Skip to comments.Famed pianist Roger Williams dies at 87
Posted on 10/09/2011 1:50:57 AM PDT by SatinDoll
Roger Williams, the virtuoso pianist who topped the Billboard pop charts in the 1950s and played for nine U.S. presidents during a long career, died Saturday. He was 87.
"Roger was one of the greatest pianists in the world, and could play anything to classical music to jazz. He was one of the greatest personalities I've ever known," said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a longtime friend of Williams and himself a musician. "He could touch any audience, from teenagers to senior citizens."
Williams' 1955 hit "Autumn Leaves" was the first instrumental song to reach number one on the Billboard pop charts. It remains the best-selling piano record of all time, with over two million sold.
As a teenager, he was given his own 15 minute radio show on KRNT-AM, which was broadcast live from a Des Moines, Iowa, department store. Later he hosted a program on WHO-AM, where he first met the station's young sports announcer, Ronald "Dutch" Reagan. The two men started a friendship which lasted over 60 years.
(Excerpt) Read more at music.msn.com ...
His real name was Louis Wertz, and he was born in Nebraska. What a life!
Very interesting. A great loss.
Anyone that leaves a mark or some thing .. like music, is not lost.
How fitting. I sat yesterday at my yard sale, watching the leaves fall. The weather was the kind you want to put in a bottle and save for February. I was selling my s. o. stuff. The one that I found dead on the floor on July 18. This is the autumn of my life.
Just put Autumn Leaves on.
I loved his music and at one time had the Autumn Leaves record in my collection. R.I.P Roger Williams.
I attended his memorial service at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif. today. Many of those attending were members of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., of which he was a member. Friends and family members addressed the audience, and the program concluded with a band performing what they described as their version of the “missing man formation” performed by combat fliers when they did his hit “Autumn Leaves.” The band accompanied a recording of Williams playing the tune, but no one played the piano on the set.
Thank you. I grew up hearing his piano playing in my parent’s house on a daily basis. He will be missed.
It was the first time I had ever seen a solo pianist in concert, and he was absolutely mind-blowing.
RIP, Mr. Williams...
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