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Roger Williams (pianist)

roger williams (pianist), roger williams pianist youtube
Roger Williams born Louis Jacob Weertz, October 1, 1924 – October 8, 2011 was an American popular music pianist

Contents

  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Illness and death
  • 3 Singles discography
  • 4 Discography
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Biographyedit

Weertz was born to a Lutheran minister, the Rev Frederick J Weertz 1891–1980 and a music teacher, Dorothea Bang Weertz 1895–1985, in Omaha, Nebraska The family moved to Des Moines, Iowa, before his first birthday He first played the piano at age three1 In high school he became interested in boxing, mainly at his father's insistence, and only returned to music after breaking his nose several times and sustaining several other injuries

Weertz majored in piano at Drake University in Des Moines, but claimed he was expelled for playing "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" in the practice room Weertz entered the United States Navy and served in World War II While still in the Navy, he earned a bachelor's degree from Idaho State College now Idaho State University in 1950 Afterwards, Weertz re-enrolled at Drake, where he earned his master's degree He then moved to New York City to attend Juilliard,1 where he studied jazz piano under Lennie Tristano and Teddy Wilson

Weertz won a talent contest on Dennis James' television program, Chance of a Lifetime David Kapp, founder of Kapp Records, heard him, and was so impressed that he signed the pianist, giving him the professional name "Roger Williams" after the founder of Rhode Island

In 1955 Williams recorded "Autumn Leaves", the only piano instrumental to reach #1 on Billboard's popular music chart It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc It was the fourth #1 song of the "rock era," which unofficially began with the ascension of "We're Gonna Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets into the top spot2 In 1966 he had another Top Ten hit with the song "Born Free" from the motion picture soundtrack His other hits include "Near You", "Till", "The Impossible Dream", "Yellow Bird", "Maria", and "The Theme from Somewhere in Time" Billboard magazine ranks him as the top selling piano recording artist in history with 18 gold and platinum albums to his credit Williams was known as the "Pianist to the Presidents", having played for nine US Presidential administrations, beginning with Harry S Truman1 His last White House performance was in November 2008 for a luncheon hosted by First Lady Laura Bush

On his 75th birthday, Williams performed his first 12-hour piano marathon He performed the marathon at Steinway Hall in New York City and the Nixon, Carter and Reagan Presidential Libraries His Steinway & Sons "Gold Steinway"3 grand piano was on tour for public display and entertainment during 2007–2008 In 2010, Roger Williams was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame

Williams developed his particular attitude to his public from a boyhood experience in Des Moines, Iowa After a piano concert by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, he waited for 45 minutes outside in cold weather to meet Paderewski When the pianist finally appeared, it was to rush to a waiting automobile Williams who had waited was upset

"I didn't even get near enough to touch him or get an autograph It was then and there I resolved that if ever I became famous I would never disappoint anyone who wanted to talk to me"4

Illness and deathedit

In March 2011 Williams posted on his website that he had pancreatic cancer and that his doctors had told him they could not remove the tumor until chemotherapy shrunk it to an operable size Williams said that he did not plan on canceling any upcoming concerts He died on October 8, 2011, one week after his 87th birthday56 Williams was married twice His first marriage produced three children Both marriages ended in divorce1

