Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Hank Williams Jr., “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)”

“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.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I always assumed this hit came after “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.”

    This song sounds so bright and clean. Bowen’s powers as producer continue to clearly set Hank Jr.’s singles apart. The instruments glide along more like stockinged feet across kitchen linoleum than boots across a cornmeal-sprinkled hardwood dance floor. The song feels comfortable and relaxed, domestic even. Bocephus sounds begrudgingly comfortable, if not sincere, when telling us that he includes himself in this circle of friends that “done rowdied on down.”

    This song just sound fantastic and timeless.

  2. The production on this song is top notch. Sticking to his outlaw sound but adding in just enough additional flourishes to spice it up like the mandolin running throughout (awesome). Funny the line about how the hangovers hurt more than they used to is hilariously relatable to me now being 30.

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