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Hank Williams Jr. first found his claim to fame by covering songs that were once performed by his late father. But eventually, Hank found himself wanting to break free from his father’s musical style, and chose to start out on his own path, despite the criticism he received.
Released on May 28, 1979 as the fourth and final single off of his album of the same name, “Family Tradition” was a major hit following its release. The song peaked at the fourth spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and also claimed the same spot on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
The song, which was written by Hank, serves multiple purposes. First and foremost, the song serves as Hank’s declaration of his own musical identity, as he rebels against the musical style of his father.
But although Hank celebrates his own identity in the song, he also recognizes the value of his family history, and acknowledges the important role his father played by singing,”I am very proud of my daddy’s name/All though his kind of music and mine ain’t exactly the same.“
To this date, “Family Tradition” remains one of Hank’s most recognizable and popular songs, and is one he often performs. Shortly after the song’s release, Hank performed it during a televised appearance on CMT. The whole performance was a fun-loving celebration, and Hank couldn’t help but smile as he sang along, particularly during the chorus. At the end of the song, he threw down his guitar and walked off stage to the excited cheers and whistles of the crowd.
You can watch Hank’s CMT performance of “Family Tradition” in the video below.
Hank’s musical style may have been questioned when he first made the switch, but we’d say “Family Tradition” proves he made the right decision.