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New Hank Williams Jr.'s defiant song logs 150,000 downloads in 24 hours

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Wed October 12, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hank Williams Jr. releases defiant new song "Keep the Change" on his website
  • The song logged 150,000 free downloads in 24 hours
  • ESPN dropped use of Williams' songs in football broadcasts after a controversial interview
  • Williams compared President Obama to Hitler on "Fox and Friends"

Tonight, 10 ET on "The Joy Behar Show," Hank Williams Jr. discusses the controversy over his remarks comparing President Obama to Hitler and talks to Joy about his split from ESPN.

(CNN) -- A good number of Hank Williams, Jr.'s rowdy friends are backing the outspoken country star a week after ESPN dropped his long-running musical introduction to Monday Night Football.

Williams' song "All My Rowdy Friends" had served as the theme song for MNF for 20 years, but was dropped after comments he made last week on the Fox News morning show "Fox and Friends." On the program, he said a recent golf outing involving President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, was "like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu. OK. Not hardly."

In a defiant response to his song being pulled, Williams released a new single, "Keep the Change," for free download on his website. So far, some 150,000 people have taken him up on the offer, a publicist said Monday.

The song -- an apparent dig at Obama's 2008 campaign promise to bring change to Washington -- is characteristically defiant, taking a poke at everyone from the White House to Fox.

"This country sure as hell has gone down the drain," Williams sings. "We know what we need. We know who to blame."

He also blasts the Fox show several times. "So Fox and Friends wanna put me down, ask for my opinion, then twist it all around," Williams sings. "Just wait and see, don't tread on me."

At the end of his song posted Monday, Williams urged people to "keep 'Fox and Friends' and ESPN out of your homes" in light of the flare-up.

"Because Bocephus and all his rowdy friends -- and his song -- is outta there," he concluded.

Though Williams initially apologized for his comments on Fox, he has been unapologetic in recent interviews, and told HLN's Joy Behar he was not fired by ESPN; he quit.

"When they pulled that Monday night, I told my manager, 'You can tell ESPN adios', Williams said in the interview that will air Wednesday night on "The Joy Behar Show" on HLN.

ESPN said it "decided to part ways" with Williams.

Williams was born May 26, 1949, and his iconic father nicknamed him "Bocephus" after a ventriloquist dummy used by Rod Brasfield, a country comedian, Williams' website says.

He debuted on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 11. In addition to "All My Rowdy Friends," his other hits include "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound," "Old Habits," "Born to Boogie" and "A Country Boy Can Survive."

The bearded Williams, who wears a hat and sunglasses during performances, suffered facial and head injuries in a 1975 mountain climbing accident.

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