- Roger Whittaker
Roger Whittaker (born
March 22 1936in Nairobi, Kenya) is an English- Kenyan singer/ songwriterand musician with worldwide record sales of more than 55 million. His music can be described as folkor easy listening. In his early career, his trademark was his whistlingability.
Childhood and beginning
Whittaker's parents, Edward and Viola, were originally from
Staffordshire, England, where they owned and operated a grocery shop. His father was involved in a motorcycle accident, and the family moved to a farm in Kenya because of the better climate. That Whittaker would eventually become a musician was no surprise, since his grandfather sang in various clubs, and his father played the violin. Roger learned to play the guitar.
Whittaker was drafted into national service, and he spent two years in uniform in the
Kenya Regiment[http://www.fungasafari.com/Page4002.htm] . In 1956, he was demobilized and decided that it was time to concentrate on a career in medicine. He enrolled at the University of Cape Townin South Africa.
He left the university after 18 months and joined the
civil service educationdepartment to try teaching.
Recording and performing career
To further his teaching career, Whittaker moved to Britain in September 1959. For the next three years, he studied
zoology, biochemistry, and marine biologyat the University of Wales, Bangorand received a B.Sc. He was one of the brightest students in his class. He continued to sing in local clubs, and released some of his songs on flexi-discs included with the campus newspaper, the Bangor University Rag. Shortly afterwards, he was signed to Fontanarecords who released his first professional single, "The Charge of The Light Brigade," in 1962.
In the summer of 1962, he appeared at a professional gig in
Portrush, Northern Ireland. He landed his first major breakthrough when he was signed to appear on an Ulster Television show called "This And That." His second single, and the first to break into the UK Top 30 charts, was a Jimmy Dean cover of "Steel Men," released in June 1962.
In the spring of 1964, Roger met Natalie O'Brien, and they were married on August 15 of that year. They have five children: Emily (
May 28 1968), Lauren ( June 4 1970), Jessica ( February 14 1973), Guy ( November 15 1974), and Alexander ( April 7 1978).
In 1968, Whittaker had switched record labels, and in the autumn of 1969 EMI had released "
Durham Town(The Leavin')," which became Whittaker's first Top 20 hit in Britain. In the spring of 1970, RCA VictorRecords had released the uptempo " New World In The Morning" in the United States, where it became a Top 20 hit in the Easy Listening chart.
In 1971, Whittaker first recorded "
The Last Farewell," which would become his biggest hit and a signature song, selling over 11 million copies worldwide. Whittaker also established himself in country music with "I Love You Because" entering into the country chart in late 1983. In 1979, Whittaker wrote the song "Call My Name" which reached the final of the UK Eurovisionselection, " A Song For Europe", performed by Eleanor Keenan and placing third. Whittaker recorded the song himself and the single charted in several European countries.
All of Whittaker's chart hits were issued by EMI. However, although they were issued in vinyl, cassette and 8-track versions of albums during this timeframe, no CD version has ever been issued. All recordings currently available have been re-recorded and are credited to Whittaker's 'Tembo' label. Any claims that the recordings are his 'original hits' are incorrect as without exception they have all been re-recorded.
In the 1970s and '80s, Whittaker had a lot of success in Germany, with songs produced by
Nick Munro. Whittaker couldn't speak German, but sang the songs phonetically. He appeared on German and Danish TV several times [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0926455/] , and was on the UK " Top Of The Pops" show ten times in the early to mid '70s.
In 1986, he published his
autobiography, "So Far, So Good," co-written with his wife.
In March 2006, Whittaker announced on his website that a 2007 Germany tour would be his last, and he will limit future performances to "occasional concerts."
In 1976, Whittaker undertook his first tour of the United States.
In 2003 he again toured
Germany. After recovering from heart problems at the end of 2004, he started touring in Germany in 2005, and then in UK from May to July.
In his career to date, Whittaker has won over 250 silver, gold and platinum albums.
He was part of a successful British team that won the annual Knokke music festival in Belgium and won the Press Prize as the personality of the festival.
*Ivor Novello awards (twice) for songwriting in 1971-72 and for The Last Farewell in 1975-76 (?) (unconfirmed - e-mail query pending)
*"Gold Badge Award", from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters in 1988 [http://www.britishacademy.com/awards/GoldBadge/goldbadge3.htm]
*"Golden Tuning Fork" (Goldene Stimmgabel in Germany) in 1986, based on record sales and TV viewer votes.
* A Finnish band called Sleepy Sleepers recorded Kössi ja Roger (Kössi and Roger) as a tribute to Roger Whittaker. The story of the song involves Roger whistling while drinking and it leads to a heavy hangover. It also involves Kössi the Kangaroo and Roger escaping from the Mafia, which is led by Frutti Di Mare.
