Donald Ray Williams (May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017) was an American country singer and songwriter. He died in Mobile, Alabama aged 78.
He was the youngest of three sons and was born on May 27, 1939, in Floydada, Texas and grew up in Portland, Texas. He moved to Nashville in the late 1960s and wrote songs for some of country music’s biggest artists, such as “Cowboy” Jack Clement.
Don spent seven years with the folk-pop trio the Pozo-Seco Singers, and had two Top 40 hits with “I Can Make It With You” and “Look What You’ve Done,” in late 1966. After the group split he began his solo career in 1971, singing popular ballads and having an amazing 17 number one country hits..
His hits included I Believe in You, Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good, You’re My Best Friend, Some Broken Hearts Never Mend, and Till the Rivers All Run Dry.
His straightforward, smooth bass-baritone voice, with soft tones, and an imposing build earned him the nickname of the “Gentle Giant” of country music.
In 1980 he appeared as himself and played a number of songs in the Universal Pictures movie, Smokey and the Bandit II.
He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010
He released his last studio album, “Reflections,” in 2014 and announced he was retiring from touring in 2016, saying “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support.”
He had a strong influence over a variety of recording artists of different genres. His hits have been covered by artists such as Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Alison Krauss, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Lambchop, Alan Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Pete Townshend and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
Don Williams died from Emphysema, in Mobile, Alabama aged 78.
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