When I drive back to Iowa in a couple weeks, I’ll pass an arrowed sign giving the mileage to Wall Lake. And, as always, I will think of Andy Williams. He was born there in 1928 and died yesterday at his home in Branson.
Iowa has a way of claiming its kids forever, through good and bad, up and down. And, like most of us, he had both. But during the 60s, he was prime time as a television host as well as a vocalist. The first concert I ever attended was his performance at the Iowa State Fair–1963, I think. And the first album I ever purchased was the one above. I’m quite sure the LP is still in my garage.
He was marvelous with movie themes–Born Free, Dear Heart, Days of Wine and Roses, and, of course, this:
I remember watching him sing Battle Hymn of the Republic at his friend Bobby Kennedy’s funeral. And while I personally disliked his political views in later life, I’ll give a fellow Iowegian a bit of space there.
But when Christmas comes–this year, any year–all that will be forgotten. For if there was a mellow voice who could create the holiday mood with a single song, it was he.