Saturday, 31 March 2018

John D. Loudermilk born 31 March 1934

John D. Loudermilk Jr. (March 31, 1934 – September 21, 2016) was an American singer and songwriter.  

Although he pursued a solo performing career during the 1950s and 60s, it will be as a songwriter that John D Loudermilk  will be remembered. Primarily a Nashville-based writer who composed material for mainstream country singers such as George Hamilton IV, Loudermilk worked in a variety of styles and over the decades was recorded by artists as diverse as Jefferson Airplane, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash and Marilyn Manson.

His best-known song was Tobacco Road, which became a big hit for the British group the Nashville Teens in 1964, reaching the British top 10 and the US top 20. Behind its pumping beat and distinctive harmonies, it was a grim tale of growing up in poverty (“Grew up in a rusty shack / All I had was hangin’ on my back”), but the song exerted a magnetic allure which has prompted countless performers to record it, from Bobbie Gentry and David Lee Roth to Edgar Winter, Eric Burdon, and Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle.

Loudermilk enjoyed his biggest success with Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian), a song inspired by the enforced removal of Cherokee people to Oklahoma in the 1830s that tapped into feelings of guilt about the treatment of Native Americans. In 1968 the British singer Don Fardon had a US top 20 hit with it (it also went to No 3 in the UK), and in 1971 Paul Revere & the Raiders took the song to the top of the US charts, selling 6m copies. Loudermilk, who was something of a prankster, recalled that he had convinced the American DJ Casey Kasem with a tall story of how he had written Indian Reservation after being rescued in a snowstorm by some Native Americans, who had asked him to write a song describing the hardships their people had experienced.

Loudermilk was born in Durham, North Carolina, to Pauline, a missionary and member of the Salvation Army, and John D Sr, a carpenter among whose jobs had been helping to build Durham’s Duke University. John D Jr’s cousins Ira and Charlie Loudermilk, having changed their surnames to Louvin, enjoyed great success as the renowned country music duo the Louvin Brothers. 

At the age of seven, John D (the initial did not stand for anything) was given a ukulele made from a cigar box by his father. He later learned the guitar and played various instruments in a Salvation Army band, and began writing songs in his teens. One of his earliest compositions was A Rose and a Baby Ruth, which Hamilton would record in 1956 after hearing Loudermilk play it on a Durham TV station where he was working in the house band.  In 1957 Loudermilk’s song Sittin’ in the Balcony (which he had recorded for North Carolina’s Colonial label, using the name Johnny Dee) was picked up by Cochran, who scored a No 18 hit with it.


Loudermilk attended Campbell College in Buies Creek, North Carolina, but dropped out to move to Nashville and pursue a musical career. He cut some unsuccessful singles for Columbia Records, but had better luck after moving to RCA Victor in 1961, where he scored several modest hits, reaching the US top 40 and the UK top 20 with Language of Love.
But supplying songs to other artists became his forte. With Marijohn Wilkin, he co-wrote Stonewall Jackson’s biggest hit, Waterloo; and Sue Thompson took his songs Sad Movies (Make Me Cry) and Paper Tiger into the charts. Talk Back Trembling Lips was not only a country hit for Ernest Ashworth, but also a pop success for Johnny Tillotson. In 1961 Ebony Eyes was a US No 8 pop hit for the Everly Brothers and also topped the UK chart as the B-side of ight Back.

Hamilton took Abilene to the top of the country charts in 1963, and Cash reached the country top 10 with Bad News in 1964, the year after Loudermilk had had a minor hit with it under his own name. Other notable artists who covered his songs included Roy Orbison, Marianne Faithfull, Glen Campbell, Chet Atkins, Linda Ronstadt, Norah Jones and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

 In 1967 Loudermilk won a Grammy for best liner notes for his album Suburban Attitudes in Country Verse. In 1976 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and during the 80s he took up the study of ethnomusicology.

Loudermilk had suffered from prostate cancer and respiratory ailments. He died on September 21, 2016, at his home in Christiana, Tennessee. The cause of death was a heart attack, according to his son Michael. He was 82. (Compiled mainly from an obit by Adam Sweeting @ The Guradian)

Here's a great version by the writer of the song! John D. wrote it and recorded it first in 1960. Here he is seen performing it for BBC-2 (John D. Loudermilk & his music, 1984).

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Sven Zetterberg born 28 March 1932

Sven Zetterberg (March 28, 1952 - December 21, 2016) was a Swedish blues and soul musician, vocalist and songwriter. He impressed Swedish audiences beginning in the early '70s with his guitar, harp, and raw soulful vocals. 

He was born in 1952 in Skärblacka, Sweden, and started playing harmonica at the age of 12 when he discovered the music of Little Walter. Sven began making a name for himself in the 1970s in the Swedish blues scene as a member Telge Blues Band. He went on to play with the groups Blue Fire, Blues Rockers and Four Roosters. The latter group also featured the renowned Norwegian guitar sensation Knut Reiersrud. During the second half of the 1980s to the end of the 1990s Sven’s group Chicago Express ruled the Swedish blues scene. During this period they released four successful and acclaimed albums.

He released his first solo album in 1999, Blues From Within. The record was nominated for a Swedish Grammy. The 2001 release of Let Me Get Over introduced the world to the soul singer side of Sven Zetterberg. The record received a wide recognition beyond the blues scene. This record was also nominated for a Swedish Grammy.

The breakthrough as a soul singer made it possible for Sven to engage two different backup bands. One band for the soul blues material and another trio when juke joint blues was requested. He was also often a guest on Christmas blues shows, tribute shows and rock´n´roll revivals. Irrespective of genre, a concert with Sven always guaranteed quality, full force and a soulful ‘give and take-meeting’ with his audience. He was a giant at communicating with the audience. No one ever left a Sven Zetterberg concert feeling disappointed.


Here’s a rare original release from 2004 of this superb crossover tune from Sweden's No. 1 man of R&B, Sven Zetterberg. Only 300 copies were pressed apparently and then re-released on the Gold Soul label in the UK.
He regularly released records of high quality during the 2000´s, all of them critical and public successes. He wrote a lot of new original songs with his guitar player Anders Lewén. As a result of the success of both his recordings and the live shows, his audience grew.  

Through the years he played and toured with a lot of famous American blues artists, including  Johnnie Johnson, Albert Collins, Lazy Lester, Jimmy Rogers, Louisiana Red, Eddie Kirkland, Eddie Boyd, Jimmy McCracklin, Carey Bell and Sunnyland Slim and others. He even played at several blues clubs in Chicago, mostly on the West Side.

After concluding a Christmas tour in mid-December of 2016, Zetterberg died of heart failure in Stockholm on the 18th of that month. He was 64 years old and was at his artistic peak at the time of his death. 

(Compiled and edited from & AllMusic)

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Richard Hayman born 27 March 1920

Richard Hayman (March 27, 1920 – February 5, 2014) was an American arranger, harmonica player and conductor. 

As a young man, Hayman taught himself to play the harmonica and accordion, and performed in local bands before moving to the west coast. In the late '30s as a player and an arranger he worked for three years with Borrah Minevitch’s Harmonica Rascals, and later played with Leo Diamond. He also appeared in vaudeville, and had several ‘bit’ parts in movies.

In the early '40s he arranged background music for films such as Girl Crazy (1943), Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) and State Fair (1945). In the late '40s he was arranger for Vaughan Monroe for a long spell, and in the early 50s was musical director and arranger for Bobby Wayne, providing the accompaniment on Wayne hits such as, ‘Let Me In’ and ‘Oh Mis’rable Lover’.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Hayman recorded a series of albums for Mercury Records. His 1957 outing "Havana In Hi-Fi" was first in the label's pop music stereo LP series (SR 60000). Hayman is also noted for albums now regarded as Exotica.


  In 1953 he started recording for Mercury Records with his own orchestra, featuring his own harmonica solos, and others by Jerry Murad, leader of the Harmonicats. His biggest hit was the 1953 single "Ruby". Hayman took the theme for the motion picture Ruby Gentry, and through his specially stylized arrangement, utilizing a harmonica as the solo instrument with a large, quasi-symphonic orchestra, the song zoomed to the top of the hit parade all over the world and brought about a renewed interest in the harmonica. It should also be mentioned that the flip side of the 45rpm and 78rpm single hit "Ruby" was the hit "Dansero" which also became an international favourite hit. Perhaps for this reason the single sold thousands or perhaps millions of copies for several years in the early to mid-1950s worldwide.