* In the episode of
Mystery Science Theater 3000, Puma Man; the bots Crow and Servo create a bust of Roger Whittaker in an attempt to control him. Whittaker was played by Kevin Murphy in the episode.
* He recorded many of his hits in French, e.g. "Durham Town" became "Mon Pays Bleu."
* For unknown reasons, the original hit recordings of "The Last Farewell" and "Durham Town" are not available on CD anywhere. All current CD releases contain only re-records.
* The Last Farewell's instrumentals are used by WGN-TV, Chicago, as background for station breaks.
* "New World in the Morning" is the theme music for Marcus Lush's breakfast show on New Zealand's
Radio Live. Lush believes Whittaker has 'a song for every human emotion' and often takes listeners' calls about the singer.
* In an episode of the TV series Life on Mars, DCI Hunt sheepishly admits to DI Tyler that he likes Whittaker's music, but not as much as his wife does. At the end of the episode, as Tyler is sleeping, his television suddenly flickers into life to show Whittaker performing "I Don't Believe In If Anymore".
* The Swedish football team AIK uses the melody from "The Last Farewell" in its anthem "Å vi e AIK." Before every game all the fans sing this anthem together as the team enters the field.
* In 1982 Whittaker became the first artist to record
Jeff Silbarand Larry Henley's " Wind Beneath My Wings." The song did not become a chart-making hit, however, until Gary Morrisrecorded it in 1983 for his album " Why Lady Why," eventually peaking at #4 on the country charts.
* During the last tour of the aircraft carrier HMS
Ark Royal(R09) at the end of the 1970s, the BBC produced a TV documentary of the men and the boat ("Home From The Sea"). The theme tune was of course "The Last Farewell," sung not by Roger but by the ship's crew and accompanied by the Royal Marine Band. It can be found on the album 'Top BBC TV Themes Vol.2'.
Albums released in non-English-speaking countries are listed elsewhere.
UK and European albums
*1979 Mein deutsches Album (in German)
*1981 Zum Weinen ist immer noch Zeit
*1982 Typisch Roger Whittaker
*1984 Ein Glück, daß es Dich gibt
*1987 Heut bin ich arm - Heut bin ich reich
*1991 Mein Herz schlägt nur für Dich
*1992 Stimme des Herzens
*1994 Leben mit Dir
*1994 Sehnsucht nach Liebe
*1994 Geschenk des Himmels
*1995 Ein schöner Tag mit Dir
*1996 Alles Roger!
*1996 Einfach leben
*1997 Zurück zur Liebe
*1999 Alles Roger 2
*2000 Wunderbar geborgen
*2002 Mehr denn je
*2003 Alles Roger 3
*2003 Der weihnachtliche Liedermarkt
*2004 Live in Berlin
*2004 Mein schönster Traum
*2005 Moments In My Life
* Now and Then: Greatest Hits 1964-2004 - Label: BMG International - Released: October 11, 2005
* An Evening With - Label: Prism Platinum - Released: June 7, 2005
* Moments in My Life - Label: BMG/Ariola - Released: May 6, 2005
* All of My Life: Very Best Of [BMG International] - Label: BMG International - Released: July 20, 2004
* New World in the Morning [Collectables] - Label: Collectables - Released: January, 2003
* Songs for You: The Collection - Label: Universal International - Released: September 17, 2002
* Best of: Original Hits - Label: Paradiso - Released: April 23, 2002
The Holly and the Ivy- Label: BMG Special Products - Released: April, 2002
* The Very Best of Roger Whittaker, Vol. 2 - Label: Polygram International - Released: August 28, 2001
* The Last Farewell...Live - Label: Legacy Entertainment - Released: January, 2001
* The Best of Roger Whittaker [Time Life] - Label: Time/Life Music - Released: December 17, 1999
* Awakening - Label: RCA Victor - Released: August 10, 1999
* In Concert - Label: Charly - Released: July 1, 1999
* The Greatest Hits of Roger Whittaker - Label: Prism - Released: January, 1999
* All of My Life: The Very Best of Roger Whittaker - Label: Camden - Released: January 1, 1999
* The Best of Roger Whittaker [Cleopatra] - Label: Pegasus/Cleopatra - Released: October 20, 1998
* Irish Standards - Label: BMG Special Products - Released: April 14, 1998
* New World in the Morning: The Encore Collection - Label: BMG Special Products - Released: November 18, 1997
* Happy Holidays - Label: BMG Special Products - Released: September 23, 1997
* Star Gold - Label: Polygram France - Released: May 9, 1997
* Einfach Leben - Label: BMG/Ariola - Released: October 3, 1996
* A Perfect Day - Label: RCA Victor - Released: September 17, 1996
