A Rockapaedia Obituary
Slim Whitman died aged ninety of heart failure on 19th June 2013 surrounded by family at Orange Park Medical Center in Florida, U.S.A.. He was survived by daughter; Sharron Beagle, son; Byron Keith, and two great-grandchildren.
After 1957 Slim Whitman lived at his estate, Woodpecker Paradise, in Middleburg, a city located south of Orange Park, Florida,U.S.A. and in 2009 Slim Whitman's wife of sixty-seven years, Alma died at the age of eighty-four.
Slim Whitman was born Otis Dewey Slim Whitman, Jr. in Oak Park, Tampa, Florida, on 20th January 1923, one of six siblings, to Ottis Dewey Whitman Snr and Lucy Whitman. Growing up, Slim Whitman liked the country music of Jimmie Rodgers and the songs of Gene Autry, but he did not embark on a musical career of his own until the end of World War II, after he had served in the South Pacific with the United States Navy. While aboard ship he would sing and entertain members aboard. This resulted in the captain blocking his transfer to another ship—hence saving his life, as the other ship later sank with no surviving hands. Slim Whitman's early ambitions were to become either a boxer or a professional baseball player.
Slim Whitman was a self-taught left-handed guitarist, though he was right-handed. He had lost almost all of the second finger on his left hand in an accident while working at a meat packing plant. He worked odd jobs at a Tampa shipyard while developing a musical career, eventually performing with bands known as the Variety Rhythm Boys and the Light Crust Doughboys. He was briefly nicknamed The Smiling Starduster after a stint with a group called The Stardusters. Slim Whitman's first big break came when talent manager "Colonel" Thomas Parker heard him singing on the radio and offered to represent him. After signing with RCA Records, he was billed as "the cowboy singer Slim Whitman", after Canadian singer Wilf Carter, who was known in the United States as Montana Slim. Slim Whitman released his first single in 1948, "I'm Casting My Lasso Towards The Sky", complete with yodel. He toured and sang in a variety of venues, including the radio show Louisiana Hayride.
At first he was unable to make a living from music, and kept a part-time job at a post office. That changed in the early 1950s after he recorded a version of the Bob Nolan hit "Love Song of the Waterfall", which made it into the country music top ten. His next single, "Indian Love Call", taken from the light operetta Rose-Marie, was even more successful, reaching number two in the country music charts and appearing in the US pop music chart's top ten.
A yodeller, Slim Whitman avoided country music's "down on yer luck, buried in booze" songs, preferring instead to sing laid-back romantic melodies about simple life and love. Critics dubbed his style "countrypolitan," owing to its fusion of country music and a more sophisticated crooning vocal style. Although he recorded many country and western tunes, including hits "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", "Singing Hills", and "The Cattle Call", love and romance songs like "Serenade", "Something Beautiful (to remember)", and "Keep It a Secret" figured prominently in his repertoire.
In 1955 he had a No.one hit on the pop music charts in the United Kingdom with the theme song to the operetta "Rose Marie." With nineteen weeks in the charts and eleven weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, the song set a record that lasted for thirty-six years. In 1956 he became the first-ever country music singer to perform at the London Palladium. Soon after, Slim Whitman was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, and in 1957, along with other musical stars, he appeared in the film musical Jamboree. Despite this exposure, he never achieved the level of stardom in the United States that he did in Britain, where he had a number of other hits during the 1950s. Throughout the early 1970s, he continued to record and was a guest on Wolfman Jack's television show The Midnight Special. At the time, Slim Whitman's recording efforts were yielding only minor hits in the U.S.A. The mid-1970s were a successful time for Slim Whitman in the UK Albums Chart. In 1976 a compilation album, The Very Best of Slim Slim Whitman, was number one for six weeks, staying seventeen weeks on the chart. Another number one album followed in 1977 with Red River Valley: four weeks at number one and fourteen weeks on the chart. Later the same year his album Home on the Range made number two on the chart and clocked up a chart stay of thirteen weeks.
<<go to top>>
Do you like this website? If so, then please copy and email link:
to your friends, colleagues and aquaintances. Thank you..