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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK
The gentle giant of country music
Country singer Don Williams
Don Williams: Talent contest winner at three years old
An early start in the business can be the key to a successful career making music, and that has definitely been true for Don Williams.

Born in May 1939 in Floydada, Texas, Williams had already won his first talent contest by the age of three.

That was to be a key moment that would kick-start his career as a traditional country music artist.

  • Don Williams talked to Breakfast about his new album and UK tour.

  • You can find out more about Don, and get a complete list of his tour dates from his website.

    Having started out at a young age, Don Williams has become one of the most successful country acts while being instantly recognisable to many music fans and he's now clocked up 40 years in the business.

    As a teenager he played guitar in country and rockabilly bands - in 1964 he formed the Pozo Seco singers with friends Lofton Kline and Susan Taylor.

    The trio saw success with the 1966 pop hit "Time", but despite several more singles the they split up in 1964.

    Recording contract

    Unsure that he could make it as a solo artist, Williams moved to Nashville and started out as a songwriter.

    But in 1972 he was signed to JMI Records, and had a few releases, but in 1974 his breakthrough single "We Should be Together" saw him peak at number five in the charts.

    He then signed to ABC/Dot records and had his first number one which sparked a string of hits that would continue into the 80s and the start of the 90s.

    During that time only four out of 46 singles which hit the charts failed to make the top ten.

    As his reputation grew, he earned the nickname The Gentle Giant - in part due to his low baritone voice and large stature.

    A film appearance with friend Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit 2 followed; and there was the Country Music Association's award for best male vocalist in 1978.


    Although Williams' success as a performer continued over the decades, he also worked as a writer for the likes of Jonny cash, Eric Clapton, Lefty Frizzell, Sonny James, Lobo, charley Pride, Kenny Rogers and Pete Townsend.

    On his own website (see above for link) he acknowledges the difficulty in maintaining a long career in the music business:

    ¿The longer you do it, the harder it becomes to do things that aren't just an echo of something you've already done."

    But with that in mind, he goes on to say that he always tries to draw on his experience and come up with something fresh and new.

    With a new album just out, there's little sign of him giving it all up.

  • "My Heart to You" is Don Williams' new album, it was released on 3 May

    Don Williams

    BBC Breakfast



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