 Other hits ‘April in Portugal’, ‘Limelight (Terry’s Theme)’, ‘Eyes of Blue’ (theme from the film, Shane), ‘The Story of Three Loves’ (the film title theme), ‘Off Shore’ and ‘Sadie Thompson’s Song’ (from the Rita Hayworth movie, Miss Sadie Thompson). His last chart entry, in 1956, was ‘A Theme from the Threepenny Opera (Moritat)’, featuring pianist Jan August. He also made some recordings under the name of Dick Hayman and the Harmonica Sparklers. He composed several numbers such as ‘Dansero’, ‘No Strings Attached’, ‘Serenade to a Lost Love’, ‘Carriage Trade’, ‘Skipping Along’ and ‘Valse d’Amour’. He continued to chart into the early 1960s with titles like "Night Train".

Hayman is most famous for having been the principal arranger at the Boston Pops Orchestra for over 30 years where his award-winning arrangements are still used today. He occasionally guest-conducted there, and when Arthur Fiedler had a time conflict with his job as pops conductor for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he recommended Hayman for the post.
Hayman was closely affiliated with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for over 30 years. Known for his sequined jackets, harmonica solos, and corny jokes, he became its Principal Pops Conductor in 1976, leading both the Pops at Powell and Queeny Park concerts. Queeny Pops, with concertgoers seated at tables in the acoustically atrocious but centrally located (in the suburbs of west St. Louis County) Greensfelder Field House, was a hit for many years, and made it possible for the SLSO to offer its musicians a full 52-week annual contract. That ended when a financial crunch in 2001, coinciding with a realization that the SLSO's pops concerts had not changed with the times, led to the cancellation of the Queeny Pops series and a marked reduction in overall pops concerts by the orchestra.

Hayman's last event with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, where he held the title of Pops Conductor Emeritus, took place on June 27, 2010, to honour his 90th birthday. The St. Louis Metro Singers, who performed with him at many Pops concerts, were also on stage at the event. He retired as the Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids, Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Space Coast Pops Orchestra in Cocoa, Florida in 2012.

Hayman died in a Manhattan nursing home on February 5, 2014. He was 93.  (Compiled and edited from Wikipedia & All Music)

Here's a clip of Richard Hayman playing and conducting his own hit Ruby, from the motion picture Ruby Gentry. Recorded Sunday Nov. 14 2004 at Eissey Theatre, Palm Beach Gardens. With the Florida Sunshine Pops.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Johnny Crawford born 26 March 1946

John Ernest Crawford (born 1946 in Los Angeles) is a talented American actor, singer, and musician. 

An original Mouseketeer in 1955, Crawford has acted on stage, in films, and on television. His first important break as an actor followed with the title role in a Lux Video Theatre production of "Little Boy Lost", a live NBC broadcast on March 15, 1956. He also appeared in the popular Western series The Lone Ranger, in 1956, in one of the few colour episodes of that series. Following that performance, the young actor worked steadily with many seasoned actors and directors.

Freelancing for 2 1/2 years, he accumulated almost 60 television credits, including featured roles in three episodes of NBC's The Loretta Young Show and an appearance as Manuel in, "I Am an American", an episode of the syndicated crime drama Sheriff of Cochise. 

By the spring of 1958, he had also performed 14 demanding roles in live teleplays for NBC's Matinee Theatre, appeared on CBS's sitcom, Mr. Adams and Eve, in the Wagon Train episode "The Sally Potter Story" (in which Martin Milner also appeared) and on the syndicated series, Crossroads, Sheriff of Cochise, and Whirlybirds, and made three pilots of TV series. The third pilot, which was made as an episode of Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, was picked up by ABC and the first season of The Rifleman began filming in July 1958.
Crawford was nominated for an Emmy Award, at age 13, for his role as Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain, played by Chuck Connors, in the Four Star Television series The Rifleman, which originally aired from 1958 to 1963. Throughout The Rifleman's five seasons, a remarkable on-screen chemistry existed between Connors and Crawford in the depiction of their father-son relationship. They were still close friends when Connors died on November 10, 1992, and Crawford gave a eulogy at Connors' memorial service.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Crawford had wide popularity with American teenagers and a recording career that generated four Billboard Top 40 hits, including the single, "Cindy's Birthday", which peaked at number 8, in 1962. His other hits included "Rumors" (number 12, 1962), "Your Nose is Gonna Grow" (number 14, 1962), and "Proud" (number 29, 1963).

