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Slim Whitman

Though he was once known as "America's Favorite Folksinger," Slim Whitman was, for the majority of his career, more famous in Europe than in the United States. Best remembered for his early-'50s hit singles like "Love Song of the Waterfall," "Indian Love Call," and "Singing Hills," Whitman was an excellent yodeler known for singing mellow, romantic, and clean-cut songs.

As a child, Slim Whitman (born Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr.) became infatuated with music and learned to yodel listening to Montana Slim and Jimmie Rodgers records. At age 17, he married 15-year-old Geraldine Crist, a preacher's daughter. The newlyweds moved to a 40-acre farm south of Jacksonville, Florida, where Whitman worked as a meat packer. While working in the plant, he suffered an accident and lost two fingers on his left hand. After the accident, he began working in a Tampa shipyard. During World War II, Whitman served in the U.S. Navy, where he learned to play guitar. Following the war, he returned to the shipyard and also joined a local minor-league baseball team, the Plant City Berries. Whitman remained with the team through 1948, but then began building a singing career at several Tampa radio stations, eventually creating a backup band, the Variety Rhythm Boys.

Slim Whitman got his first big break after Colonel Tom Parker -- who was managing Eddy Arnold at the time -- heard him singing on radio station WFLA. Parker landed a contract with RCA for Whitman by the end of 1948. After reluctantly complying with the label's request to change his first name to "Slim," he released his first single, "I'm Casting My Lasso Towards the Sky" -- eventually to become his theme song. He made his national debut on the Mutual Network's Smokey Mountain Hayride in the summer of 1949, and the following year joined The Louisiana Hayride. Despite his national exposure, Whitman's career wasn't making much of an impact, and he was forced to take a job as a part-time mailman.

In the early '50s, he released a cover of Bob Nolan's "Love Song of the Waterfall," which became his breakthrough hit, peaking at number ten on the country charts; the follow-up single, "Indian Love Call," made him a star, peaking at number two on the country charts and crossing over into the pop Top Ten. Both sides of his next single -- "Keep It a Secret"/"My Heart Is Broken in Three" -- were also major hits and he continued to have a string of Top Ten hits into the mid-'50s. In 1955, his title song for the film Rose-Marie became a smash on both sides of the Atlantic; following its success, Whitman joined the Grand Ole Opry, and then went to Britain in 1956 as the first country singer to play the London Palladium. Throughout the late '50s and early '60s, he had a string of British hits, including "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Unchain My Heart," and "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen."

Although he was experiencing great success in the U.K., Whitman's career was in neutral in the U.S. After 1954's "Singing Hills," he had only two Top 40 hits in the course of a decade. In 1965, he bounced back into the country Top Ten with "More Than Yesterday." For the next few years, he had a series of minor country hits, including "Rainbows Are Back in Style" (1968), "Happy Street" (1968), and "Tomorrow Never Comes" (1970). Throughout the early '70s, he continued to have minor hits, but in 1974, he retired from active recording.

In 1979, Whitman filmed a television commercial to support Suffolk Marketing's release of a collection of his greatest hits. On the strength of the commercials, All My Best sold four million records and became the best-selling television-marketed album in history. After its success, the label released Just for You in 1980, and The Best in 1982. Between 1980 and 1984, Whitman had a small run of minor hits, highlighted by 1980's number 15 hit "When." In the late '80s, he returned to television-marketed albums, releasing Slim Whitman: Best Loved Favorites in 1989 and 20 Precious Memories in 1991. During the '90s, Whitman recorded infrequently but continued to tour successfully, particularly in Europe and Australia. His final release, Twilight on the Trail, appeared in 2010, and he died three years later of heart failure. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Rose Marie

Disc 1
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Disc 3
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Disc 6

Comments

Johnny Cash my favorite
One of my favorite country singers
Ilike all of slim whitman songs it would be nice to hear the whole song
Perhaps the last of the great "Singing Cowboys"...c e r t a i n l y , one of the best. Thanks for the melodies...m a y you Rest in Peace.
burrus298
Another great has passed on to Hillbilly Heaven. RIP Slim!
one of the greats
Slim Whitman is so uniquie, he has a style all his own.
rcavalier86
I discovered Slim Whitman a few years ago. To me, he was a new voice and I was really impressed. One of the best!!
one of the countys best.
Always loved Slim Whitman
dudrop22
He is the greatest! I think all of his songs are great.
we all love...godri v e n people...mus i c so inspires us allllllaloha . . t o m m y t .
jnnyrankin
hi
Slim is a truely underappreci a t e d vocal talent by today's modern, American music fans. I'm 37 yrs old, and really love Slim's sound. An original, hope his legacy is never misplaced or forgotten.
I have all his recordings and love all of them . since 1953 on Louisiana Hayride.
georgesr67
slim has always be my man 55 years when sings i just feel good i am 71 and still love his music hes the best his music will live for ever
Been a fan for 50+ years, One of akind in my book and rates a BIG 10
Some Country fans and I enjoyed Slim Whitman when he appeared at 'Frank Daileys Meadowbrook' nightclub in Maple Grove NJ in the early '50s. The Meadowbrook was infamous in the '40s for big name 'Big Bands' such as Glenn Miller, etc. It brought real stars of Country music to the midst of many fans. Slim was great! He will always be a favorite of mine.
I've been listening to Slim since Indian Love Call was on the charts. I've met him and his son, Byran, and both are gentlemen. Byran is fantastic and Slim is my favorite. My wife and I have followed their shows all over the northeast and every show was great. Best to both of them.
I love his hign voice. Slim I love to hear him yodal.
In the middle 50's I had a 78rpm of slims song "TELL ME" I have not found it since,but will continue to search. I also looked for his song "MY BEST TO YOU" PANDORA HAS IT. I too, wish i could let him know how I have loved his music for the last 50 years My best to you Slim,Marjean
After 57 years of listening to Slim Whitman,I still am amazed and awed by his voice. In my opinion, he has no equal.In vocal power and range, he has it all. I love the man.
In the 70's when the Best of Slim Whitman was being advertised alot on TV,and the add said "Slim has sold over 10 Million Records", Johnny carson made a big joke "Slim who? 10 Million Records? Who's ever heard of him?" Well, he found out. He got so meny letters that he had Slim on the show, several times.
Best "I Remember You" of all time, and this song been sung by many Of the greatest.
the voice range on this guy amazing.
cms0841
absolutely -- he's best
THANK YOU PANDORA ,PLAY IT AGAIN
more of this would be fine
best of best one of a kind
Slim's music and singing has been of great comfort to me in times of distress. I have several of his albums and would listen to him sing over any other artists. I often wished I could tell him how much his music meant to me.
one of the worlds best

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