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Hank Williams, country superstar

Some musical stars are so talented and successful they come to define their musical genre. In effect, as far as the public is concerned, they become the physical embodiment of their music.

For country music, the iconic figure was and is Hank Williams.

So overwhelming is Hank's image, it's hard to work out if Hank actually invented the role of the wasted loner for himself, or whether he simply fulfilled an existing role suggested by hundreds of my-baby-done-left-me hillbilly songs.

But there was always something of the tragic about Williams. There was a sense that his time on earth was limited, and when he died in the back of a car on New Year's Day 1953 aged twenty-nine, it did not come as a surprise to some.

With Williams gone, country music cast around for a new superstar and when Presley exploded onto the scene with "Heartbreak Hotel" three years after Hank's death, many assumed the young man from from Memphis would take hillbilly music to new audiences and new heights.

However, Elvis had unknowingly come not to praise country music, but to bury it ...

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