Legal name: Henry William Thompson
Henry William Thompson (September 3, 1925 – November 6, 2007), known professionally as Hank Thompson, was an American country music entertainer whose career spanned seven decades.
Thompson's musical style, characterized as honky tonk Western swing, was a mixture of fiddles, electric guitar and steel guitar that featured his distinctive, smooth baritone vocals.
His backing band, The Brazos Valley Boys, was voted the top Country Western Band for 14 years in a row by Billboard. The primary difference between his music and that of Bob Wills was that Thompson, who used the swing beat and instrumentation to enhance his vocals, discouraged the intense instrumental soloing from his musicians that Wills encouraged; however, the "Hank Thompson sound" exceeded Bob Wills in Top 40 country hits.
Although not as prominent on the top country charts in later decades, Thompson remained a recording artist and concert draw well into his 80s.
The 1987 novel Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb was inspired by Thompson's life, specifically by his practice of picking up a local band to back him when he toured. In 2009 Cobb's novel was turned into a successful film directed by Scott Cooper and starring Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges.