Andy has become what some call "An American Institution", a music legend. He has been so popular for so long that he has a string of titles which he can call his own, among them are these:
A Voice of National Treasure The King of Hearts The Golden Voice The Emperor of Easy The Emperor of Class The Crooning King The King of Easy Listening Mr. Moon River The American Idol Mr. Christmas Mr. Television (the 2nd/Milton Berle was the first with this one)
Andy and his three older brothers-Bob, Don, and Dick - formed the Williams Brothers quartet in late 1938, and they performed on radio in the Midwest, first at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and later at WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati (where their childhood friend, Doris Day, also performed.) The Williams Brothers appeared with Bing Crosby on the hit record "Swinging on a Star" (1944). This led to a nightclub act with entertainer Kay Thompson from 1947 to 1951. Andy’s solo career began in 1953. He recorded six sides (individual songs) for RCA Victor's label "X", but none of them were popular hits. After finally landing a spot as a regular on Steve Allen's Tonight Show in 1954, he was signed to a recording contract with Cadence Records, a small label in New York run by conductor Archie Bleyer. His third single, "Canadian Sunset", reached #7 in the Top Ten in August 1956, and was soon followed by his only Billboard #1 hit, "Butterfly" (a cover of a Charlie Gracie record on which Andy imitated Elvis Presley) in February 1957. Most people find that fact hard to believe, but it is true nevertheless. He has had many #1 selling albums, but that is the ONLY #1 SINGLE HIT by Andy charted by Billboard on its Top 100 charts.
More hits followed, including "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" (U.S. #11), "Are You Sincere" (U.S. #3 in February 1958), "The Village of St. Bernadette" (U.S. #7 in December 1959), "Lonely Street" (U.S. #5 in September 1959), and "I Like Your Kind Of Love" with Peggy Powers (U.S. #8 in May 1957) before Andy wound up at Columbia Records in 1961, having moved from New York to Los Angeles and gaining another hit with “Can’t Get Used To Losing You" (U.S. #2-his second highest single chart record). In terms of over-all chart popularity, the Cadence era was Williams' peak, although songs he introduced on Columbia became bigger standards.
During the 1960s, Williams became one of the most popular vocalists in the country and was signed to what was at that time the biggest recording contract in history. He was primarily an album artist, and at one time he hadearned more gold albums than any solo performer except Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley. By 1973 he had earned as many as 18 gold album awards. Among his hit albums from this period were Moon River,Days of Wine and Roses (number one for 16 weeks in mid-1963), The Andy Williams Christmas Album, Dear Heart,The Shadow of Your Smile,Love, Andy,Get Together with Andy Williams, and Love Story. These recordings, along with his natural affinity for the music of the 1960s and early 1970s, combined to make him one of the premier easy listening singers of that era. In the UK, Williams continued to reach high chart status until 1978. The albums Can't Help Falling In Love (1970), Andy Williams Show (1970) Home Lovin’ Man (#1 1971), Solitaire (1973), The Way We Were (1974) and Reflections (1978) all reached the Top 10.
Andy forged an indirect collaborative relationship with Henry Mancini, although they never recorded together. He was asked to sing Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s song ,"Moon River”, at the 1962 Oscar Awards (where it won), and it quickly became Williams' theme song; however, because it was never released as a single, the song most associated with his entire career was never actually a top single chart hit. The next year Williams sang "Days of Wine and Roses" which was written by Mancini and Mercer (this song also won). Two years later, he sang Mancini's "Dear Heart" at the 1965 awards and "The Sweetheart Tree" (also written with Mercer) at the 1966 awards.
Williams also competed in the teenage-oriented singles market as well and had several charting hits including "Can't Get Used to Losing You", "Happy Heart", and “Where Do I Begin”, the theme song from the 1970 blockbuster film. In addition, he hit the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart with "Almost There" (1965), "Can't Help Falling In Love” (1970), "Home Lovin' Man" (1970) and "Solitaire" (1973). Both Williams and Petula Clark recorded "Happy Heart” at the same time, just prior to his guest appearance on her second NBC-TV special. Unaware that she, too, was releasing the song as a single, he asked to perform it on the show. The exposure ultimately led to his having the bigger hit with the tune. The song "Happy Heart" is played during the final scene, and throughout the end credits, of the Danny Boyle film Shallow Grave.
Building on his experience with Steve Allen and some short-term variety shows in the 1950s, he became the star of his own weekly television variety show in 1962. This series,The Andy Williams Show, won three Emmy Awards for outstanding variety program. Among his series regulars were the Osmond Brothers. He gave up the variety show in 1971 while it was still popular and retrenched to three specials per year. His Christmas specials, which appeared regularly until 1974 and intermittently from 1982 into the 1990s, were among the most popular of the genre. Andy has recorded eight Christmas albums over the years and has been penned as Mr. Christmas.
THE MOON RIVER THEATRE IN BRANSON, MISSOURI
When it first opened, Williams' act was unique because it was the first non-country act to open in the then-mostly-country music town. It was said he was discouraged by many friends back in California from making such a bold move, but that was what he wanted. Other non-country entertainers like Bobby Vinton,Tony Orlando, Wayne Newton and the Osmond Brothers soon followed. In the spring of 2007 Williams opened the Moon River Grill adjacent to his theater in Branson. The restaurant is decorated in photos from the Andy Williams Television Show with stars including Diana Ross, Elton John and Sammy Davis Jr. Art is center stage in the restaurant, with works by several artists including Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana.
Andy is an avid golfer, and hosted the PGA Tour golf tournament in San Diego from 1968-88 at Torrey Pines. Then known as the "Andy Williams San Diego Open", the tournament continues as the Farmers Insurance Open, usually played in February.
Williams' birthplace in Iowa is a tourist attraction, and is open most of the year. His name has become synonymous with the term "easy listening".
LUCKILY, YOU CAN LEARN EVEN MORE BY CLICKING ON AN ENTIRE WEBSITE DEVOTED TO THE LIFE AND CAREER OF THIS AMAZING LEGEND. JUST CHECK OUT WWW.ANDYWILLIAMS.COM FOR OUR SPECIAL PLAYLIST ON ANDY'S MUSIC, CLICK HERE AND LISTEN TO MANY OF HIS GREAT RECORDS AND OTHER SONGS ON SPOTIFY.COM ...... BUY A FEW BY VISITING ALMOST ANY OF THE ONLINE SOURCES WHICH SELL AVAILABLE RECORDINGS BY ANDY.