Don Williams’Gentle giant’ Country Music Star, Dead at 78

The award-winning Country music star and Texas native, who forged his own musical identity in the 1970s with a unique and low-key style of country that earned him the nickname “The Gentle Giant,”of country music”, Don Williams has passed at the age of 78.

Publicist Kirt Webster report that he died following a short illness at his home in Alabama on Friday . Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, in a statement Friday. “His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant.”

He won the Country Music Association’s awards for best male vocalist and best single for “Tulsa Time” in 1978.

Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, and spent the early part of his career in rock, country and folk groups. He was a founding member of the Pozo Seco Singers, then started a solo career in 1971. 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

Williams had 17 No. 1 hits before retiring in 2016. 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.

He began his solo career in 1971 and enjoyed 17 no.1 country hits. His music – songs such as “Tulsa Time” and “Gypsy Woman” – were covered by singers including Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton.

Williams’ career caught the eye of veteran executive Jim Foglesong, who signed the singer to Dot, (later ABC / Dot) where his debut single for the label “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me” became a chart-topper in September 1974. The successes continued to come for the singer.

In fact, each single he released from 1974 through 1991 hit no lower than No. 22 on the Hot Country Songs chart, including the late-’70s No. 1s “Say It Again” and “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend,” which led to his being named as the Male Vocalist of the Year in 1978 by the Country Music Association.