Thursday, June 20, 2013

Slim Whitman RIP

The Vinyl Word raises a glass to Slim Whitman, who has died aged 90. Before rock and roll came along Whitman was one of the biggest names in pop music, with his smooth western cowboy style and occasional yodelling resulting in huge record sales. Whenever I come across a London 78 at a car
boot sale it's odds on that it's by Slim Whitman, with Rose Marie (which spent 11 weeks at number one in the UK), Indian Love Call, Tumbling Tumbleweeds or I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen among his many 50s hits.
His popularity lasted well into the 60s and 70s and his records continued to sell in large quantities, including a top 20 hit with Happy Anniversary in 1974, although by then his fan base was confined largely to hardcore country and western fans. When I lived In Skelmersdale, a Liverpool overspill town, in the 1970s he was by far the most popular singer among many of the locals (along with Jim Reeves) and I remember seeing him perform at the Floral Hall, Southport, during that time. In a recent blog I dubbed this period in my life 'the Slim Whitman years'. Slim was never quite my cup of tea, but many of his records still retain a certain charm and no one could doubt his vocal ability.  RIP Slim.


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