Although he was a Country Western artist, he can perform in a variety of genres. He was a balladeer with a smooth voice. His choice of material and presentation is distinct. Emotions become real in his song whether performed live or recorded. And yes, you may have guessed it right, I am talking about the yodeler with a unique crystal clear soaring vocal style, Slim Whitman.
During the genesis of his singing career, he became known as “The Smilin’ Starduster.” His soaring falsetto could surely dust the stars. He recorded 10 songs for RCA. His first major chartbuster “Love Song of the Waterfall,” is an operetta number written by Bob Nolan, leader of the Sons of the Pioneers.
Slim’s characteristic chose an unconventional way of doing things. He decided to sing what people would prefer to hear from the very beginning of his career. He didn’t have songs about truck driving, drinking, nor cheating songs. Instead, he opted to sing romantic ballads, love songs, and western songs. These genres have proven their worth through the test of time. Slim made it sure that his recordings will not make him ashamed of singing in churches.
On August 1949, he was hailed as “the new sensation of the folk music world.” His first appearance on “Smokey Mountain Hayride,” a national radio station, opened doors for more career breakthroughs. Then came Hoot Rains who became Slim’s guitar partner. Together, they pioneered a guitar technique called “shooting arrows.”
On July 1955, Slim joined the Grand Ole Opry. The success of his single “Rose Marie” brought his stardom into a higher level. He went on to touring from country to country. He became the first American country artist to play the prestigious London Palladium in 1956. Also, he received spontaneous standing ovations at every performance in “China Doll.”
Slim Whitman’s music has been an influence on some of the biggest artists in history. Elvis Presley became good friends touring together in the mid-fifties. Elvis made his stage debut on the Slim Whitman show in Memphis. Paul McCartney of the Beatles is a fan of Slim’s left-handed guitar style and vocal range. And Michael Jackson dreamt of meeting Slim in person one day.
Slim’s music continues to touch many people’s life deeply. Over the years, he has received hundreds of awards and honors. He died on June 19, 2013, at the age of 90. He will forever remain in our hearts.
Rose Marie, slim whitman
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