Among his films, Crawford played an American Indian in the unique adventure film, Indian Paint (1965). He played a character involved with a disturbed young girl played by Kim Darby in The Restless Ones (1965); and played a character shot by John Wayne's character in El Dorado (1967). He played a young deputy Billy Norris, in The Big Valley episode "The Other Face Of Justice" in 1969.

While enlisted in the United States Army for two years, Crawford worked on training films as a production coordinator, assistant director, script supervisor, and occasional actor. His rank was sergeant at the time of his honourable discharge in December 1967.  In 1968, Crawford played a soldier wanted for murder in "By the Numbers", an episode of the popular TV series Hawaii Five-O.

The Resurrection of Broncho Billy was a USC student film Crawford agreed to do as a favour to his close friend, producer John Longenecker. It won the 1970 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Subject.
 The Naked Ape was a partially animated 1973 feature film starring Crawford and Victoria Principal, produced by Hugh Hefner. 

After spending two years on the New York cocktail circuit singing in another man's band, Johnny formed his own 16-piece, Los Angeles based 1920's orchestra in 1990. The Johhny Crawford Dance Orchestra is now a fixture on the local swing-dancing scene re-energized by the film, Swingers. He's forsaken acting to forge a career and a business around that era in American history.   (Info edited mainly from Wikipedia)

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Pete Johnson born 25 March 1904

Pete Johnson (March 25, 1904 – March 23, 1967) was one of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis) whose sudden prominence in the late '30s helped make the style very popular.  

Johnson was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He was raised by his mother after his father deserted the family. Things got so bad financially; Pete was placed in an orphanage when he was three. He became so homesick, however, that he ran away and returned living at home. By the age of 12, he sought out work to ease some of the financial burden at home. He worked various jobs; in a factory, a print shop, and as a shoe-shiner. He dropped out of school in the fifth grade as a result of his efforts. 

Johnson began his musical career in 1922 as a drummer in Kansas City. He began piano about the same time he was learning the drums. His early piano practices took place in a church, where he was working as a water boy for a construction company. From 1926 to 1938 he worked as a pianist, often working with Big Joe Turner. An encounter with record producer John Hammond in 1936 led to an engagement at the Famous Door in New York City. In 1938 Johnson and Turner appeared in the From Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall. After this show the popularity of the boogie-woogie style was on the upswing. Johnson worked locally and toured and recorded with Turner, Meade Lux Lewis, and Albert Ammons during this period. Lewis, Ammons, and Johnson appeared in the film short Boogie-Woogie Dream in 1941.

The song "Roll 'Em Pete" (composed by Johnson and Turner), featuring Turner on vocals and Johnson on piano, was one of the first rock and roll records. Another self-referential title was their "Johnson and Turner Blues." In 1949, he also wrote and recorded "Rocket 88 Boogie," a two-sided instrumental, which influenced the 1951 Ike Turner hit, "Rocket 88".
On three dates in January 1946, Johnson recorded an early concept album, House Rent Party, in which he starts out playing alone, supposedly in a new empty house, and is joined there by J. C. Higginbotham, J. C. Heard, and other Kansas City players. Each has a solo single backed by Johnson, and then the whole group plays a jam session together. On this album Johnson shows his considerable command of stride piano and his ability to work with a group.

In 1950 he moved to Buffalo. He encountered some health and financial problems in this period, including losing part of a finger in an accident and being partially paralyzed by a stroke. Between January and October 1953 he was employed by an ice cream company washing trucks, but supplemented his income by performing in a trio which played at the Bamboo Room in Buffalo on weekends. Johnson experienced more of the same the following year, 1954. He washed cars at a mortuary for $25 a week. In July, however, a nice job came his way at the St. Louis Forest Park Hotel, a six-week engagement as resident pianist at the Circus Snack Bar. Some broadcasts were made on Saturday afternoons in a program called Saturday at the Chase.

Things remained somewhat bleak for the next four years, except for three appearances in 1955 at the Berkshire Music Barn in Lenox, MA. But he continued to record, and toured Europe in 1958 with the Jazz at the Philharmonic ensemble, despite the fact that he was not feeling well. While in Europe he received an invitation to appear at the Newport Jazz Festival, which he did upon his return to the States, accompanying Big Joe Turner, Chuck Berry and Big Maybelle.

