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Don Williams

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Biography

With his laid-back, straightforward vocals and large, imposing build, Don Williams came to be known as "the Gentle Giant." That nickname was bestowed on him in the early '70s, when he began a string of countrypolitan hits that ran into the early '90s. Williams was never known as an innovator, but his ballads were immensely popular; in the course of his career, he had a total of 17 number one hits. Williams began playing guitar when he was child, learning the instrument from his mother. As a teenager, he played in a variety of country, rockabilly, folk, and rock & roll bands. After completing high school, he formed his first band with a friend named Lofton Kline. Williams and Kline recruited another singer, Susan Taylor, and formed the Pozo-Seco Singers, a folk-pop group, in 1964. The following year, the band signed a contract with Columbia Records. In 1966, the Pozo-Seco Singers had a pop hit with "Time," which climbed into the Top 50. For the next two years, they had a series of minor hits, highlighted by two Top 40 hits in late 1966, "I Can Make It with You" and "Look What You've Done." The group stayed until 1971. After the Pozo-Seco Singers disbanded, Williams decided to pursue a career as a songwriter in Nashville, since he wasn't convinced that he was suited for a solo career. He signed with Jack Clement's Jack Music, Inc., initially just as a songwriter. By the end of 1972, he had signed with JMI as a solo artist, releasing "Don't You Believe" as his debut. The song went nowhere, but "The Shelter of Your Eyes" climbed to number 14 at the beginning of 1973. For the next year, Williams scored a string of minor hits before he had his 1974 breakthrough, "We Should Be Together," which reached number five. The single led to a contract with ABC/Dot. "I Wouldn't Want to Live If You Didn't Love Me," his first single for ABC/Dot, reached number one in the summer 1974. The single launched a string of Top Ten hits that ran more or less uninterrupted until 1991; between 1974 and 1991, only four of his 46 charting singles didn't make the Top Ten. Instead of reaching the top of the charts with his original material, most of his big hits were covers of other songwriters, including John Prine, Bob McDill, Dave Loggins, and Wayland Holyfield. During the '70s, Don Williams became the most successful country artist in the world. His country-pop not only crossed over into the American pop mainstream, it also gained him a large following in England and Europe. In addition to his Top Ten hits, Williams won several country music awards, highlighted by the Country Music Association naming him Male Vocalist of the Year in 1978, the same year his number one single, "Tulsa Time," was named Single of the Year. In the late '70s, he began acting, appearing primarily in the films of his friend Burt Reynolds, including W.W. & the Dixie Dancekings and Smokey & the Bandit II. In the early '80s, Williams slowed down the pace of his career slightly, as he was suffering from back problems. Nevertheless, the hits continued to come and many of his singles reached number one. In 1986, he left MCA Records -- which had acquired the ABC label while he was recording for it -- and signed with Capitol. The change in labels didn't affect his career at all, as he continued to hit the Top Ten with regularity. In 1987, he underwent back surgery, which cured his problems. Williams signed with RCA Records in 1989. Initially, he continued to have hits, but his streak came to an end in early 1992, following his last Top Ten single, "Lord Have Mercy on a Country Boy." Although he continued to perform in the mid-'90s, he had effectively retired to his Nashville farm, returning to recording in 1998 with I Turn the Page. After some limited touring, Williams resumed his recording career with My Heart to You on Sugar Hill/Compendium in 2004, followed in 2006 by his "Farewell Tour of the World," playing throughout the United States and Europe, and another retirement. This one lasted until 2012, when he re-emerged with the acclaimed And So It Goes on Sugar Hill. Williams continued recording and performing, and released Reflections in March of 2014. The year 2016 brought another retirement for Williams, who announced he was ready to "enjoy some quiet time at home." He died in September 2017 at the age of 78. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   I Believe in You
  3.   Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good
  4.   Tulsa Time
  5.   Good Ole Boys Like Me
  6.   It Must Be Love
  7.   If Hollywood Don't Need You
  8.   Some Broken Hearts Never Mend
  9.   Amanda
  10.   I Just Come Here For The Music by Alison Krauss
  11.   You're My Best Friend
  12.   (Turn Out the Light And) Love Me Tonight
  13.   'Til the Rivers All Run Dry
  14.   I Wouldn't Want to Live If You Didn't Love Me
  15.   I'm Just a Country Boy
  16.   Listen to the Radio
  17.   Lay Down Beside Me
  18.   Rake and Ramblin' Man
  19.   Say It Again
  20.   Love Is on a Roll
  21.   Love Me Over Again
  22.   That's the Thing About Love
  23.   I've Been Loved by the Best
  24.   Walkin' a Broken Heart
  25.   Then It's Love
  26.   Imagine That
  27.   We've Got a Good Fire Going
  28.   I Recall a Gypsy Woman
  29.   If I Were Free
  30.   Talk Is Cheap
  31.   I Want You Back Again
  32.   Heartbeat in the Darkness
  33.   Pancho
  34.   Just Enough Love (For One Woman)
  35.   Don't You Believe
  36.   Hotel California
  37.   Spend Some Time
  38.   Wonderful Tonight
  39.   When Will I Ever Learn
  40.   There's No Angel on My Shoulder featuring Don Williams & the Pozo Seco Singers
  41.   The Rose
  42.   Rainy Nights and Memories
  43.   Nobody But You
  44.   It's Time for Love
  45.   I Need You to Want Me
  46.   Help Yourself to Each Other
  47.   If I Needed You by Emmylou Harris
  48.   Steal My Heart Away
  49.   Back on the Street Again
  50.   Desperado
  51.   Best of My Love
  52.   The Answer
  53.   Stronger Back
  54.   Working Man's Son
  55.   And So It Goes
  56.   Infinity
  57.   She's With Me
  58.   Turn Out the Lights
  59.   Flowers Won't Grow (In Gardens of Stone)
  60.   We're All the Way
  61.   True Love
  62.   Time
  63.   Tempted
  64.   Tears
  65.   Sweet Fever
  66.   Such a Lovely Lady
  67.   Spend Some Time With Me
  68.   So Far, So Good
  69.   Sneakin' Around
  70.   Simple Song
  71.   The Shelter of Your Eyes
  72.   Missing You, Missing Me
  73.   Miracles
  74.   Magic Carpet
  75.   Loving You's Like Coming Home
  76.   Lovin' Understandin' Man
  77.   Just as Long as I Have You
  78.   I'll Be Faithful to You
  79.   I Keep Putting Off Getting Over You
  80.   I Don't Want the Money
  81.   Fly Away
  82.   Falling Again
  83.   Especially You
  84.   Endless Sleep
  85.   Down the Road I Go
  86.   Diamonds to Dust
  87.   Cryin' Eyes
  88.   Come Early Morning
  89.   Broken Heartland
  90.   First Fool In Line
  91.   Ain't It Amazing
  92.   Too Many Tears (To Make Love Strong)
  93.   Only Water
  94.   Restless
  95.   Ramblin'
  96.   Stay Young
  97.   You Keep Coming 'round