The Williams Brothers

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The Williams Brothers
Born  United States
Occupation(s) Actors, singers
Years active 1938–1990s

The Williams Brothers were a singing quartet that performed extensively on radio, movies, nightclubs, and television from 1938 through the 1990s.

History[edit]

The four Williams Brothers—Bob, Don, Dick and Andy Williams—formed a singing quartet in the mid-1930s in Wall Lake, Iowa. Their father, Jay Williams, managed and promoted the group. They entertained on radio stations, first at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and later at WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati, before they moved to Los Angeles in 1943, where they were under contract with the MGM film studio. The Williams Brothers appeared in Janie (1944), Kansas City Kitty (1944), Ladies' Man (1947), and Something in the Wind (1947).

They also appeared with Bing Crosby on the hit record "Swinging on a Star" (1944). This led to a nightclub act with entertainer Kay Thompson from 1947 to 1951. The act was staged by MGM choreographer, Robert Alton. They toured night-clubs and cabarets in the United States and internationally with great success and appeared on radio and television establishing a loyal cult following with their jazz-based harmonies and flamboyant performance style. The act broke up in 1951 and the brothers went separate ways, appearing annually on The Andy Williams Show from 1962 through the 1990s.

Tribute[edit]

Liza Minnelli has paid tribute to the Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers act in The South Bank Show (2008). In her 2008 tour, Minnelli devoted much of the performance to recreating the act, using Thompson's trademark music. The success of this tribute led to Minnelli's return to Broadway in December 2008. "Liza's At The Palace!" opened at New York's legendary Palace Theatre, an affectionate salute to her godmother, Kay Thompson. Supported by a quartet of dynamic singer/dancers standing in for the original Williams Brothers, Liza performed musical hits (with the original vocal arrangements) from the famous act, including such numbers as “I Love a Violin,” “Clap Yo' Hands,” “Jubilee Time”, and “Hello Hello”. The show won a Tony Award, and was subsequently released on a double CD- preserving the nightclub material in a state-of-the-art recording.

Second generation[edit]

Twin brothers Andrew Williams and David Williams (born February 22, 1959), nephews of singer Andy Williams, from Henderson, Nevada, recorded as The Williams Brothers in the 1990s, and made the Billboard Hot 100 with their song "Can't Cry Hard Enough" in 1992. As potential teen idols, they also made the Hot 100 in 1974, billed as "Andy and David Williams", with the #92 entry "What's Your Name". This followed an appearance in The Partridge Family.

The gospel group "The Williams Brothers"[edit]

This identically-named group was organized in 1960 by Leon "Pop" Williams. They were originally known as "The Little Williams Brothers" and later "The Sensational Williams Brothers". Today the group is simply called "The Williams Brothers".

Articles and reviews[edit]

  • Detroit News Pictorial. December 14, 1947.
  • Chicago Daily News. Thursday, June 17, 1948.
  • This Week in Montreal. Friday, December 31, 1948.
  • Paul V. Coates. “Well, Medium and Rare”. Los Angeles Mirror. Monday, July 31, 1951. p. 10.
  • Variety. October 3, 1951. p. 64.

References[edit]

External links[edit]