Don Williams Dies At 78
An award-winning controversy-free American country star, plus a successful and widely admired singer/songwriter, Donald Ray Williams popularly known as Don Williams, is dead.
A statement by his publicist disclosed that he died on Friday, 8 September, 2017 after a brief illness. He was aged 78.
Williams, nicknamed ‘The Gentle Giant’ with a rich voice, gentle delivery and storytelling style, had 17 No. 1 hits before retiring in 2016. His mellow sound influenced a later generation of singers including Joe Nichols and Josh Turner and Keith Urban has said Williams drew him to country music.
His first No. 1 hit was “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me” and 42 of his 46 singles landed on the top 10 from 1974 to 1991.
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, and he wed wife Joy Bucher on April 10, 1960.
His mellow, amiable baritone and easygoing approach made him one of the biggest country stars of the 1970s. With simple arrangements, straightforward songs, and an emotionally honest but endearingly.
He was a founding member of the Pozo Seco Singers, then started a solo career in 1971. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, but missed the ceremony because he had bronchitis. His last studio album came out in 2014.
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,” he 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.