 Johnson underwent a physical examination in August which revealed a heart condition as well as diabetes. Several strokes followed, resulting in complete loss of mobility in both hands. Four years after the series of strokes he was still disabled and was beginning to lose his eyesight. Jazz Report magazine ran a series of record auctions to raise money for Johnson. In 1964, a long-time correspondent of his, Hans Maurer, published The Pete Johnson Story. All sales proceeds went to Johnson. After an article appeared in a 1964 issue of Blues Unlimited detailing Johnson's difficulty in receiving royalty payments other than from Blue Note and Victor, in June, Johnson was accepted as a member of ASCAP, which finally ensured that some of the royalties would be received on a regular basis. 

Johnson made one final appearance at Hammond's January 1967 "Spirituals to Swing" concert, playing the right hand on a version of "Roll 'Em Pete", two months before his death.
He died in Meyer Hospital, Buffalo, New York in March 1967, at the age of 62.
 (Info edited mainly from Wikipedia)

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Jimmy Drake / Nervous Norvus born 24 March 1912

Nervous Norvus was the performing name of Jimmy Drake (March 24, 1912 – July 24, 1968).  
Jimmy was born in Memphis, and lived for a few years in Ripley, Tennessee, near the Arkansas border.  A chronic asthma condition led Drake's family to move him to California when he was seven, first to the Bay Area, then soon afterwards settling in Los Angeles. Like everyone else, the Drakes suffered hard through the Depression. 

He served a year-long hitch with the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program charged with make-work tasks such as forest maintenance and then spent the pre-War years hoboing around the country. He moved back to the Bay Area in 1941, settling, finally, in Oakland, in a modest house on West Grand which he would occupy for the rest of his life. He got married the following year, although little is known about his wife. A heart condition kept Drake out of the military; he spent the War years working in shipyards instead. At some point after the War he took a job as a truck driver, the occupation that would sustain him until the success of "Transfusion."

In 1951 Drake began writing novelty songs of his own, starting with "Little Cowboy." It was followed by "The Heart Mender" and "The Kangaroo Hop," the latter a preliminary version of "The Bullfrog Hop," one of the Dot singles. By 1953, the 41-year-old truck-driver was fishing around for a way to get off the roads, and set his sights on a career as a songwriter. His first move was to buy a reel-to-reel tape recorder and a cheap second-hand piano.  

Next, he signed up for a correspondence course in musical notation. "There were 96 lessons," he said in the Tribune interview. "I learned to read music in the first ten and quit. I haven't looked at the other 86." He then bought his king-sized uke, more properly known as a baritone ukulele.

As Nervous Norvus his novelty song "Transfusion" was a Top 20 hit in 1956, reaching No. 13 on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart. A second song, "Ape Call," released later that year, also charted and peaked at #28. The song was banned on many radio stations in the 1950s. The song was later played on the radio by DJ Barry Hansen, which reportedly led to Hansen's eventual nickname of Dr. Demento. The car crash sound effect from this song, dubbed from the Standard Sound Effects Library, can be heard on "Dead Man's Curve" by Jan and Dean and "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las, and is currently available on the "Classic TV Sound Effects Library" from Sound Ideas.

Nervous Norvus was over 40 by the time he had his two hit singles in 1956. His records were made with input from radio personality Red Blanchard, to whom he was sending demos in the hope of finding an artist to record them. Blanchard had been an influence, particularly with the "jive" language employed in the lyrics. After his brief time of glory, which amounted to less than six months, he concentrated on his demo service, providing music for other people's songs. He would charge around seven dollars to make these demos, some of which led to publishing contracts for the songwriters.

He was very shy and even turned down a chance to perform "Transfusion" on The Ed Sullivan Show. After a final single on Dot Records ("The Fang" b/w "Bullfrog Hop"), the artist had his contract dropped. He only recorded sporadically thereafter for a series of small independent labels like Embee ("Stoneage Woo" b/w "I Like Girls" - 1959) and Big Ben ("Does a Chinese Chicken have a Pigtail" - 1960), and made one more single for Neale records in 1964 ("Wa-Hoo").

