Like Perry Como and Bing Crosby, Andy Williams was one of those laid-back crooners who never seemed to get too excited or upset when he delivered a song. Starting as a kid in the 1930s with his brothers, on the road, on radio, then onto a career alone, he cranked out a series of pop hits, the best known of which was "Moon River," which became his signature song, the title of his bio, and the theater he eventually opened in Branson.
One of the kings of Easy Listening, Williams was not a writer, he made his name doing covers, movie soundtracks, and standards, but he was butter-smooth and he picked some winners:
"Music to Watch Girls By," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Charade," "Born Free," "Dear Heart," and my favorite, "Can't Get Used to Losing You," which is one I keep in my repertoire. Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, it's got a catchy, jazzy, syncopated flow.
On his TV show, which ran for years, he would feature groups like The Jackson Five and The Osmonds, and he did a Christmas special for years that let you know it really was the Christmas season.
Been a couple hip-hop and rap singers who've used his stuff in mash-ups, but chances are most of my younger readers won't know who Williams was unless they happened to hear him on a visit to Grandma's house when her Victrola was going ...
He was eighty-four, and he stayed in front of the mike almost to the end.