Last year James and I attended a concert featuring the legends of the Grand Ole Opry as they preformed at a local venue while on their nationwide tour. One of the traveling group was Hank Thompson. With aged hands he gently took my guitar and added his signature. Only the legends get a space on the guitar.
Today it was announced on CMT that Country Music Hall of Fame member Hank Thompson died late Tuesday (Nov. 7) at his home near Fort Worth, Texas, following a battle with lung cancer. The 82-year-old singer, songwriter and bandleader last week canceled all of his tour dates after being hospitalized. He played his last concert on Oct. 8 in his native Waco, Texas, when Hank Thompson Day was declared by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy.
Neither of his parents even dabbled at music, and Thompson told writer Rich Kienzle that growing up, country was the only music he listened to and the only music that anybody he knew listened to. Radio from Dallas and the Mexican border stations featured such diverse groups and artists as the Light Crust Doughboys, the Carter Family and Cowboy Slim Rhinehart. The records he actually preferred were by country’s more traditional early stars — Carson Robison, Vernon Dalhart and, of course, Jimmie Rodgers. Then movies brought him the thrill of a cowboy who sang like Jimmie Rodgers — the great Gene Autry. Thompson got his first guitar at age 10 and began aping all these musical favorites. Peg Moreland and Ernest Tubb became radio favorites during his years at Waco High School in the early 1940s.