Sunday, March 29, 2015

Billy Williams

Artist: Billy Williams
LP: Vote For Billy Williams
Song: "You're the Only One I Adore" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Azure-Te"
[ listen ]
Song: "Mad About Cha" 
[ listen ]

I'm for Bill! He's It! Go! I realize there are several factors that make the possibility unlikely, but since we share the same last name, I'd like to believe that Billy Williams and I are related somewhere up the line. Born in Waco, Texas in 1910, Billy started singing with a quartet known as The Charioteers in 1930. They appeared on a Cincinnati radio show before hitting it big with Bing Crosby and scoring a number of popular hits throughout the 1940s. Billy left The Charioteers in 1950 to form his own quartet in which he'd have more say in the musical and financial matters of the group. The Billy Williams Quartet gained popularity with their regular Saturday night TV appearances on Sid Ceasar's "Your Show of Shows" but Billy's biggest hit came in 1957, a few months after he left the quartet for a solo career. His cover of "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" hit the #3 spot nationally and spent nearly half a year on the pop charts. In fact, Billy Williams was the featured musical guest on the very first nationally televised American Bandstand show with Dick Clark.

Sadly, Billy Williams faded into obscurity not long after that. In the early 1960s he lost his voice due to complications from diabetes. His final years were spent living in donated quarters in Chicago, where he did social work, contributing to a model cities project and helping alcoholics. Authorities couldn't find anyone to claim Billy's body or to provide a proper burial for him when he died in the autumn of 1972. You can read more about Billy Williams on Wikipedia here, there's even more about his life and music career here, and go here to find the complete Billy Williams discography.

This brilliant 1959 LP on the Mercury label is another one of the records I collected from the collection of David Lloyd Whited. I certainly appreciate his helping me get acquainted with the Calm! Cool! and Collected! Billy Williams!

[ Billy Williams: December 28, 1910 — October 17, 1972 ]

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