Don Williams, the legendary country music singer whose smash hits include “Tulsa Time” and “It Must Be Love,” has died.
The Texas native, who as known as the “Gentle Giant” for his soft vocal style, was 78 at the time of his death on Sept. 8. His death follows a “short illness,” according to a news release.
Williams possessed one of the greatest and certainly most distinctive voices in country music history – mellow, so smooth and canyon deep. He’ll be remembered for putting that voice to maximum use on such hits as “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” “One Good Well” and “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy.”
Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, on May 27, 1939, and grew up in Portland, Texas. He reportedly began playing guitar as a teen, following along to songs heard on the radio. He’d soon begin playing in local bands and marry Joy Bucher in 1960.
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’d score the biggest hit of his career in 1981 with the gorgeous “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the country charts but also crossover success in the pop music world.
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 continued to tour and record until recent years. He reportedly made his final performance in 2016
“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.
His final release in his life time was a live CD/DVD recording from Ireland, which was released last year.
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.