Folk singer Roger Whittaker, known for his hits “Durham Town” and “The Last Farewell,” has died. He was 87 years old.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news of Roger’s passing at the age of 87. His life, artistry and legacy meant so much to so many people all over the world,” it read in a statement posted by his friend Jesse Wagoner on Whittaker’s Facebook page. Monday page. “We are grateful that the gift of his music remains with us.”
USA TODAY has reached out to a representative for Whittaker for more information.
A photo on the singer’s website pays tribute to Whittaker, who was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to parents from Staffordshire, England, in 1936. The multilingual musician was known for his whistling and cultivated a passionate fan base in Germany over the years. during his career after performing there in 1976, according to his website. He sang German and learned the language phonetically.
Billy Miller,“The Young and the Restless”, the star of the soap opera “General Hospital”, has died at 43
Roger Whittaker “initially had no confidence” in his most popular song, “Durham Town”
After serving in the Kenya Regiment, Whittaker took up teaching in the 1950s and sang in local clubs during this period. By the time he moved to the UK to study zoology, biochemistry and marine biology at Bangor University in Wales, he began writing his own songs.
“Faced with the dilemma of which career to choose, Roger sought advice from his teacher,” reads Whittaker’s biography on his website. “‘Take your chances,’ he was advised. ‘Try show business and if you haven’t succeeded in ten years, come back here and teach. I will always have a place for you at university .'”
In the fall of 1969, Whittaker’s record company released his song “The Leavin’ (Durham Town)” and it quickly climbed the music charts. “I just had no confidence in that song,” Whittaker recalls. “Far from promoting the single in Britain, I went to Finland for a cabaret season and television appearances.”
Upon its return in November, “Durham Town” was quickly climbing the UK charts.
In 1971, Whittaker recorded one of his most popular songs, “The Last Farewell”. The song, written by a goldsmith from Birmingham, England, “broke the barriers to success in America for Whittaker and opened up a vast new country for his music to explore,” according to his website.
Irish Grinstead,member of R&B girl group 702, dies at 43: “Bright as the stars”