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Easy listening king Andy Williams dies at 84

The legendary crooner Andy Williams has died at 84. Williams, best known for his classic 'Moon River' died at home in Branson, Missouri after a long battle with cancer.

Williams had his first hit in 1953 and became one of the most successful exponent of the easy listening genre. His TV varirty series The Andy Williams Show was launched in 1962 and became one of the most popular shows on American TV. It helped launch the career of regular guests the Osmonds.

The show ended in 1971 but Willimas continued to make Christmas specials. His festive shows became a central part of an American Christmas, earning him the nickname 'Mr Christmas'. He made no less than eight albums of Christmas songs, all of them best-sellers.

‘Moon River’ became his theme tune after he sang it at the 1962 Oscar ceremony, although he never released it as a single (although it’s not unlikely that it might now emerge as a posthumous release).

Williams set up his Moon River Theater in Branson in 1992, resulting in the Midwest town becoming a kind of easy listening equivalent of Nashville, with numerous other musical venues following his example. His theatre is now the hub of a town devoted to musical shows.

Although the lifelong Republican Williams was associated with a mainstream genre of music, with comfortable knitwear and a family-friendly image, he was a close friend of the Kennedys, singing at Bobby Kennedy’s funeral. He spoke up vociferously in defence of John Lennon when the Beatle was threatened with deportation from the USA, and regularly performed material from the counter-culture.

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