Hank Williams Jr. Thrives With Downloads, Media Coverage Surrounding Controversy

With extensive coverage from the national media and more than 180,000 downloads of his new recording of “Keep the Change,” Hank Williams Jr. is gaining plenty of attention in the aftermath of his split with ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The controversy began Oct. 3 during an interview on Fox News’ Fox & Friends when he called President Obama “the enemy” and compared the president and House Speaker John Boehner playing golf together to Adolf Hitler playing golf with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Williams and ESPN quickly parted ways, with his familiar introduction of “are you ready for some football?” — a revised version of his 1984 hit, “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight — being removed from the network’s Monday Night Football telecasts. Williams responded by recording “Keep the Change,” an original song criticizing ESPN and Fox & Friends. He posted the track on his website Monday (Oct. 10) as a free download for 48 hours. Williams’ freedom of speech has been defended by Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and more liberal-leaning personalities such as Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar of ABC’s The View, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and Bill Maher of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. ESPN reportedly owns the signature line from the Monday Night Football theme that had been used for more than two decades. However, Williams told Fox News’ Sean Hannity he still owns the rights to “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” and now has “lots of options, lots of choices” about leasing the song to another network in the future. “Stand by for 2012,” he told Hannity. Find out more about Hank Williams Jr.’s “Keep the Change” on CMT Web Buzzz.