Andy Williams: Adieu to one of the last true songpainters

  Adieu:  Fare thee well [Old French, from a  to + dieu, to God!]  – until we meet again in happier times.

As you may know, Andy lost a year long battle with bladder cancer last Tuesday night, September 25, 2012.

Blessed to interview and talk with him a few times, to see several of his live performances over the decades, to personally encourage him to know and believe how he has touched so many with his music (when he told me he always doubted whether he was really any good), to talk with him about faith and love of his family —

Well, there are many memory word-pictures I might share here.

Today though, I am remembering this one from his beautiful Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri… about ten years ago… and thinking, like the words of Fiddler’s poignant “Sunrise Sunset,” how swiftly go our days…

I’m not sure if this may be on YouTube somewhere… I wish it were.  But here is one word photo that remains singing in me this day….

Lights fell softly over the 2,500-seat theatre that night, all eyes on the spot-lit screen hanging above the Moon River stage.

In shadows, I could just make him out, a lone figure off to the side, mic in hand, as he lifted heart and voice to accompany ceiling-high video with color streamers of song … A hauntingly simple but melting ode… set against a backdrop of flowing images…

A lovely church….

Andy, sitting in a pew… praying out… One Sweet Day

Tender moving photos of many we’ve loved and lost, now larger than life once more…

Danny Kaye… Judy Garland… Michael Landon…

Bing Crosby… Bob Hope…

Fred MacMurray…

And so many more…

Lighting eyes luminous, rippling pops of sweet laughter

at their fun and silly antics of old,

across rows and rows around me.

I could hear my dad sniffling, even as I…

along with a sea of others surrounding us.

Watching these faces, familiar as family,

who seemed… here… such a short while ago…

Personal friends to him…and, because we also shared their lives in so many of our own living room moments…so beloved to each of us as well…

And listening, trying to breathe into memory the melody and words, his heart-stirring phrasing, the warmth they evoked,

I thought…

   I want to remember this song, to hold it like a snow globe I can take out         and shake again…

So much so, that later… when I had opportunity to talk with him about his life and music and words I’d written to encourage him – and he enthused about an upcoming album he was working on – I asked him to include this one… and he did

I Don't Remember Ever Growing Up

.

ONE SWEET DAY

Sorry… I never told you
All I wanted to say…
Now it’s too late to tell you*
‘Cause you’ve flown away
So far away

[Chorus:]
And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually we’ll be together
One sweet day

Never, had I imagined,
Just living… without… your… smile
This* feeling… and knowing… you hear me
Brings you near me for a little while*

[Chorus:]  And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually we’ll be together
…One sweet day

 Although the sun will never shine the same

I will always look to a brighter day
Lord, I know when I lay me down to sleep
You will always listen as I pray

[Chorus] And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually we’ll be together
…One sweet day

Sorry… I never told you
All I …wanted... to say…

~ Mariah Carey

* A few minor tweaks by Andy for his tribute version, as performed at his Moon River Theatre and on his last album, “I don’t remember ever growing up.”

Not sure if this is available to listen online, but if so, I hope you will… 🙂

.

Andy, today, with my CD player set to this song – your voice resonating, this sweet…       almost-prayer… forever captured (and making me a bit teary) —  I remember mentioning to you, how glad I was to be able to tell you

And now, hearing the news, that you have flown away too…it means so much more.  Thank you, for recording it.  Thank you.

I do not say goodbye. 

Your music, so much beauty, and laughter sing on my mind’s screen and in my heart.

No, it is adieu I want for you  – to God! – to a brighter day. 

And everlasting song.

In a world so needing the light of beauty, you are already missed.

.

Quiet thoughts come floating down
And settle softly to the ground
Like golden autumn leaves around my feet
I touch them and they burst apart with sweet memories,
Sweet memories… **

   Today,  remembering this man, his kindness to me and others,  I also recall  his impeccable timing in both song and humor… how he could make me hysterical to tears with his highly imaginative use        of new technology put to spoofing himself there in his              Moonlight on Missouri Branson theatre…

So, when I discovered this hilarious video is now on YouTube, I just had to include it here.  Wonderfully wacky, delightfully hysterical… I know you will love this one too!

