December 31, 1952: Hank Williams' Final Concert

Dec 31, 2019

On New Year’s Eve 1952, country music legend Hank Williams was scheduled to perform at Charleston’s Municipal Auditorium as part of his comeback tour.

His life had been descending into turmoil for a long time. Various issues were to blame, including marriage troubles, back problems, prescription drug abuse, and alcoholism. In August 1952, he had been fired from the Grand Ole Opry because his notorious unreliability had finally overshadowed his incomparable talent.

But, by the end of 1952, he was trying to get his life and career back on track. He’d even released a new single entitled “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.” The Charleston show was expected to be an important part of his comeback. Unfortunately, an ice storm grounded his plane, and the show was canceled. He asked a family friend, Charles Carr, to drive him to his next performance in Canton, Ohio. On New Year’s Day, Carr stopped at a gas station in Oak Hill and discovered the singer dead in the back seat. Williams was only 29. Today, a plaque in Oak Hill commemorates Hank Williams’s “last stop on his last tour.”