#27 Don Williams
Here’s my Top 100! I think anyone’s list of the top 100 Country music artist of all time would be skewed towards their own preferences and of course influenced by their age, area and other factors. So with that in mind I wouldn’t be surprised or offended at all if you were to disagree with the order in which I’ve picked my top 100.
#27 Don Williams (The Gentle Giant)
He was able to command the audience with just a stool, a guitar and a tender voice. At over 6 feet tall his shyness and his soft spoken manner of speaking and singing earned him the incredibly appropriate nick name…The Gentle Giant.
Some people are just born to sing and Don Williams began singing before he was even in school, winning his first talent contest at the age of 3. Growing up in Texas Don Williams formed his own folk group soon after graduating from High School. After 7 years with the folk group he was ready to take on a solo career and moved to Nashville where he began writing for Jack Clement’s publishing company. It wasn’t long before Clement has also signed him to his own record deal. It’s been said that the only person that was capable of singing Don Williams songs was Don Williams and so Clement had no choice but to set him up with his own record deal. That’s not hard to imagine considering no one else sounds like Don Williams.
On September 21, 1974 Don Williams had his first number one hit when his 6th single, I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me reached number one on the American Country Billboard Chart. The tender simple lyrics mixed with traditional country music and his honest, emotional and silky soft baritone voice was a recipe that would be repeated time and time again. He would find himself at the top of the chart 16 more times with hits like; You’re My Best Friend, Some Broken Hearts Never Mend and It Must Be Love. In 1978 Tulsa time won him the single of the year award and that same year he was also named the Male Vocalist Of The Year by the Country Music Association. Back problems took him off the road for a brief period in the 80’s but he returned and toured until 2006 when he officially retired. With the encouragement of country music stars like Keith Urban he returned to country music in 2010 after he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Health issues than forced him back into retirement in 2016.
Top 10 Songs
10) She Never Knew Me
09) Good Ole Boys Like Me
08) You’re My Best Friend
07) If Hollywood Don’t Need You
06) Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good
05) Some Broken Hearts Never Mend
04) I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me
03) It Must Be Love
02) I Believe In You
01) Tulsa Time
Something You Might Not Know:
Don Williams’s signature Hat was first given to him when he was filming W. W. & The Dixie Dance Kings. Don stated that until that time he really hadn’t worn a lot of hats but he liked it so much and it matched his personality so well that he just kept wearing it until it became a part of him.
Don Williams passed away on September 8th after a short illness. He was survived by his wife Joy (57 years) and 2 sons. He was 78.