“All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)”
Hank Williams Jr.
Written by Hank Williams Jr.
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
November 13, 1981
#1 (1 week)
November 21, 1981
Hank Williams Jr. was really coming into his own in the early eighties. He’d been an active recording artist since 1964, but with producer Jimmy Bowen, he finally found the signature sound that would make him a superstar.
His status as country music royalty made Williams remarkably comfortable in name-checking artists in his songs, and he does quite a bit of that on “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down.)”
If Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” made a bold opening statement for the go-getter eighties, “Rowdy Friends” serves as a quiet requiem for the outlaw seventies. George Jones has stopped drinking, Waylon Jennings just wants to hang out with wife Lisa Colter, and Kris Kristofferson is out in L.A. making movies.
Meanwhile, Hank still wants to hit the town, but he’s got to seek out new companions to do so. All his peers “just want to go home.” And they’ve got the right idea, as the toll on your body goes up with your age: “the hangovers hurt more than they used to, and corn bread and iced tea took the place of pills and 90-proof.”
Despite his elbow-rubbing with the stars, that’s still a message that every common woman and man in America can relate to, if they’re of a certain age. It works as a great country song whether it’s played in a honky tonk, a living room, or on the radio during a commute.
It certainly stands in stark contrast to his next single, the Confederate sympathizer’s masturbatory fantasy “A Country Boy Can Survive.” It went top five.
We’ll see him back on top next year with a cover of one of his dad’s classic hits.
“All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)” gets an A.
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