It was on December 20, 1999 that Grand Ole Opry member, and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hank Snow passed away at the age of 85. In January of 2000, Hank would have celebrated 50 years as an Opry member. He had been in declining health for a number of years, and his last Opry appearance was in August of 1996 when he returned to the Opry stage after being gone for almost nine months due to illness.
His autobiography, "The Hank Snow Story", is one of the best country music books ever written. Hank is pretty honest in his book about some of the major events in his life. The book is high on my list.
In country music history, Hank will go down as one of the all time greats. Johnny Cash considered Hank one of his favorite singers, and in fact, he had a picture of Hank hanging in his office at home, which I believe was the only picture of an entertainer that he had up.
On my own personal list of country music performers, Hank is on my top 5 list. I have always enjoyed his singing style and his guitar work. His guitar playing was precise and I never heard of him making a mistake. I know that one of my favorite items about Hank being on the Opry was that after he sang his song to start his segment, he always went over to the podium and introduced his guests from there, never going back to center stage until it was time for him to perform his next number. I think his last televised Opry appearance was on the birthday show when they honored the living Opry members who were members of the Hall of Fame. I forget what year it was, but I think it was in the mid-1990's and I remember Jeannie Seely doing the honors for him.
On the Opry in his later years, he always hosted the 8:30 and 11:00 segments. He had his favorites, and I know if Dottie West was on the Opry, she always did his segments.
It was within a few short years that the Opry lost Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe and Hank Snow. All were icons of the show and all were Hall of Famers.
I just wanted to take a moment to remember Hank Snow on the 10 year anniversary of his death.