Country News

19th September 1979: American country singer and songwriter Don Williams (1939 - ), talking to press at a hotel in London before the start of his UK tour. (Photo by Stuart Nicol/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Country music lost one of its most distinctive voices with the passing of singer, songwriter and Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams September 8th. He was 78. Known as the “Gentle Giant” for his smooth baritone, laid-back sound and 6′ 1″ frame, the Texas-born troubadour died of emphysema in Mobile, AL.

Following a two-year stint in the U.S. Army and subsequent years as lead singer for the folk/pop group the Pozo-Seco Singers, Williams solo career began in the early ’70s. The mild-mannered singer enjoyed a string of hits through the 1980s including celebrated classics such as “Tulsa Time,” “Good Ole Boys Like Me,” “I Believe In You,” “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” “‘Til All The Rivers Run Dry,” “You’re My Best Friend,” “Love Is On A Roll,” “Listen To The Radio,” “If I Needed You,” “It Must Be Love,” “Amanda,” “She Never Knew Me” and “Heartbeat In The Darkness.” All told, the singer charted 45 Billboard Hot Country Top 10s and 17 No. 1s, the publication reports.

“Tulsa Time”

Don Williams - Tulsa Time 1982

Don Williams - Tulsa Time 1982 Released 1978 I left Oklahoma drivin' in a Pontiac Just about to lose my mind I was goin' on to Arizona, maybe on to California Where the people all live so fine My baby said I was crazy, my momma called me lazy I

Williams stopped touring in 2016, capping one of the most successful careers in country music. “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home.” he remarked at the time. “I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support.”

Counted among those fans, friends and supporters is Keith Urban, who was among the many to pay tribute on social media. “I cannot put into words the depth of sadness I feel right now at hearing of Don’s passing,” the superstar tweeted upon hearing the news. He shared a video of their collaboration on “Imagine That” (seen above), which appears on Williams’ 2012 album And So It Goes.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Follow those developments here.

Teddy McDonald is a fun-lovin’ country music fan man living in Nashville, Tennessee.