Roger Whittaker

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Roger Whittaker
Roger Whittaker
Roger Whittaker playing live
Background information
Born(1936-03-22) 22 March 1936 (age 77)
Nairobi, Kenya, British Empire
GenresEasy listening, pop
OccupationsMusician, singer-songwriter, teacher
InstrumentsGuitar
Years active1962–present
Websitewww.rogerwhittaker.com
 
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Roger Whittaker
Roger Whittaker
Roger Whittaker playing live
Background information
Born(1936-03-22) 22 March 1936 (age 77)
Nairobi, Kenya, British Empire
GenresEasy listening, pop
OccupationsMusician, singer-songwriter, teacher
InstrumentsGuitar
Years active1962–present
Websitewww.rogerwhittaker.com

Roger Whittaker, B.Sc. (Bangor) (born 22 March 1936) is a Kenyan singer-songwriter and musician. His music can be described as easy listening or perhaps best as ballads. He is best known for his baritone singing voice and trademark whistling ability. American audiences are most familiar with his 1970 hit "New World in the Morning" and his 1975 hit "The Last Farewell", the latter of which is his only single to hit the Billboard Hot 100 (it made the Top 20) and also hit No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Childhood and beginning[edit source | edit]

Whittaker's parents, Edward and Viola, were originally from Staffordshire, England, where they owned and operated a grocery shop. His father had a motorbike accident and the family moved to a farm near Thika, Kenya because of the warmer climate. His grandfather sang in various clubs and his father played the violin. Roger learned to play the guitar.

Whittaker was called up for national service and spent two years in the Kenya Regiment. In 1956 he was demobilized and decided on a career in medicine. He enrolled at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. However, he left the university after 18 months and joined the civil service education department to try teaching.

Recording and performing career[edit source | edit]

To further his teaching career, Whittaker moved to Britain in September 1959. For the next three years, he studied zoology, biochemistry and marine biology at Bangor University and received a Bachelor of Science degree. 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 Fontana Records, which released his first professional single, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", in 1962.

In the summer of 1962, he appeared at a professional performance in Portrush, Northern Ireland. He achieved a breakthrough when he was signed to appear on an Ulster Television show called This and That. His second single was a cover version of "Steel Men", released in June 1962.

Whittaker met Natalie O'Brien in the spring of 1964 and they married on 15 August of that year. They have five children: Emily (b. 28 May 1968), Lauren (b. 4 June 1970), Jessica (b. 14 February 1973), Guy (b. 15 November 1974) and Alexander (b. 7 April 1978). They now have nine grandchildren.[citation needed]

In 1966, Whittaker switched from Fontana to EMI's Columbia label. His fourth single for the imprint was "Durham Town (The Leavin')", which in 1969 became Whittaker's first UK Top 20 hit. Whittaker's US label, RCA Victor, released the uptempo "New World in the Morning" in 1970, where it became a Top 20 hit in Billboard magazine's Easy Listening chart.

In the early 1970s Whittaker took interest in the Nordic countries when he recorded the single "Where the Angels Tread (Änglagård)" to the music of Evert Taube in 1972. In 1974 he performed at the Finnish Eurovision qualifications. The song "The Finnish Whistler" he performed became famous in Finland as it was used as a title music for the popular Finnish YLE television cooking programme "Patakakkonen".

1975 saw EMI release "The Last Farewell", a track from his 1971 New World in the Morning album. It became his biggest hit and a signature song, selling more than 11 million copies worldwide. In 1979, Whittaker wrote the song "Call My Name" which reached the final of the UK Eurovision selection, A Song For Europe, performed by Eleanor Keenan and coming third. Whittaker recorded the song himself and the single charted in several European countries. Whittaker also established himself in country music with "I Love You Because" getting "into the lower reaches of the country chart"[1] in late 1983.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Whittaker had success in Germany, with German language songs produced by Nick Munro. Unable to speak German, Whittaker sang the songs phonetically. He appeared on German and Danish TV several times,[2] and was on the UK Top of the Pops show 10 times in the early to mid-1970s.