Details of Drake's waning years are murky, and at present can be but speculated about. It is not known, for instance, for how long he continued his demo business, but a clue is that by the early '60s his once-frequent ads in the tipsheets had gradually wound to a halt. Drake sought solace in alcohol just a tad too much. On July 24, 1968, Jimmy Drake died, age 56, in an Alameda County hospital, of cirrhosis of the liver. His body was donated to the University of California Anatomy Department.

(Edited from Wikipedia and an article by Phil Milstein @ 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Roger Whittaker born 22 March 1936

Roger Whittaker (born 22 March 1936) is a Kenyan/British singer-songwriter and musician, who was born in Nairobi. His music is an eclectic mix of folk music and popular songs in addition to radio airplay hits. He is best known for his baritone singing voice and trademark whistling ability as well as his guitar skills.

Whittaker's parents, Edward and Vi Whittaker, were from Staffordshire, England, where they owned and operated a grocery shop. His father was injured in a motorcycle accident and the family moved to a farm near Thika, Kenya, because of its warmer climate. His grandfather sang in various clubs and his father played the violin. Roger learned to play the guitar. 

Upon completing his primary education, Whittaker was admitted to Prince of Wales School (now Nairobi School). Upon completing his high school education, he was called up for national service and spent two years in the Kenya Regiment fighting the Mau Mau insurgents in the Aberdare Forest. In 1956 he was demobilized and decided on a career in medicine. He enrolled at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. However, he left after 18 months and joined the civil service education department as a teacher, following in his mother's footsteps.

To further his teaching career, Whittaker moved to Britain in September 1959. For the next three years, he studied zoology, biochemistry and marine biology at Bangor University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He sang in local clubs and released songs on Flexi discs included with the campus newspaper, the Bangor University Rag.

Shortly afterwards, he was signed to Fontana Records, which released his first professional single, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", in 1962. (On the labels of the Fontana singles, he is billed as "Rog Whittaker".) In the summer of 1962, Whittaker performed in Portrush, Northern Ireland. He achieved a breakthrough when he was signed to appear on an Ulster Television show called This and That. His second single was a cover version of "Steel Men", released in June 1962.

In 1966, Whittaker switched from Fontana to EMI's Columbia label, and was billed as Roger Whittaker from this point forward. His fourth single for the imprint was "Durham Town (The Leavin')", which in 1969 became Whittaker's first UK Top 20 hit. Whittaker's US label, RCA Victor, released the uptempo "New World in the Morning" in 1970, where it became a Top 20 hit in Billboard magazine's Easy Listening chart.
In the early 1970s Whittaker took interest in the Nordic countries when he recorded the single "Where the Angels Tread (Änglamarken)" to the music of Evert Taube in 1972. In 1974 he performed at the Finnish Eurovision qualifications. 1975 saw EMI release "The Last Farewell", a track from his 1971 New World in the Morning album. It became his biggest hit and a signature song, selling more than 11 million copies worldwide.

 In 1979, Whittaker wrote the song "Call My Name" which reached
the final of the UK Eurovision selection, A Song For Europe, performed by Eleanor Keenan and coming third. Whittaker recorded the song himself and the single charted in several European countries. He established himself in country music with "I Love You Because" getting "into the lower reaches of the country chart" in late 1983.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Whittaker had success in Germany, with German language songs produced by Nick Munro. He appeared on German and Danish TV several times and was on the UK Top of the Pops show 10 times in the 1970s. Whittaker released 25 albums in Germany and managed to grow a considerable fan base within the country. 

After completing a tour of Germany (by then his strongest market) in 2001, a 65-year-old Whittaker announced his retirement from performing and settled down with his wife of 37 years in Ireland. Like many musical performers, however, he was unable to hold to this declaration and was back on tour in Germany in 2003. He moved to France in 2012 and reiterated that he had retired from touring in 2013. 

In his career to date, Whittaker has earned over 250 silver, gold andplatinum albums. He was part of a successful British team that won the annual Knokke Music Festival in Belgium, and won the Press Prize as the personality of the festival. He was awarded a 'Gold Badge Award', from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) in 1988 and earned a "Golden Tuning Fork" (Goldene Stimmgabel in Germany) in 1986, based on record sales and TV viewer votes. (Edited mainly from Wikipedia)