Country’s ‘Gentle Giant,’ Don Williams, dead at 78

Country music is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic singer-songwriters and a major influence on many of today's country hitmakers.

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Don Williams, the “Gentle Giant,” has died at the age of 78 after a brief illness.

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Known for his gently rumbling baritone, as well as his tall, lanky frame, Williams’ career yielded a catalog of timeless hit songs, including 21 No. 1 chart toppers, that remain popular today. Songs such as“Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” positioned him as a gifted songwriter, while his signature vocal style made him appreciated as a storyteller whose breathtaking renditions of songs such as “Tulsa Time,” “Amanda,” “Good Ol’ Boys Like Me” and “I Believe In Love” gave an incomparable voice to these now-classics.

Keith Urban has been one of the most outspoken fans of Williams' work. Earlier this year, he told CMT that Williams' recordings "influence the way I make records ... They're the masters of recorded simplicity and honoring a song in a way that I cannot think of other records that hit that spot of extraordinary craftsmanship. It's about achieving that."

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Urban, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss were all part of Williams’ 2012 album, “And So it Goes.”

Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and, in 1978, earned the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year award.

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