The legendary singer Andy Williams lost his year-long battle with bladder cancer on Tuesday night. He died at his home in Branson, Missouri. He was 84.
Andy Williams was known for his mellow crooning style but that might not be the best way to remember him. According to Fred Bronson at Billboard, Williams scored 42 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Many of his big hits were pure pop and written by top 40 songwriters.
Williams’ signature song was Henry Mancini’s Moon River from the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It is interesting to find out that it never charted on the Hot 100 because it wasn’t released as a single. According to Bronson:
He did perform the song at the 1962 Academy Awards, where it won the Oscar for Best Song. Williams’ label, Columbia, made sure stores were stocked with his album Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes the day after 80 million viewers watched the Oscarcast and the LP entered the Billboard album chart the week of May 12, 1962 and peaked at No. 3. The song became Williams’ theme on his weekly variety series and later inspired the name of his theater in Branson, Mo.
Williams’ biggest hit single was in 1963. Days of Wine and Roses, was an Academy Award winner and was written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini for the film of the same name. Williams performed the song at the Oscars that year.
On TV, Andy Williams was famous for his variety shows. “The Andy Williams Show,” appeared in various forms, and for various networks. Williams had shows on each of the three broadcast networks during his career. He started with a summer series first on ABC in 1958, and then on CBS in 1959, but he was best known for his initial five-year run on NBC. Andy won three Emmy Awards over the years for outstanding variety series. The program also introduced the Osmond Brothers to big-time show business.
Over his 75-year span in the business, Williams earned 17 gold and three platinum records. He left a large legacy of beautiful music and he will always be remembered for his easy style, mellow voice and casual banter with his guests and audience.
Williams is survived by his wife, Debbie, and his three kids, Robert, Noelle and Christian.
In 2010, Clay Aiken included the song, Moon River, on his CD, Tried and True. The arrangement, by Carl Marsh, featured Clay’s soft voice and the beautiful guitar of Vince Gill. Clay debuted the song on his PBS Special, Tried and True Live. He kept the beauty of the song, but put his own touch on his recording.