“He was Elvis before Elvis.” That’s how British actor Tom Hiddleston describes Hank Williams, the singer from Mount Olive, Alabama, who electrified audiences with his influential brand of country music.
His 1950s hits ‘Hey Good Lookin’, ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ and ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ helped to set the template for modern pop music, so it’s no wonder Hiddleston has played him in the upcoming biopic I Saw The Light, which will be released in the UK on May 6.
Williams lived hard, battling alcohol addiction and prescription drug abuse, and it’s hard not to think of this while listening to ‘I Saw The Light’, his reflective gospel song. The lyrics read: “I saw the light, I saw the light / No more darkness, no more night / Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight / Praise the Lord I saw the light.”
It’s an incredibly uplifting song, as you can see from the clip below. When Hiddleston appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to discuss the film, the host succeeded – after much coaxing – in convincing to him to join a sign-along, replete with backing band and audience participation. You’ll be clapping along like you’re in a gospel choir.
It’s not the first time Hiddleston has showed off his impressive singing voice in public. In 2014, the country singer Rodney Crowell revealed that the actor had visited him in Nashville to gleam some advice, and that they wound up performing live together.
“I asked Tom if he’d like to join us onstage and sing ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,’ a Hank Williams song I’d heard him practicing on the bus,” Crowell wrote on Facebook. “I was surprised when he said yes and skillfully performed the tune before what must have been 1500 people… Afterward, brimming with delight, he admitted, rather boyishly, that he’d never in his life performed with a band and had loved it.”
Hiddleston certainly comes across as an accomplished and confident singer in the Colbert clip, so why was she so reluctant to sing for Colbert? You’ve got it, Tom – flaunt it!