Singles discographyedit

Year Title Chart Positions
US CB US – AC
1955 "Autumn Leaves" 1 1
"Wanting You" 38 41
1956 "La Mer Beyond the Sea" 37 42
"Hi-lili Hi-lo" 85 41
"Tumbling Tumbleweeds" 60 34
"Two Different Worlds"with Jane Morgan 41 22
"Anastasia"
1957 "Almost Paradise" 15 16
"Moonlight Love" 54
"Till" 22 24
1958 "Arrivederci, Roma" 55 32
"Young Warm and Wonderful" 31
"Near You" 10 12
"The World Outside" 71 25
1959 "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
"Winter Wonderland"
"Dearer Than Dear"
"Mockin' Bird Hill"
"Sunrise Serenade" 106 119
1960 "La Montana" 98 62
"Riviera Concerto"
"Temptation" 56 72
1961 "Marie, Marie" 108
"A Lover's Symphony"
"Yellow Bird"
"Clair De Lune Moonlight Love"
"Maria" 48 40 11
"Santa Claus-Santa Claus"
1962 "Intermezzo"
"Amor" 88 89 16
"On Top Of Old Smokey"
With The Lincolns and Rich Dehr
"Niagara Theme"
"Theme From 'Mutiny On The Bounty'"
1963 "Cold, Cold Heart"
"Theme From 'Ben Casey'"
"On The Trail" 113 140
"Janie Is Her Name" 118
"Look Again" 127
"Theme from 'The Cardinal'" 109 120
1964 "Felicia"
"This Is My Prayer"
"Whistl'n" 140
1965 "Vaya Con Dios"
"High Noon"
"Try To Remember" 97 97
"Summer Wind" 109 97 20
"Autumn Leaves '65" 92 110 10
1966 "Lara's Theme" 65 90 5
"Born Free" 7 7 1
1967 "Sunrise, Sunset" 84 65 5
"Love Me Forever" 60 63 3
"More Than A Miracle" 108 100 2
1968 "The Spinning Song"
"The Impossible Dream" / 55 52 5
"If You Go" 37
"Only For Lovers" 119 123 31
1969 "Love Theme From 'La Strada'" 122
"White Christmas"
"Galveston" 99 99 21
"Fill The World With Love"
1970 "Song From 'MASH' Suicide Is Painless"
"Butterflies"
By Laura and Roger Williams
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
1971 "Theme From 'Love Story'"
"The Summer Knows Theme From 'Summer of '42'" 118
"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"
1972 "Lady Sings The Blues"
"Love Theme From 'The Godfather'" 116 115
1974 "Theme From 'Murder On The Orient Express'"
1975 "Theme From 'Rollerball'"
1976 "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" 39
1977 "Main Theme from King Kong" 32
"Theme From 'Airport 77'"
1980 "Somewhere In Time"

