Don Williams (born May 27, 1939, Floydada, Texas, United States) is an American country singer, songwriter and a 2010 inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He grew up in Portland, Texas, and graduated in 1958 from Gregory-Portland High School. After seven years with the folk-pop group Pozo-Seco Singers, he began his solo career in 1971, singing popular ballads and amassing 17 number one country hits.
His straightforward yet smooth bass-baritone voice, soft tones, and imposing build earned him the nickname: "Gentle Giant" of country music.
by Bob Paxman | September 8, 2017
Don Williams Dead at 78
Don Williams, who parlayed a smooth baritone singing style into country music stardom, died on Sept. 8 following a short illness at age 78. “The Gentle Giant,” as he was often known, was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and won the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year award in 1978.
Born in Floydada, Texas, May 27, 1939, don was singing professionally by the time he turned 18. In 1964, he became the lead vocalist for the Pozo-Seco Singers pop trio, which enjoyed mild chart success. After splitting from the trio in 1970, Don briefly left the music business but resurfaced as a songwriter and solo artist for Cowboy Jack Clements’ JMI label in 1972. He scored several hits for that label, including “We Should Be Together,” which peaked at No. 5.
Signing with Dot, which later became ABC/Dot, helped springboard Don to the next level of country stardom. His first single for the label in 1974, “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me,”
reached No. 1. The follow-up, “The Ties That Bind,” hit the Top 5, but Don then ran off a string of four straight No. 1 singles, starting with 1975’s “You’re My Best Friend,” which became one of his best-loved tunes over the years. The hits continued through the 1970’s with the ABC/Dot and MCA labels with such favorites as “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” and “Tulsa Time.”
In 1980, Don released his most popular hit, “I Believe in You,” which also became a smash in Australia, New Zealand and other countries overseas. Don was one of the first American country artists to achieve an international following, due in part to his pure and soothing baritone voice, relatable to any language or culture. Contemporary artist Keith Urban, who grew up in Australia, vividly remembers Don Williams records being played in his household. Keith, along with current stars like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Alison Krauss, will often cite Don Williams as a major influence.
In concert, Don engaged audiences with warmth and soft-spoken charm. Offstage, however, Don stood as the product of a different era, when artists generally did not engage in self-promotion. As such, he rarely granted interviews and seldom talked about himself.
Don scored the last of his 17 No. 1 career No. 1 singles in 1986 with “Heartbeat in the Darkness” for Capitol Records. He continued to tour both in the U.S. and abroad until announcing a Farewell Tour of the World in early 2006. After resuming touring in 2010, he retired permanently in 2016.
In 2010, Don was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but was unable to attend the ceremony due to an illness. During the induction program, Alison Krauss described Don’s unique voice as, “Somewhere between Santa and the Almighty.”
On May 26, 2017, a tribute album in Williams’ honor, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, was released. The album features performances by Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Jason Isbell and many others.
As his fans and fellow singers will easily concur, Don Williams was a giant among artists.
by Jim Casey | @TheJimCasey | May 25, 2017
Giant Ole Opry
Background information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Williams was born the youngest of three sons on May 27, 1939, in Floydada, Texas. His parents were Loveta Mae (née Lambert; 1914 -2007) and James Andrew "Jim" Williams (1898-1982). He grew up in Portland, Texas and graduated from Gregory-Portland High School in 1958. After Williams' parents divorced, Loveta Williams remarried first to Chester Lang, and then to Robert Bevers.
On July 20, 1963, Williams' eldest brother Kenneth died after being accidentally electrocuted when touching a live wire. He was 29 years old.
Prior to forming the folk-pop group Pozo-Seco Singers, Williams served with The United States Army Security Agency for two years then, after his honorable discharge, worked various odd jobs in order to support himself and his family.
It was with the group the Pozo-Seco Singers that Williams, alongside Susan Taylor and Lofton Cline, recorded several records for Columbia Records. He remained with the group until 1969; it disbanded the following year.
After the Pozo-Seco Singers disbanded, Williams briefly worked outside the music industry. Soon, however, Williams resumed his career in music. In December 1971, Williams signed on as a songwriter for Jack Clement with Jack Music Inc. In 1972, Williams inked a contract with JMI Records as a solo country artist. His 1974 song, "We Should Be Together," reached number five, and he signed with ABC/Dot Records. At the height of the country and western boom in the UK in 1976, he had top forty pop chart hits with "You're My Best Friend" and "I Recall a Gypsy Woman".
His first single with ABC/Dot, "I Wouldn't Want to Live If You Didn't Love Me," became a number one hit, and was the first of a string of top ten hits he had between 1974 and 1991. Only four of his 46 singles didn't make it to the Top Ten.
"I Believe in You", written by Roger Cook and Sam Hogin, was Williams' eleventh #1 on the country chart. It was his only Top 40 chart entry in the U.S., where it peaked at #24. It was also hit in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Williams had some minor roles in Burt Reynolds movies. In 1975, Don appeared as a member of the Dixie Dancekings band in the movie "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings" alongside Reynolds. Don also appeared as himself in the Universal Pictures movie, "Smokey and the Bandit II", in which he also played a number of songs.
Early in 2006, Williams announced his "Farewell Tour of the World" and played numerous dates both in the U.S. and abroad, wrapping the tour up with a sold-out "Final Farewell Concert" in Memphis, Tennessee at the Cannon Center for Performing Arts on November 21, 2006. In 2010, Williams came out of retirement and was once again touring.
In March 2012, Williams announced the release of a new record "And So It Goes" (UK release April 30, 2012; U.S./Worldwide release June 19, 2012), his first new record since 2004. The record is his first with the independent Americana label Sugar Hill Records.
The record includes guest appearances by Alison Krauss, Keith Urban, and Vince Gill. To accompany his latest album release he embarked on a UK Tour. A much loved country artist among British fans, he had his final UK tour in 2014.
In March 2016, Williams announced he was retiring from touring and cancelled all his scheduled shows. "It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I'm so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support," he said in a statement.
On September 8, 2017, Williams died in Mobile, Alabama due to emphysema.
Williams has had a strong influence over a variety of recording artists of different genres. His hits have been covered by artists such as Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Claude Russell Bridges, Lefty Frizzell, Josh Turner, Sonny James, Alison Krauss, Billy Dean, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Lambchop, Alan Jackson, Tomeu Penya, Waylon Jennings, Pete Townshend and Tortoise with Bonnie "Prince" Billy.
His music is also popular internationally, including the UK, Australia, Ukraine, India, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
In 2010, the Country Music Association inducted Don Williams into the Country Music Hall of Fame. This is considered to be the Country music industry's highest honor to bestow upon an artist.
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Wikipedia: This page was last edited on 17 September 2018, at 22:57 (UTC).