Please make sure to keep watching through to the second half on to the end though, or you will miss it… To set the stage for the fun, the first part is a straight clip of Andy singing one of the loveliest of his romantic hits to Sandra Dee in the early 1960’s “I’d Rather Be Rich….”  then leading in to such a clever spoof of himself only he could carry off!  The only thing missing from this version is the computer gleam in his eye that I remember at the end…  It is still one of the funniest, even endearing, performances I’ve ever seen him do… 🙂

If you want to roar with delight don’t miss it!  This one is so refreshing… and proof that we don’t need dirt to have fabulous humor!

youtube.com/watch?v=usyT2HEFdEw&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLATtP5gW_0O7_CDSTE28Ckw

(…copy and paste the above link info into your search browser to view…)

©   Pam Depoyan

   Linking with: Multitudes on Monday counting blessings with this blogging community, with thankfulness for the gifts this songpainter brought to my life…and times only God can open up.  For glorious music to soar the heart. For a small world that can bring us close.  For light we can share.  For hope of heaven.  For Holy Spirit whispers and answered prayer.  For dreams and words and lightpost moments.  For those He sends to paint His watercolor beauty on our souls.  And for all the till we meet agains…  I am beyond grateful, O Lord!

Remember me with smiles and laughter,
For that’s the way I’ll remember you all.
If you can only remember me with tears,
Then don’t remember me at all.
~ Michael Landon    

photos:

quote:    Little House, Episode “Remember Me.” http://michael_landon.homestead.com/

** “Memories,” music and lyrics, Hoff, Strange, Davis , (one of my too-many-to-name-favorites, this from Andy’s Happy Heart album)

also linked with:   Thought Provoking Thursday

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About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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16 Responses to Andy Williams: Adieu to one of the last true songpainters

  1. Pam-
    I had no idea that Andy had left this world-what a “Songbird” God now has in Heaven with the others who passed by Andy, perhaps sang songs with him… About two years ago or so–we took a trip to Branson, Mo and on a fluke, got tickets to see Andy at his beautiful facility there! It was magic to see him on stage, singing on such a crystal clear note-I do not think that voice (gifted to him by God) had ever grown weak-and I recall sitting there in awe, thinking how blessed my dear husband and I were to see this man singing.

    Last night My husband urged me to go have dinner at one of our nicer local places and I relented, figuring I could manage this and just hope Pain would give me some room to enjoy it. The place was almost empty but they had a wonderful man playing the Piano! This precious husband of mine hopped up and asked the man to play something for us~~~ suddenly there it was, so familiar to both of us “Moon River” rippled from the piano keys and we both were thinking back to being in Branson–it felt like Andy was right there, gently singing to the music!

    God blesses us with some very SPECIAL people to pass our way and without doubt, Andy Williams was one of the best. You my dear, were given an even better gift by having a chance to talk with him!

    Thank you for sharing “Andy” with us again. God bless you.

    martha

    • Yes, I saw the sad news online Wed morning…but it was barely mentioned on TV. And I haven’t seen it in any magazines. Amazing. A legend in our time…

      I’m so glad you got to see him there at his gorgeous theater. You are right about the “magic.” Yes, his voice was amazingly strong… I think a true blessing to him because he never wanted to retire. If he hadn’t gotten sick, he would still be singing there…as he was just last year. Moon River is such a beautiful, stirring song…. I never tire of it. The version Mancini wrote just for him always makes me cry because it is so moving. How lovely on the piano for you too. I can imagine it in a nice setting as you describe. Thank you for sharing all this, Martha. Glad your husband insisted on treating you to such a nice dinner too… music always soothes pain… Blessings to you too!

  2. MaryLou says:

    Hi Pam, I just watched the video that you gave the link to and I had forgotten that Andy Williams had been in movies. Really enjoyed the whole video sweet and funny also. Thank you for including it with the moving words that you did share. I never did see him in person but I certainly remember hearing him on records that my mom owned. Hard to believe so many of those wonderful old actors and singers are gone. 🙂

    • Yes, I think that was basically his only movie, except for a few where he sang in background with his brothers. A cute, funny movie where Maurice Chevalier played Sandra Dee’s grandfather, pretending to be dying so he could watch over her romance…Robert Goulet was in it too… I’m glad you enjoyed it. I know… it’s so sad to me to see so many of them gone. An end to a special era in our lives in many ways. I am grateful for recordings though, as I know you are. I hope those memories comfort his family…

  3. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for your comment at my site. I’m so glad someone else wrestles with their tongue too. Thank you. I’m sorry about your sadness from this recent death and a longing to know where their eternity is. I understand that feeling as I wonder that about some relatives… Thinking of you tonight from MN and nodding head in prayer with you, friend. May they have chosen him, bent their knees and hearts in time.

