Friday, September 8, 2017

Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams Passes Away at 78

K.F. Raizor, author of the website Raizor's Edge and the book We Can't Sing and We Ain't Funny: The World of Homer and Jethro is our guest writer today on That Nashville Sound. She's ever so gracious to provide wonderful tributes to honor those to whom the music we treasure just wouldn't be the same without. Thank you, K.F.

The man they called "the Gentle Giant" is gone. Country Music Hall of Fame great Don Williams died today (9/8) after a short illness.

Born in Texas in 1939, Don Williams' smooth, Jim Reeves-like baritone voice began entertaining fans when he was part of the folk group the Pozo-Seco Singers in the 60s. The group had a minor successes with the songs "I Can Make It With You" and "Look What You've Done," both hitting the Billboard pop top 40 charts in 1966. After the band went their separate ways in 1970, member Susan Taylor found success as a songwriter for acts such as the Forrester Sisters, Tanya Tucker, and Mickey Gilley, using the name Taylor Pie. Don Williams, on the other hand, found the top of the mountain. Beginning with "The Shelter of Your Eyes" in late 1972, Williams had 56 singles chart in the Billboard country singles chart, all of four of which were top 40 hits.

There was nothing pretentious about Williams' music. It was pure, simple, and country. He sang of love ("Love Me All Over Again," "The Shelter of Your Eyes" -- both of which Williams wrote [an oft-overlooked element of his career] -- and "I Believe in You") with a beautiful voice and basic guitar, bass, and drum accompaniment. And it caught on. Oh, how it caught on. Over the course of his career Williams compiled seventeen #1 songs.

Interestingly, one of his comparative "flops" (only hitting #33 on the charts) was a Bob McDill love song called "Amanda." Waylon Jennings would later find chart-topping success with the song that Williams first recorded.

In addition to all of the great music, Williams was a devoted family man. He was one of the very few country singers you could say was never associated with any sort of scandal. He loved his wife, Joy, whom he married in 1960.

He also loved his music and his fans, staying on the road and performing until he decided to call it a career in 2016.

If an artist ever gave the world a song to describe how fans would feel about his/her death, it would be Don Williams and "Some Broken Hearts Never Mend."

A sad and grateful farewell to Don Williams, who was 78.

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