* The World of Roger Whittaker [Karussell] - Label: Universal International - Released: January, 1996
* On Broadway - Label: RCA Victor - Released: October 1, 1995
* Sincerely Yours - Released: August 11, 1995
* All Time Favorites - Label: Prime Cuts - Released: January 1, 1995
Christmas Songs[RCA] - Label: RCA Victor - Released: January 1, 1995
* I Will Always Love You - Label: RCA Victor - Released: August 16, 1994
* The Best of Roger Whittaker [Curb] - Label: Curb Records - Released: May 31, 1994
* Live! - Label: RCA Victor - Released: April 12, 1994
Annie's Song- Label: RCA Victor - Released: April 12, 1994
What a Wonderful World- Label: RCA Victor - Released: April 12, 1994
Danny Boy- Label: RCA Victor - Released: February 15, 1994
Feelings- Label: RCA Victor - Released: February 15, 1994
* Greatest Hits - Label: RCA Records - Released: January 1, 1994
* Live - Label: Drive - (import) - Released: December 7, 1993
* The Best of Roger Whittaker [Cema] - Label: EMI-Capitol Special Markets - Released: January 1, 1993
* Celebration - Label: RCA Victor - Released: January 1, 1993
* Christmas With Roger Whittaker - Label: RCA Victor - Released: September 14, 1992
* Collection - Released: June 30, 1992
* All About Love - Label: Liberty - Released: April 27, 1992
* Classics Collection, Vol. 2 - Label: Liberty - Released: January, 1992
* Greatest Hits Live - Label: K-Tel - Released: January, 1992
* All-Time Favorites - Label: EMI-Capitol Special Markets - Released: January, 1992
* I Wish You a Merry Christmas - Released: January, 1992
The Wind Beneath My Wings& Other Hits - Label: RCA Records - Released: December, 1991
* Classics Collection, Vol. 1 - Label: Liberty - Released: August, 1991
* Country Collection - Label: Liberty - Released: April 29, 1991
* You Deserve the Best - Label: Capitol/EMI Records - Released: January, 1991
* Golden Tones - Label: Pair - Released: October 25, 1990
* Best Loved Ballads, Vol. 1 - Label: Liberty - Released: June 4, 1990
* Best Loved Ballads, Vol. 2 - Label: Liberty - Released: June 4, 1990
* All Time Heart Touching Favorites, Vol. 2 - Label: Liberty - Released: May 21, 1990
* All Time Heart Touching Favorites, Vol. 1 - Label: Liberty - Released: April 23, 1990
* World's Most Beautiful Christmas Songs - Label: Liberty - Released: January, 1989
* Love Will Be Our Home - Label: Word/Epic - Released: January, 1989
* I'd Fall in Love Tonight - Label: Liberty - Released: January, 1989
* The World of Roger Whittaker [Pair] - Label: Pair - Released: January, 1988
* Living & Loving - Label: Liberty - Released: January, 1988
* Fire & Rain - Label: Pair - Released: January, 1985
* The Best of Roger Whittaker [RCA] - Label: RCA - Released: January, 1984
* All Time Heart Touching Favorites - Released: January, 1984
* Tidings of Comfort & Joy - Label: Liberty - Released: January, 1984
* Take a Little: Give a Little - Label: RCA - Released: January, 1984
* The Wind Beneath My Wings - Label: RCA Records - Released: January, 1982
* Live in Concert - Label: RCA Records - Released: January, 1981
* Voyager - Label: RCA - Released: January, 1980
* With Love - Released: January, 1980
* Mirrors of My Mind - Label: RCA - Released: January, 1979
When I Need You- Released: January, 1979
* Evergreens - Released: January, 1979
* Imagine - Label: RCA - Released: January, 1978
* The Roger Whittaker Christmas Album - Label: RCA - Released: January, 1978
* Folk Songs of Our Time - Label: RCA - Released: January, 1977
* The Best of Roger Whittaker - Label: RCA - Copyrighted: 1977
* In Concert - Recorded with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra [DVD] - Released: January, 1976
* Reflections of Love - Label: RCA Records - Released: January, 1976
* Magical World of Roger Whittaker - Released: January, 1975
* The Last Farewell & Other Hits - Label: RCA Records - Released: January, 1974
* Special Kind of Man - Label: Pair - Released: January, 1971
* New World in the Morning [Columbia] - Label: Collectables - Released: January, 1971
* Roger Whittaker Christmas Album
* Genius of Love - Label: RCA
* Best Ballads #1
* Christmas Songs [Capitol]
* [http://www.rogerwhittaker.com The Official Roger Whittaker Website]
* [http://www.rogerwhittaker.net/ Roger Whittaker Fan Network]
*imdb name | id=0926455 | name=Roger Whittaker
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