AUGUST 8, 1975 – Hank Williams Jr. nearly met his doom after falling off of Ajax Mountain near Missoula, Montana

AUGUST 8, 1975 – Hank Williams Jr. nearly met his doom after falling off of Ajax Mountain near Missoula, Montana. Williams began his career by following in his famed father’s footsteps, singing his father’s songs and imitating his father’s style, but his own style slowly evolved as he struggled to find his own voice and place within the country music industry. His career was interrupted by the near-fatal mountain-climbing accident when the snow beneath him collapsed and he fell almost 500 feet onto solid rock. He suffered multiple skull and facial fractures, and due to the area’s remoteness, it took six hours for medics to reach him and deliver him to Missoula Community Hospital.He spent two years in recovery, had to have several reconstructive surgeries and had to learn to talk and sing again. To hide the scars and the disfigurement from the accident, Williams grew a beard and began wearing sunglasses and either a cowboy hat or baseball cap. The incident was chronicled in the semi-autobiographical, made-for-television film “Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story.” After an extended recovery, he challenged the country music establishment with a blend of country, rock, and blues. Williams enjoyed much success in the 1980s, from which he earned considerable recognition and popularity both inside and outside the country music industry. The beard, hat, and sunglasses have since become his signature look, and he is rarely seen without them.

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