April 13, 2010 Hank Williams Sr. died too young to receive the kind of acclaim that accrues with time spent as a working artist. As a singer, a songwriter, and a musician, he was famous when alive but has become a legend since his death in 1953. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, the National Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. And now, for his unparalleled contributions to American music, the Pulitzer Prize Board has awarded a posthumous Special Citation to Williams.
The citation praises Williams for “his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life.”
The press release announcing the citation acknowledges “the Board’s desire to broaden its Music Prize and recognize the full range of musical excellence that might not have been considered in the past.”
In recent years, the Board has awarded several other Special Citations in music: To jazz composers Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane in 2006 and 2007 and to composer and singer Bob Dylan in 2008.
The full release is here.