Country Chatter

Country Music Legend – Don Williams Has Passed Away at 78


Don Williams was a legend of country music. His hits included “Tulsa Time” and “It Must Be Love,” has died at 78.

The Texas native was known as the “Gentle Giant” for his soft vocal style. His death follows a “short illness,” according to a press release.

Williams had one of the greatest and certainly most distinctive voices in country music history. A mellow, so smooth and canyon deep voice that let listeners get lost in his music. He’ll be remembered for putting that voice to use on such hits as “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” “One Good Well” and “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy.”

“It’s one of those blessings and curses kind of things,” Williams said in an interview in 1994.“If you have the talent, it’s a blessing. But there’s times that … a lot of the prices that you have to pay to be a part of it is a curse. But as far as … the way people have responded to what I’ve done, there’s very few things in my life that I’ve done that come anywhere close to making you feel exhilarated and humbled and fulfilled and challenged and all that, all at the same time.”

Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, on May 27, 1939, and grew up in Portland, Texas.  He began playing guitar as a teen, following along to songs that heard on the radio. Soon after he began playing in local bands.

Williams was in Nashville by the early ‘70s and scored a songwriting contract. Soon, he was a regular on the charts, starting with “The Shelter of Your Eyes” in 1973. His first chart-topper was “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me” in 1974.

He scored with one of his biggest hits in 1981 with “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the country charts but was also a crossover success in the pop music world.

“Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, in a statement Friday. “His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant.”

His last entry into the Top 10 came in 1991 with “Lord Have Mercy On a Country Boy.”

Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. He won the Country Music Association’s awards for best male vocalist and best single for “Tulsa Time” in 1978.

“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, which was also included in the news release about his passing.

Garth Brooks and Lady Antebellum were among the artists featured on “Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams,” a tribute album that came out earlier this year.