18 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though the song has been sung by everyone from Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Chevy Chase in Fletch, it’s impossible not to think of the late, great Andy Williams when hearing “Moon River.” Featuring 18 songs released between the late '50s and early '70s, this compilation does well to emphasize Williams’ '60s heyday. Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman’s “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” sounds like it was customized for Williams’ buttery tenor. Similarly, John Barry and Don Black's title track for the 1966 film Born Free could have been tailor-made for Williams’ soaring range; there are movements in the song where his elongated inflections upstage the French horn and strings. Standouts from the '70s include a cover of Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (Williams’ version is much more flirty and seductive than Frankie Valli’s) and the amorous “We’ve Only Just Begun.” While Karen Carpenter made the song famous, Williams gave it a smoothly masculine authority. Overall, an outstanding collection of one of pop's most versatile vocalists.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though the song has been sung by everyone from Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Chevy Chase in Fletch, it’s impossible not to think of the late, great Andy Williams when hearing “Moon River.” Featuring 18 songs released between the late '50s and early '70s, this compilation does well to emphasize Williams’ '60s heyday. Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman’s “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” sounds like it was customized for Williams’ buttery tenor. Similarly, John Barry and Don Black's title track for the 1966 film Born Free could have been tailor-made for Williams’ soaring range; there are movements in the song where his elongated inflections upstage the French horn and strings. Standouts from the '70s include a cover of Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (Williams’ version is much more flirty and seductive than Frankie Valli’s) and the amorous “We’ve Only Just Begun.” While Karen Carpenter made the song famous, Williams gave it a smoothly masculine authority. Overall, an outstanding collection of one of pop's most versatile vocalists.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
27 Ratings
27 Ratings

A good compilation

Thanks, Andy

This new compilation, released on the same day as his autobiography, is a good sampler of Williams' work on Columbia/Sony. It includes his biggest hits as well as a few lesser known or rare tracks. (Most notably, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" that he sang at the funeral mass for Bobby Kennedy when he was slain.) It is difficult for many today to recall how popular Andy once was. He was a "crossover" artist when rock was beginning to dominate and played a role in making that happen in more ways than one. In his first, now out-of-print autobiography, Clive Davis recounted how he was sweating bullets upon taking over Columbia just as Andy's contract was due for renewal. He was their biggest seller at the time and, as such, was paying the bils for the rock stars that Columbia was embracing, including such legendary artists as Dylan. Williams also was the host of the Grammy awards for the first several years they were telecast and helped cross and merge generational lines in doing so. I can recall watching those telecasts as well as his weekly show when I was growing up. When he did "covers" of popular songs I knew, my parents and I would watch and listen together. They heard some of my music, and I "tolerated" some of theirs. A couple of years ago when he had his final Christmas tour in his 80's, my wife arranged for us to take my parents to see it along with our then "tween" daughter. His voice was still remarkably good for his age. Our daughter "tolerated" it then and may someday appreciate it more. To me, it was a special moment which brought all of us together for a time just like Andy had when I was young. Thanks for the memories, Andy.

Great Album

shut it 23

One of the best ever! Great from start to finish.

The Very best of Andy William

Chris Walent

Moon river

About Andy Williams

An engaging crooner, TV personality, and entrepreneur, Andy Williams was one of the most bankable and popular singers of his era. With his laid-back delivery, supple voice, and amiable charm, Williams rode a wave of success that took him from a childhood vocal act with his brothers to worldwide fame as a solo artist, eventually finding latter-day success as a theater impresario in Branson, Missouri. Though he started out as a crooner in the post-Frank Sinatra style, his wide-ranging taste in music (as evidenced by the guests on his '60s variety show) found him embracing artists and songs across generational and stylistic boundaries; and he can be heard on record interpreting songs that range from traditional pop to rock to bossa nova, country, and beyond. From the pre-rock & roll era onward, Williams was one of the most recognizable singers of his day.

Born in Wall Lake, Iowa, Williams sang in his church choir and later formed a quartet with his three brothers. The group performed on radio throughout the Midwest, then moved to Los Angeles to make it in show business. The Williams Brothers Quartet appeared on Bing Crosby's 1944 hit "Swinging on a Star" and appeared with comedienne Kay Thompson during the late '40s.

Andy Williams finally began his solo career in 1952, making several appearances on Steve Allen's The Tonight Show before signing a contract with Archie Bleyer's Cadence Records in 1955. He hit the Top Ten in 1956 with his third single for the label, "Canadian Sunset." One year later, his soft-toned cover of the Charlie Gracie rockabilly nugget "Butterfly" hit number one (it's still his biggest hit). Additional Top Ten entries "Are You Sincere," "Lonely Street," and "The Village of St. Bernadette" followed before Williams moved to Columbia in 1961.

Despite another big hit in 1963, "Can't Get Used to Losing You," Williams failed to generate much action on the singles charts during the 1960s. Instead, his highly rated variety program on NBC-TV spurred interest in the ever-growing LP market for adult and middle-of-the-road audiences. The popular 1962 album Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes featured the song he's most identified with, and the following year's Days of Wine and Roses hit the top of the album charts. Nine more LPs hit the Top Ten for Andy Williams during the '60s, many organized around loose themes -- Broadway, ballads, and one album that featured members of his family. Though 1971's Love Story was a platinum success that sparked a Top Ten hit for the title song, his television show was canceled that year.

Andy Williams remained very popular during the '70s, especially for British audiences. His single "Solitaire" hit the Top Ten there in 1973, though it didn't even chart in America. Two of his subsequent albums also performed well, but only in Britain. He released relatively few LPs during the 1980s, but returned to the pop world in the early '90s when he founded his own theater/resort in the home-grown entertainment capital of Branson, Missouri. Williams continued to headline shows there for 20 years, although he announced from its stage during a Christmas 2011 show that he had been diagnosed with cancer. It finally took his life on September 25, 2012. ~ John Bush

HOMETOWN
Wall Lake, IA
GENRE
Pop
BORN
December 3, 1928

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