Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams has died. He was 78 years old.
With his imposing stature, smooth vocals and soft-spoken nature, Williams was the "Gentle Giant" of country music. He was a staple of country radio in the 1970s and '80s: between 1974-1985, he took 16 songs to the top of the charts.
Over the course of his four-decade solo career, Williams recorded numerous songs now regarded as classics, including "Good Ole Boys Like Me," "Tulsa Time," "I Believe in You," "Lord, I Hope This Day is Good" and "It Must Be Love."
He launched a farewell tour in 2006 that included a stop at Lipscomb University's Allen Arena, but retirement didn't stick. He returned to the studio and released two fine albums, "And So It Goes" and "Reflections," on Sugar Hill Records in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Those were the last studio records of his career. A live album recorded in Ireland was released in 2016.
Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. He was unable to attend the medallion ceremony due to a bout of bronchitis, but Alison Krauss, bluegrassers the Del McCoury Band, and Chris Young were among the artists who performed his songs that night, a testament to his wide-ranging influence and appeal.
He retired again in 2016, stating "It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home."
"Gentle Giants," a tribute album featuring Krauss, Chris and Morgan Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley and more singing Williams' songs, was released.
Funeral arrangements are unavailable at this time.
The Country Music world mourns the loss of one of its’ most distinctive song stylists w/ the passing of Don Williams after a short illness. pic.twitter.com/uWv1OqVhSU— WSMradio (@WSMradio) September 8, 2017