    “Like a fresh spring,” you said. I like that.

    Warmly,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    • Thank you, Jennifer. Yes, unfortunately, I can relate… 🙂 Yes, I am thinking of someone I prayed for so much…(prayer can put a feeling of family in our hearts for those we lift up, even if we are only acquaintances)…and trusting that God is holding him now. Thank you for your prayers!

  4. Lynn Morrissey says:
    October 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    This is so beautiful Pam, and I know friendship with Andy was God’s special gift to you. What a velvet voice he possessed, and he was so wholesome. I felt so saddened when he died, and loved listening to all the stations playing Moon River (though admittedly, I”m not sure I totally understand the lyrics! 🙂 But one understand that Andy loved God and stood for decency. You captured him so eloquently. And thanks for sharing that darling video–my 20 y/o daughter actually enjoyed watching it, and I’m getting the movie from the library. Thank you for the way you use words to share light, beauty, and legacy. You bless us so!
    Lynn

    • Thank you, Lynn. Yes… I don’t claim a true friendship with him (more than acquaintance), but talking with him, knowing he enjoyed my letters as he told me so spontaneously when we met, and most of all his heartfelt music makes me feel like he was a friend. There’s really no way to capture it all here…the eloquency of his music, how it moves me, sadness at his death, but I’m so glad this came across to you.

      That makes me smile, thinking of your daughter enjoying it (online, I read a comment from a 17 year old girl on his death, saying how much she enjoyed him, and I know he would have loved that!) “I’d rather be rich” is a cute, fun movie… Maurice Chevalier plays Sandra Dee’s grandfather who pretends to be dying because he wants to arrange her love life with the man he thinks she would be happiest with. Just sweet and old-fashioned. Humorous too. Hope you and your daughter enjoy! I want to post one more YouTube of him that I found… one of the most breathtaking of all his songs that is true worship and never fails to make me feel the Holy Spirit… too beautiful not to share…

      Your words about wordsinger… and now these about sharing light, beauty and legacy move me deeply… because they are what I pray to do with words. Thank you!!

      • Lynn Morrissey says:

        Oh glad you moved my post, Pam to the right place! And yes, you truly are a poetic soul and wordsinger…….and to think, now you have written about a singer of words–meaningful and spirited, and some lighthearted, but uplifting words. I liked the way he encouraged other singers, esp. young ones like the Osmonds. Just the decency of his music is what appeals. I had NO idea he’d been in a movie, and I really enjoyed the clip. Will have to let you know what we think, but Sandra is so cute, and we love Maurice, so it will be fun. And you can bet we are in dismay about the garbage that parades as entertainment these days., Thanks for your gracious response!

  5. Thank you, Lynn. Yes, I’ve been reading online this week just how much he was an encourager to others. He’s also quoted as saying it just wasn’t in him to be aggressive and dog eat dog in the business and he always wanted to lift others up. (He even encouraged me with nice compliments about my writing…extra nice coming from someone who truly knew how to make a word sing). I knew that about helping some people like the Osmonds, and some more recent with people he and I talked about and even wrote that in my article about him, but I always love an encourager’s heart and to hear of others with that too. I read a lovely quote from Doris Day yesterday. She said he recently took time to write and encourage and congratulate her on a new CD release of her old music, even in the midst of his sickness. That touched me. I think he was only in this one movie (except for a few old black and white movies where he and his brothers sang in background). I just liked the movie growing up because I loved Sandra Dee, loved Andy and Robert Goulet (he’s in it too) and Maurice was just so cute and funny. It’s pretty silly, but very entertaining, and that scene driving to the mountains was my favorite.. Yes… not many of the true entertainers left. Your words bless me, how can I not respond? 🙂

  6. Alicia says:

    Oh, how sweet to see Andy through your eyes. Brings me back to the days of crackling records and my sister and I dancing in our living room. Glad we were neighbors at God-Bumps today!

    • Oh, Alicia… your image reminds me of my sister and cousins and I dancing in our living room too… and watching his show while my dad patiently allowed my four year old cousin to “style” his hair… 🙂 I’m glad we were neighbors there too! Thanks for sharing…

  7. This was such a lovely tribute to Andy, and the beautiful words and song. Thank you for sharing your post at Tell me a Story !

  8. Diane says:

    No one could have written a more elequent tribute! This should be on his website!

    Thank you, Pam, for paying this tribute to the songbird of my youth!

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