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 that he will limit future performances to "occasional concerts". Now more fluent in German, he was seen singing and was interviewed in German on Danish TV in November 2008.

In recent years he had been living in Eyrecourt, County Galway, Ireland, close to the River Shannon and moved to France in 2012.[3]

Tours[edit source | edit]

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.

Awards[edit source | edit]

In his career to date, Whittaker has earned 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. He was awarded a 'Gold Badge Award', from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) in 1988[4] and earned a "Golden Tuning Fork" (Goldene Stimmgabel in Germany) in 1986, based on record sales and TV viewer votes.


Discography[edit source | edit]

Singles[edit source | edit]

YearSingleChart positions
USUS
AC
UK[5]GermanyUS Country
1969"Durham Town (The Leavin')"12
1970"New World in the Morning"1217
"I Don't Believe in 'If' Anymore"268
1971"Why?"4047
"Mamy Blue"31
1975"The Last Farewell"191219
"I Don't Believe in 'If' Anymore" (re-entry)10
1976"Durham Town (The Leavin')" (re-entry)23
"The First Hello, the Last Goodbye"16
"River Lady (A Little Goodbye)"2
"Das alte Schiff (River Lady)"10
"Indian Lady"14
1977"Before She Breaks My Heart"39
"From the People, to the People"46
1978"If I Knew Just What to Say"47
"Love Lasts Forever"50
1979"You Are My Miracle"35
1979"Goodbye, 1st Goodbye"40
1982"Albany"3
1983"I Love You Because"91
"Wenn es Dich noch gibt"8
"Tanz heut Nacht mit mir"20
1984"Abschied ist ein scharfes Schwert"9
"Eloisa"27
1985"Leben mit dir"16
1986"The Skye Boat Song"(with Des O'Connor)10
"Fernweh"50
"Ein bisschen Aroma"38
1989"Bleib' heut' Nacht bei mir"41
1990"Schön war die Zeit"52
"Was ist dabei, wenn wir zwei uns lieben" (with Cindy Berger)48
1991"7 Jahre, 7 Meere"46
"Doch tanzen will ich nur mit Dir allein"76
"Sag' ihr"50
1992"Du wirst alle Jahre schöner"31
1993"Tauch hinab in die Nacht"72
"Bring mir noch einmal die Jahre zurück"94
1996"Wir sind jung (Oh Maria)"58
1997"Du kannst zaubern"97
1999"Alles Roger"98

European albums[edit source | edit]

a selection

US albums[edit source | edit]

AlbumLabelDate
Changes
Christmas SongsCapitol
Best Ballads #1
Genius of LoveRCA
New World in the MorningColumbia Collectables01971-01-011971
Special Kind of ManPair01971-01-011971
The Last Farewell & Other HitsRCA Records01974-01-011974
Magical World of Roger WhittakerRCA Records01975-01-011975
Reflections of LoveRCA Records01976-01-011976
In Concert – Recorded with the Edmonton Symphony OrchestraDVD01976-01-011976
The Best of Roger WhittakerRCA01977-01-011977
Folk Songs of Our TimeRCA01977-01-011977
The Roger Whittaker Christmas AlbumRCA01978-01-011978
ImagineRCA01978-01-011978
Evergreens01979-01-011979
When I Need You01979-01-011979
Mirrors of My MindRCA01979-01-011979
With Love01980-01-011980
VoyagerRCA01980-01-011980
Live in ConcertRCA Records01981-01-011981
The Wind Beneath My WingsRCA Records01982-01-011982
Take a Little: Give a LittleRCA01984-01-011984
Tidings of Comfort & JoyLiberty01984-01-011984
All Time Heart Touching Favorites01984-01-011984
The Best of Roger WhittakerRCA01984-01-011984
Fire & RainPair01985-01-011985
Living & LovingLiberty01988-01-011988
The World of Roger WhittakerPair01988-01-011988
I'd Fall in Love TonightLiberty01989-01-011989
Love Will Be Our HomeWord/Epic01989-01-011989
World's Most Beautiful Christmas SongsLiberty01989-01-011989
All Time Heart Touching Favorites, Vol. 1Liberty01990-04-2323 April 1990
All Time Heart Touching Favorites, Vol. 2Liberty01990-05-2121 May 1990
Best Loved Ballads, Vol. 2Liberty01990-06-044 June 1990
Best Loved Ballads, Vol. 1Liberty01990-06-044 June 1990
Golden TonesPair01990-10-2525 October 1990
You Deserve the BestCapitol/EMI Records01991-01-01January 1991
Country CollectionLiberty01991-04-2929 April 1991
Classics Collection, Vol. 1Liberty01991-08-01August 1991
The Wind Beneath My Wings & Other HitsRCA Records01991-12-01December 1991
I Wish You a Merry Christmas01992-01-01January 1992
All-Time FavoritesEMI-Capitol Special Markets01992-01-01January 1992
Greatest Hits LiveK-Tel01992-01-01January 1992
Classics Collection, Vol. 2Liberty01992-01-01January 1992
All About LoveLiberty01992-04-2727 April 1992
Collection01992-06-3030 June 1992
Christmas With Roger WhittakerRCA Victor01992-09-1414 September 1992
CelebrationRCA Victor01993-01-011 January 1993
The Best of Roger WhittakerEMI-Capitol Special Markets01993-01-011 January 1993
LiveDrive – (import)01993-12-077 December 1993
Greatest HitsRCA Records01994-01-011 January 1994
FeelingsRCA Victor01994-02-1515 February 1994
Danny BoyRCA Victor01994-02-1515 February 1994
What a Wonderful WorldRCA Victor01994-04-1212 April 1994
Annie's SongRCA Victor01994-04-1212 April 1994
Live!RCA Victor01994-04-1212 April 1994
The Best of Roger WhittakerCurb Records01994-05-3131 May 1994
I Will Always Love YouRCA Victor01994-08-1616 August 1994
The Christmas SongRCA Victor01995-08-1515 August 1995
All Time FavoritesPrime Cuts01995-01-011 January 1995
Sincerely Yours01995-08-1111 August 1995
On BroadwayRCA Victor01995-10-011 October 1995
The World of Roger WhittakerUniversal International01996-01-01January 1996
A Perfect DayRCA Victor01996-09-1717 September 1996
Einfach LebenBMG/Ariola01996-10-033 October 1996
Star GoldPolygram France01997-05-099 May 1997
Happy HolidaysBMG Special Products01997-09-2323 September 1997
New World in the Morning: The Encore CollectionBMG Special Products01997-11-1818 November 1997
Irish StandardsBMG Special Products01998-04-1414 April 1998
The Best of Roger WhittakerPegasus/Cleopatra01998-10-2020 October 1998
All of My Life: The Very Best of Roger WhittakerCamden01999-01-011 January 1999
The Greatest Hits of Roger WhittakerPrism01999-01-01January 1999
In ConcertCharly01999-07-011 July 1999
AwakeningRCA Victor01999-08-1010 August 1999
The Best of Roger WhittakerTime/Life Music01999-12-1717 December 1999
The Last Farewell...LiveLegacy Entertainment02001-01-01January 2001
The Very Best of Roger Whittaker, Vol. 2Polygram International02001-08-2828 August 2001
The Holly and the IvyBMG Special Products02002-04-01April 2002
Best of: Original HitsParadiso02002-04-2323 April 2002
Songs for You: The CollectionUniversal International02002-09-1717 September 2002
New World in the MorningCollectables02003-01-01January 2003
All of My Life: Very Best ofBMG International02004-07-2020 July 2004
Moments in My LifeBMG/Ariola02005-05-066 May 2005
An Evening WithPrism Platinum02005-06-077 June 2005
Now and Then: Greatest Hits 1964–2004BMG International02005-10-1111 October 2005

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ "Roger Whittaker-Biography". Cmt.com. 22 March 1936. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  2. ^ IMDb page on Roger Whittaker
  3. ^ "September 2012 Newsletter". The Official Roger Whittaker Website. 
  4. ^ British Academy website on award won by Roger Whittaker
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 600. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit source | edit]