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Danny Williams

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Singer Danny Williams earned the nickname "Britain's Johnny Mathis" for his smooth and stylish way with a ballad. All of his hits occurred in the U.K., with the exception of one, "White on White." The single landed in the Top 10 in the U.S. in 1964, but ironically it bombed in the U.K. A native of South Africa, the vocalist stepped to the forefront of his church choir at the age of six, when he was tapped as a soloist. By the age of 14, he competed for a spot in a production called Golden City Dixies, which was based in Johannesburg but set to tour England and other countries. Williams took top honors in the competition and started touring with the company. His next break came in 1959, when his performance caught the attention of Norman Newell, a producer. Before the year was over, Williams was part of the stable of artists at HMV Records and had put out "Tall a Tree," his debut single. He also appeared on television's Drumbeat. Several singles followed before Williams scored in a big way with "Moon River." His version of the song, which was crafted by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, soared to the top of the charts just two years after he started recording. The following year in the U.S., crooner Andy Williams put out his rendition of "Moon River," the theme to Breakfast at Tiffany's, and it was forever after identified with him. In 1962, Danny Williams continued to do well in the U.K., climbing into the Top 10 with "Jeannie" and "Wonderful World of the Young." The latter was originally recorded by Andy Williams. During the 1970s, the British singer continued to record, but his Philips and Deram releases didn't make much of a splash. He also played the club circuit during this time. He got another taste of chart success in 1977 with the Ensign release "Dancing Easy," which landed in the U.K.'s Top 40. Recordings followed on EMI/Columbia and Piccadilly. He began recording for Prestige Records in the early '90s. He went on to perform in the Nat King Cole Tribute Show, starting in 1994. ~ Linda Seida

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January 07, 1942 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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