Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ten Reasons Why You Should Love ANDY WILLIAMS!


TEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE
 ANDY WILLIAMS!

By Stephen SPAZ Schnee



I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I never have. I love what I love and I'm not ashamed in the slightest.

And I love Andy Williams.

I became aware of him via his hit singles and then his TV series in the late ‘60s. I remember borrowing my mom’s Born Free LP and played it constantly on the turntable that my brother and I shared – it was one of those large portable turntables with a lid that you could carry like a suitcase. I even played my folks’ “Moon River” seven inch single, mesmerized by that beautiful melody…

I didn’t actively buy every Andy Williams album from that point on, but I did start picking them up in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s along with albums by Tom Jones. I already had all the Glen Campbell and Neil Diamond LPs at that point along with loads of other classic vocalists that my Punk/New Wave friends couldn’t quite handle. As they got older – and I’m talking 20 or 30 years later – I think they all came to appreciate the classic crooners and Pop vocalists of our youth but as a teenager, those artists ‘belonged’ to their parents’ generation. As for me, I could never stop loving that stuff. I’d add “Moon River” or “Music To Watch Girls By” to mixtapes I’d make, sandwiched in between The Human League and The Clash. I wasn’t being ironic or clever – I was just sharing music that I loved. I think people would appreciate that more now, but back in ’83, I got more than a few weird looks!

I’ve only recently gone back and snapped up loads of Andy Williams albums on CD. His wonderfully unique tenor voice still sounds stunning all these years later. In the early ‘60s he may have chosen the standards to sing but from the mid ‘60s to the late ‘70s, his albums were filled with reinterpretations of Soft Rock hits. However, these were not your average ‘aging crooner covers today’s hits’ types of recordings – he would fool with the arrangements of the songs until they became Andy Williams songs. The recordings were always that much better when he’d double track his own vocals or add his soaring tenor as a backing vocalist – in fact, they were quite stunning. Heart-melting.

Andy Williams is one of my favorite vocalists of all time. I listen to him more than I've listened to Frank, Bing, Dean and the gang. He's just as classy as those guys, but there seems to be a real connection between the singer, the song and the listener. Where Frank and Dean could sometimes toss off a song without a thought (an admirable trait since they always sound great), Andy took a little more care and it showed.

One of my biggest regrets as a 'music journalist' is not being able to do an interview with Andy back in 2009. I had the questions prepared, sent them off to the label for approval but then they couldn't fit it into his schedule in time. Shame.

So, I’ve decided to share 10 of my many favorite recordings by Andy in hopes that you hear something you like and decide to take your own journey to Andyland – it will be worth every moment!

P.S. Its pretty difficult to choose 10 and I'm sure that I'll want to switch out a couple right after I publish this post, but I stand by each and every one of these. 

In no particular order...



"MOON RIVER"



"PIECES OF APRIL"



"HAPPY HEART"



"LONELY STREET"



"MUSIC TO WATCH GIRLS BY"



"BORN FREE"




"CAN'T GET USED TO LOSING YOU"



"(WHERE DO I BEGIN?) LOVE STORY"



"GETTING OVER YOU"



"ARE YOU SINCERE"



BONUS TRACKS:

"THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR"



"SHE'S THE ONE"
(NOTE: This is a track recorded towards the end of his life. While his voice was not what it once was - he was in his late 70s when he recorded this - it proves that he still had the passion and desire to embrace 'modern' music.  This is a World Party song made famous by Robbie Williams)




Some of these tracks can be found on:


The Essential ANDY WILLIAMS