Not only is this one of Hank Williams Jr.’s best performances, it’s also different than anything we’ve ever heard from him. Hank Jr. released “Ain’t Misbehavin'” on his 1985 album Five-O. It earned him a GRAMMY nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
“Ain’t Misbehavin'” was originally written in 1929 as a jazz/swing standard and covered by several jazz greats including the legendary Louis Armstrong. It was first performed at the premiere of Connie’s Hot Chocolates as an opening number. It was later changed to just Hot Chocolates when Armstrong took over as orchestra director. The song called for a trumpet solo, which Armstrong played so well that the trumpeter was asked to climb out of the orchestra pit and play the piece on stage!
In 1943, the song was recorded by Fats Waller with lyrics for the film Stormy Weather, which earned him a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1984. It was also selected to be included in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2004.
During his 1987 TV special Hank Williams Jr. and Friends on The Nashville Network, Hank Jr. slowed down his normally rowdy set to play the jazz standard that ended up going No. 1 for him. He started it off with a soulful guitar solo, followed by jazzy vocals that earned him screams and cheers from the crowd.
His band definitely broke it down during the musical break with everything from piano and trumpet solos to tenor saxophone riffs. There’s no surprise why this song went No. 1 for the country legend even though it’s very different from what we are used to hearing for him.
Watch the awesome live performance below.