On This Date: Hank Williams Jr. Returns To The Opry After Over 20 Years To Pay Tribute To Waylon Jennings

Hank Williams Jr. country music
Youtube/Byron Abel Band - Deplorables

This must’ve been one heck of a show.

On this date in 2002, Hank Williams Jr. returned to the Grand Ole Opry stage at the Ryman Auditorium after more than 20 years to pay tribute to his friend, the late, great Waylon Jennings, just after his death three days prior.

Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart were also part of the tribute, and they assisted on the guitar and mandolin, respectively, as Hank Jr. sang his song “Eye’s of Waylon.” A solo write by Hank Jr., it was included on his 1995 46th studio album Hog Wild.

Of course, the two were friends for years, and Hank Jr. always looked up to Waylon as one of his biggest inspirations and musical heroes.

They even collaborated on a song called “The Conversation” (about Hank Sr.) for his classic 1979 album Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, which was later rereleased on Waylon’s 1983 album Waylon and Company.

While it’s been speculated that Williams Jr. might’ve held a grudge against the Opry for the fact that the institution kicked his father out many years ago, he’s stated on record before that his lack of membership had nothing to do with his dad.

He listened to a rhythm and blues station as opposed to listening to the Opry radio growing up, and it simply was never a dream or goal of his to become a member or even play there regularly. Interestingly, he did make his Opry debut at just 11 years old.

Of course, I  can’t think of a better reason to return to the Opry stage than to pay tribute to the late, great Waylon Jennings (who passed away on February 13th, 2002), and it’s well-worth the five minutes of your day to watch:

And while we’re on the subject, check out this three minutes of late-70’s cinematic greatness featuring two country icons:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock