the mountain and take him to a nearby hospital in Missoula. Doctors didn't initially think Williams would survive her injuries, and in the end, it took more than seven hours of surgery to stabilize her. Over the next two years, he performed nine additional surgeries, including the installation of metal plates, screws, and skin grafts. He was told that he would never be able to speak again and certainly would not sing.

A Happy Accident

But Williams proved him wrong. After an arduous rehabilitation effort, he has released nearly two dozen albums in the years since the accident. He grew a beard for public appearances and wore sunglasses and a cowboy hat to cover the scars on his face and head, and although these were initially only practical items, they became his signature look when he returned to perform. became a part.

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