Discographyedit

  • The Boy Next Door Kapp KL-1003 - 1957
  • It's a Big Wide Wonderful World Kapp KL-1008 - 1958
  • Roger Williams with Orchestra Kapp KL-1012 - 1955
  • Daydreams Kapp KL-1031 - 1955
  • Roger Williams Plays the Wonderful Music of the Masters Kapp KL-1040 - 1956
  • Roger Williams Plays Christmas Songs Kapp KL-1042 - 1956
  • Roger Williams Plays Beautiful Waltzes Kapp KL-1062, KS-3000 - 1957
  • Almost Paradise Kapp KL-1063 - 1957
  • Songs of the Fabulous Fifties Kapp KXL-5000 2-Record Set - 1957
  • Songs of the Fabulous Forties Kapp KXL-5003 2-Record Set - 1957
  • Songs of the Fabulous Century Kapp KXL-5005 2-Record Set - 1958
  • Till Kapp KL-1081 - 1958
  • Roger Williams Plays Gershwin Kapp KL-1088 - 1958
  • Near You Kapp KL-1112 - 1959
  • More Songs of the Fabulous Fifties Kapp KL-1130, KS-3013 - 1959
  • With These Hands Kapp KL-1147, KS-3030 - 1959
  • Christmas Time Kapp KL-1164, KS-3048, MCA-536, MCA-15005 - 1959
  • Always - Melodies That Will Live Forever Kapp KL-1172, KS-3056 - 1960
  • Songs of the Fabulous Forties - Part 1 Kapp KL-1207, KS-3207 - 1960
  • Songs of the Fabulous Forties - Part 2 Kapp KL-1208, KS-3208 - 1960
  • Songs of the Fabulous Fifties - Part 1 Kapp KL-1209, KS-3209 - 1960
  • Songs of the Fabulous Fifties - Part 2 Kapp KL-1210, KS-3210 - 1960
  • Songs of the Fabulous Century - Part 1 Kapp KL-1211, KS-3211 - 1960
  • Songs of the Fabulous Century - Part 2 Kapp KL-1212, KS-3212 - 1960
  • Temptation Kapp KL-1217, KS-3217 - 1960
  • Roger Williams Invites You to Dance Kapp KL-1222, KS-3222 - 1961
  • Yellow Bird Kapp KL-1244, KS-3244 - 1961
  • Songs of the Soaring '60s - Vol 1 Kapp KL-1251, KS-3251 - 1961
  • Roger Williams at Town Hall Kapp KXL-5008 2-Record Set - 1961
  • Greatest Hits Kapp KL-1260, KS-3260 - 1962
  • Maria Kapp KL-1266, KS-3266 - 1962
  • Mr Piano Kapp KL-1290, KS-3290 - 1962
  • Country Style Kapp KL-1305 - 1963
  • For You Kapp KL-1336, KS-3336 - 1963
  • The Solid Gold Steinway Kapp KL-1354, KS-3354 - 1964
  • By Special Request Kapp KL-3 KS-3 - 1964
  • Roger Williams Family Album of Hymns Kapp KS-3395
  • Academy Award Winners Kapp KL-1406, KL-3406 - 1964
  • Roger Williams Plays the Hits Kapp KL-1414, KS-3414 - 1965
  • Summer Wind and Your Special Requests Kapp KL-1434, KS-3434 - 1965
  • Autumn Leaves - 1965 Kapp KL-1452, KS-3452 - 1965
  • I'll Remember You Kapp KL-1470, KS-3470 - 1967
  • Somewhere My Love Kapp KS-3470 - 1967
  • Academy Award Winners - Vol 2 Kapp KL-1483
  • Born Free Kapp KL-1501, KS-3501, KTL-3501 - 1966
  • Roger! Kapp KL-1512, KS-3512 - 1967
  • Golden Hits Kapp KL-1530, KS-3530 - 1967
  • By Special Request - Vol 2 Kapp KL-4, KS-4 - 1967
  • Amor Kapp KS-3549 - 1968
  • The Impossible Dream Kapp KS-3550 - 1968
  • More Than a Miracle Kapp KS-3550
  • Only for Lovers Kapp KS-3565 - 1968
  • Happy Heart Kapp KS-3595 - 1969
  • The Piano Magic of Roger Williams Columbia Musical Treasuries P2S-5306, P3S-5314 - 1969
  • Roger Williams Plays Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet and Other Great Movie Themes Kapp KS-3610, L3610
  • Golden Hits - Vol 2 Kapp KS-3638 - 1970
  • Magic Moods - Roger Williams/Bert Kaempfert MCA Special Markets DL-734729 - 1970
  • Love Story Kapp KS-3645 - 1971
  • Summer of '42 The Summer Knows Kapp KS-3650 - 1971
  • Twilight Themes: 10 All-Time Favorites Longines Symphonette Society - SYS5329, LS206C, LWS 640 - 1971
  • Love Theme from "The Godfather" Kapp KS-3665 - 1972
  • Play Me: Love Themes from "Lady Sings the Blues" Kapp KS-3671 - 1972
  • The Roger Williams Showcase Kapp KW-900
  • Roger Williams MCA-324 - 1973
  • Roger Williams Live MCA-378 - 1973
  • The Way We Were MCA-403 - 1974
  • Virtuoso MCA-2175 - 1976
  • Nadia's Theme MCA-2237 - 1976
  • The Best of Roger Williams MCA2-4106, RCA Music Service R-243835 2-Record Set - 1976
  • Evergreen MCA-2279 - 1977
  • Autumn Leaves: The Best of Roger Williams Reader's Digest RDA-187 8-Record Set - 1979
  • Golden Christmas Holiday HDY-1927 - 1981
  • 1970's MCA2-4180 - 1983
  • Today, My Way Priority Capitol Records SL9323 - 1986
  • The Great Love Songs MCA Special Products 15074 3-CD Set - 1993
  • Golden Christmas Special Music Company SCD-4607 - 1993
  • Sunrise Sunset MCA, Pickwick SPC-3511
  • Spanish Eyes MCA, Pickwick SPC-3367
  • Roger Williams & Ferrante and Teicher Metro M-484
  • Born Free and Other Great Romantic Melodies Longines Symphonette Society LS 206-A 5-Record Box Set

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b c d Nelson, Valerie J October 9, 2011 "Roger Williams dies at 87; 'Autumn Leaves' pop pianist found commercial success" Los Angeles Times p A43 Retrieved November 17, 2014 
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph 1978 The Book of Golden Discs 2nd ed London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd pp 77–78 ISBN 0-214-20512-6 
  3. ^ "Roger Williams Gold" Steinway & Sons Web Site Archived from the original on October 8, 2011 Retrieved October 8, 2011 
  4. ^ The Tiger, Clemson Agricultural College Clemson, South Carolina, January 13, 1961, Volume LIV, Number 14, p 1
  5. ^ Dennis Hevesi October 8, 2011 "Roger Williams, Pianist Known for Sentimental Songs, Dies at 87" The New York Times 
  6. ^ "Pianist Roger Williams dies of cancer at 87" Eyewitness News KABC 2011-10-08 Retrieved 2015-01-15 

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • Roger Williams on Internet Movie Database
  • Roger Williams at AllMusic
  • Text of resolution of Iowa legislature honoring Roger Williams
  • Roger Williams page on Nebraska Music Hall of Fame site
  • Roger Williams at Find a Grave
  • Roger Williams Interview NAMM Oral History Library 2006

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