Chart Watch Extra: Days Of Andy Williams
If you're under 50, you probably have no idea what a big star Andy Williams was in the 1960s and 1970s. The ultra-smooth singer and TV personality hosted the first seven Grammy Awards telecasts. In fact, producer Pierre Cossette was only able to sell the concept of the Grammys as a live telecast when he assured ABC that he could deliver a big star like Williams as host.
Williams, who died Tuesday at his home in Branson, Mo. at age 84, was in the vein of such crooners as Bing Crosby and Perry Como. He was just about the last singer in that traditional pop style to become a major star—not counting latter-day revivalists such as Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble.
Williams had a long string of hit albums: Twelve of his albums made the top 10 on what is now called The Billboard 200; 17 went gold or platinum. His 1962 album Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes spent more than three years (176 weeks) on the chart. His 1963 album Days Of Wine And Roses logged 16 weeks at #1. (It was #1 the week that Billboard combined its separate mono and stereo charts into one comprehensive chart.) It later received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year (but lost to Barbra Streisand's debut album.)
Williams' eight top 10 singles spanned nearly 15 years, from "Canadian Sunset" in 1956 to "(Where Do I Begin) Love Story" in 1971. His biggest hit was "Butterfly," which spent three weeks at #1 in 1957. His other top 10 hits were "I Like Your Kind Of Love," "Are You Sincere," "Lonely Street," "The Village Of St. Bernadette" and "Can't Get Used To Losing You." (Little-known fact: Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, who have both been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as non-performers, co-wrote "Can't Get Used To Losing You.")
And Williams was just as a big a TV star as he was a recording star. The Andy Williams Show ran on NBC from 1962 to 1967. In those five years, it won three Emmys as Outstanding Variety Series. Williams was nominated twice for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program, in 1963 and 1964. Williams headlined a second variety show on NBC from 1969 to 1971.
Though Williams was instrumental in getting the Grammys on TV, he never received a Grammy Award. He received six nominations through the years, including in 1958, the first year of the awards, when "Hawaiian Wedding Song" was nominated for Best Vocal Performance Male. He was also nominated for "Danny Boy" (1961), "The Days Of Wine And Roses" (1963, in two categories), "Call Me Irresponsible" (1964) and "The Shadow Of Your Smile" (1966).
Neil Portnow, The Recording Academy's President/CEO, said in a statement, "Andy Williams' smooth voice and casual style turned the songs he sang into timeless classics and made him one of America's top pop singers…The entertainment industry has lost a giant piece of its living history today, but Williams' legacy will forever be enshrined in the annals of music and television."