Midnight in Montgomery

Album: Don't Rock The Jukebox (1991)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Written by Alan Jackson and Don Sampson, this is an ode to country music legend Hank Williams, who fell ill on his way to a New Year's Eve performance and died the following day in 1953. In the song, Jackson is on his way to his own New Year's Eve show and makes a late-night visit to Williams' grave in Montgomery, Alabama, to pay his respects... only to bump into the singer's ghost.
  • The lyrics contain lines that are used in the Hank Williams song "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," including "Of somewhere a midnight train slowly passes by, I can hear that whistle blowing; I'm so lonesome I could cry." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Julian - Oakland, AR
  • Hank Williams became a co-conspirator in Jackson's rebellion against the ACM Awards in 1994. It all started with Jackson showing up to the typically black tie event in a sleeveless Hank Williams T-shirt, claiming he thought it was perfect because who is more country than Hank Williams? Then, when he was told he had to perform his hit "Gone Country" to a pre-recorded track, he tipped his hat to the charade by telling his drummer to play without sticks. Jackson left unscathed by his antics and with an award for Top Male Vocalist.
  • Jackson met up with Williams' ghost again, so to speak, when he was invited to join The Lost Notebooks project, spearheaded by Bob Dylan, to add music to the late singer's unrecorded lyrics. Jackson's take on "You've Been Lonesome, Too" introduces the 2011 album. He told the Wall Street Journal: "Hank Williams has always been just such a big part of what real country music is - and a poet. He showed how simply you can write; people still need to learn that from him. And he's a reason I moved to Nashville."
  • Jackson wasn't the first country artist to cross paths with the singing specter. David Allan Coe's 1983 hit "The Ride" tells the haunting tale of a hitchhiker who spots the apparition on a lonely country road. Mark Chestnutt may or may not have been "Talking to Hank" in his 1992 duet with George Jones, where he stumbles upon an old shack in the woods that houses a country singer who is suspiciously like Hank.
  • This song peaked at #3 on the Country charts.
  • The black-and-white music video, directed by Jim Shea, won the CMA Music Video of the Year in 1992. Fitting in with the lyrics, Jackson emerges from his tour bus at a cemetery and performs the song at the gravesite.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 13

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaWas born almost two months after Hank died.
  • Adam from Clinton Township, MiThis songs sent chills down my spine as a boy. Now, I can't think of a more fitting tribute to Williams.
  • Henry O. Godwinn from Wheeling, WvAbout Hank Williams who was one of the best country singers around.
  • Jimmy from Goulds, NlI was doing a quiz and my result was all my rowdy friends are coming over by Hank Williams.Jr and was listening to this song,freaky
  • Farrah from Elon, NcLike many of you, this song gives me the chills. It's very spooky to say the least. It's a fitting tribute to a country music legend.
  • Jimmy from Austin, United StatesOn a TV program (perhaps on CMT, it was many years ago) they talked about the making of the video. They said that when they passed the camera across Hank's grave the image kept flickering. Apparently, he really did want to make his presence known.
  • Dana from Greenwood, ScThis songs gives me chillbumps every time I hear it.
  • Darrell from EugeneThe "Silver Eagle" in the song is a bus-conversion motorhome (similar to the Prevost or the Newell Coach), and such motorhomes are preferred by many celebrities. Personally, I prefer the 1975 Travco 320 that I had to sell in 1990 to pay for my quadruple bypass surgery, or just about any well-preserved or restored Travco.
  • Seagull from Athens, OhIt's Nudie suit (not nudi suit) as in Nudie Cohn.
  • Jessi from Central, ScTheres a rumor that this REALLY happen to Alan!
    & thats what inspired him to write "Midnight In Montgomery"
  • Ashley Jade from Cleveland, GaThis song scares the living hell out of me, I can barely listen to it even in the daytime. It gives me chills too
  • The Aaron from Nunyabidness, MoI'm not personally a big fan of country, but there's several I like, this song being in at least my top 5. This song gives me chills.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWhen I first heard this song I could tell that it was about a guy who meets the ghost of Hank Williams. I'm not sure why. I guess it was because I had had prior knowledge of Hank Williams's life.
see more comments

Rebecca St. JamesSongwriter Interviews

This Australian Christian music star found herself a California surfer guy, giving new meaning to her song "Wait For Me."

Julian LennonSongwriter Interviews

Julian tells the stories behind his hits "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes," and fills us in on his many non-musical pursuits. Also: what MTV meant to his career.

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.

The Punk Photography of Chris SteinSong Writing

Chris Stein of Blondie shares photos and stories from his book about the New York City punk scene.