Monday, 3 December 2012
Andy Williams born 3 December 1927
Howard Andrew Williams (December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012) was an American popular music singer. He recorded seventeen Gold and three Platinum albums. He hosted The Andy Williams Show, a TV variety show, from 1962 to 1971, as well as numerous television specials. Most recently, he performed at his Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri, which was named after the Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini song "Moon River", with which he is closely identified.
Williams first performed in a children's choir at the local Presbyterian church. Williams and his three older brothers Dick, Don, and Bob, formed a quartet, the Williams Brothers, in the late 1930s, and they performed on radio in the Midwest, first at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and later at WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati. Williams graduated from Western Hills High School in Cincinnati. The Williams Brothers appeared with Bing Crosby on the hit record "Swinging on a Star" (1944). This led to a nightclub act with entertainer Kay Thompson from 1947 to 1951.
Andy Williams finally began his solo career in 1952, making several appearances on Steve Allen's Tonight Show before signing a contract with Archie Bleyer's Cadence Records in 1955. He hit the Top Ten in 1956 with his third single for the label, "Canadian Sunset." One year later, his soft-toned cover of the Charlie Gracie rockabilly nugget "Butterfly" hit number one (it's still his biggest hit).
Additional Top Ten entries "Are You Sincere," "Lonely Street," and "The Village of St. Bernadette" followed before Williams moved to Columbia in 1961.
During the 1960s, Williams became one of the most popular vocalists in the country and was signed to what was at that time the biggest recording contract in history. He was primarily an album artist, and at one time he had earned more gold albums than any solo performer except Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley. By 1973 he had earned as many as 18 gold album awards. Among his hit albums from this period were Moon River, Days of Wine and Roses (number one for 16 weeks in mid-1963), The Andy Williams Christmas Album, Dear Heart, The Shadow of Your Smile, Love, Andy, Get Together with Andy Williams, and Love Story. In these recordings Williams displays an incredible vocal technique along with an uncanny ability to make each song his very own, often rivaling or surpassing the version by the original artist. These attributes, along with his natural affinity for the music of the 1960s and early 1970s, combined to make him one of the premier easy listening singers of that era. In the UK, Williams continued toreach high chart status until 1978. The albums Can't Help Falling In Love (1970), Andy Williams Show (1970) Home Lovin Man ( #1 1971), Solitaire (1973), The Way We Were (1974) and Reflections (1978) all reached the Top 10.
Andy Williams remained very popular during the '70s, especially for British audiences. His single "Solitaire" hit the Top Ten there in 1973, though it didn't even chart in America. Two of his subsequent albums also performed well, but only in Britain. He released relatively few LPs during the 1980s, but returned to the pop world in the early '90s when he founded his own theater/resort in the home-grown entertainment capital of Branson, MO.On May 3, 1991, Williams married Debbie Meyer, whom he met through a mutual friend. They made their homes at Branson, Missouri and La Quinta, California, where he was known as the "honorary mayor".
In 2007 Andy appeared as himself on a few episodes of As the World Turns - based at his Moon River Theatre. He completed a sold out ticket UK Tour 2007 in which he performed at several major concert halls including Royal Albert Hall, singing among other classics, Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately".
It was reported in the press on November 4, 2011, that Williams had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. He confirmed the condition in a surprise appearance that weekend at his theater in Branson, as reported by the Branson Tri-Lakes News. After chemotherapy treatment in Houston, Texas, he and Debbie, moved to a rented home in Malibu, California in order to be closer to cancer specialists in the Los Angeles area. A release on July 19, 2012, from Williams' theater said that he had returned to Branson following cancer treatment. On September 25, 2012, Williams died at the age of 84 of bladder cancer. (info edited from Wikipedia & AMG)
Here's Andy performing his signature song, "Moon River" on his television show, February 7, 1970. Andy was 42 years old at the time.