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Posts Tagged ‘Don Williams’

RIP, Don Williams (September 8, 2017) Country Music Legend

Posted by themusicsover on September 8, 2017

Don Williams
May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017

The Country Music world mourns the loss of one of its most distinctive song stylists with the passing of Don Williams after a short illness. He was 78.

A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, TX, graduating there in 1958. Music had always been a part of his upbringing, entering – and winning – a talent contest when he was just three years old. For his efforts, Williams received an alarm clock. He began playing guitar during his teen-age years, learning the songs that he heard on the radio during that period. He and his friends played in local bands around the area.

In 1969, Williams soon found his way to Nashville. By 1971, he had a songwriting contract with the publishing company owned by Jack Clement. The next year would see Williams ink a recording deal with Clement’s JMI Records. He made his chart debut with “The Shelter of Your Eyes” in 1973, and was soon hitting the charts time and again with a much more laid-back sound than a lot of the music coming out of Nashville at the time. 1974 would see Williams top the charts for the first time with “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me.” From that point all the way through 1991, each Williams single would hit the Top-40 on the Billboard Country charts. His 1970s hits included such chart toppers as “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” and “It Must Be Love.” His career grew steadily through label shifts to ABC/Dot, MCA, Capitol, and finally RCA. Williams also gained a devoted following overseas in such unlikely spots as England, Ireland, and New Zealand , and even South Africa and Kenya – where he reached superstar status. He was named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1978.

The 1980s saw no slow-down in Williams’ recorded output, with the singer notching his biggest hit with 1981’s “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the Country charts, but crossed over to No. 24 on the Hot 100. By this time, he had earned the nickname “The Gentle Giant” for his trademark mellow sound, and the hits continued to pile up throughout the rest of the decade – “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” and “One Good Well” being three of his biggest of the 1980s. His final top ten came in 1991, with “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy,” a song that Josh Turner – a Williams fan – would record in 2006.

Though the changing of the guard at radio slowed down Williams’ chart success, he continued to perform for sold-out crowds in America and abroad, playing a final tour in 2006. However, retirement was not in the cards for the singer, who returned to the road in 2010 – the same year that he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Williams’ return to the spotlight also included a pair of albums on Sugar Hill, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections, which included contributions from Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban. It was a sign of his enduring appeal that both albums hit the Top-20 on the Billboard Country Albums charts – his biggest rank there in three decades.

In 2016, Williams decided that the time was right for his final performance, calling it a career after one of the most successful careers in the history of the Country Music business. “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,” the 76-year-old Williams said in a statement at the time. Last year also saw the final release of Williams’ career, a live CD and DVD recorded in Ireland. In 2017, the singer was the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, that included performances of his hits by artists such as Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks. [Source: Webster Public Relations]

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Died On This DAte (December 6, 2011) Dobie Gray / Soul & Country Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on December 6, 2011

Dobie Gray
July 26, 1940 – December 6, 2011

Dobie Gray was an American soul (and later, country) singer and songwriter who, over a career that started in 1960, released hits like “The In Crowd” and “Drift Away,” which sold over a million copies and remains a staple on radio.  Born into a family of Texas sharecroppers, Gray was exposed to gospel music at an early age thanks to an uncle who was a Baptist minister.  By the early ’60s, he was living in Los Angeles where he met Sonny Bono who connected him with his first label, Stripe Records.  It wasn’t long until Gray was putting out a string of hits like “Look At Me,” “See You At The Go-Go,” and of course, “The In Crowd” and “Drift Away.”  The latter has been also recorded by such luminaries as Rod Stewart, Roy Orbison, the Neville Brothers, and Humble Pie. When he wasn’t making records, Gray worked as an actor – he spent over two years as part of the Los Angeles cast of Hair.  During the mid ’70s, Gray moved to Nashville where he wrote songs that were recorded by the likes of Charley Pride, George Jones, Ray Charles and Don Williams.  He also released a handful of moderately successful records at that time.  During the mid ’80s, Gray signed with Capitol Records and released a few country records that performed fairly well on the country charts.  Dobie Gray was 71 when he passed away in his sleep on December 6, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released, though he had been ill.

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Died On This Date (March 10, 2008) Barry “Byrd” Burton / Amazing Rhythm Aces

Posted by themusicsover on March 10, 2010

Barry “Byrd” Burton
DOB Unknown – March 10, 2008

Byrd Burton is best remembered for his time as guitarist for popular country rock band, the Amazing Rhythm Aces.  Burton’s guitar talents can be heard on such records as their 1975 hit single, and their 1976 Grammy-winning “The End is Not in Sight (The Cowboy Tune).”  Burton left the band in 1977 and went on to have a successful career as a session player.  In the studio, he played on records by the likes of Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, as well as on Don Williams’ “Tulsa Time.”  He was also in the touring bands of Brooks & Dunn, Dolly Parton and Dan Fogelberg.  In 1999, Burton learned that he had leukemia but fought it into remission for the next several years.  It returned in 2007, and on March 10, 2008 he died as a result of the disease.  He was 61 years old.



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