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Don Williams, Country Hall of Famer, dies at 78

Don Williams, Country Hall of Famer, dies at 78

His mellow sound influenced a later generation of singers including Joe Nichols and Josh Turner and Keith Urban has said Williams drew him to country music.

Country singer Don Williams died "after a short illness" Friday afternoon, according to Billboard.

To support his family - which would grow to include two sons, Gary and Timmy - Williams worked at a number of odd jobs, including oil field work, and also as a bill collector.

Fans and country music stars expressed their sadness over hearing the news. His first No. 1 hit was "I Wouldn't Want to Live If You Didn't Love Me" and 42 of his 46 singles landed on the top 10 from 1974 to 1991. In that span, "Tulsa Time", "She Never Knew Me" and "It Must Be Love" were particular standouts. Over the next 20 years, every single Williams released made it to the charts except for one. That same year, he reached the pop Top Forty with the tender "I Believe in You", Between 1974 and 1991, of the almost 50 singles he released, first on Dot, then ABC/Dot - which would become MCA - then Capitol and finally RCA, all but three reached the Top Ten. But he would achieve his greatest success on his own, creating hits such as "You're My Best Friend", "Tulsa Time", and his biggest hit "I Believe In You", which reached the top of the country charts and #24 on the Hot 100 in 1981. He quickly recovered and continued to tour, including a notable stop at the 2013 Stagecoach Festival in California, before performing his final dates at the end of 2015.

Froome's lead cut by Nibali as race for Vuelta glory reignited
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The songs were popular internationally - he developed a following in England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and Kenya.

Williams, nicknamed "the Gentle Giant", had a rich voice, gentle delivery and storytelling style.

In a statement from the time, Don said: 'It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. Just one day before he turned 78, last May, tribute album Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams was issued.


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