Tex Williams

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Tex Williams
Williams in 1967
Williams in 1967
Background information
Birth nameSollie Paul Williams
Born(1917-08-23)August 23, 1917
OriginRamsey, Illinois, United States
DiedOctober 11, 1985(1985-10-11) (aged 68)
Newhall, California, United States
Instrument(s)guitar, Harmonica
Years active1946–1978

Sollie Paul "Tex" Williams (August 23, 1917 – October 11, 1985)[1] was an American Western swing musician. He is best known for his talking blues style; his biggest hit was the novelty song, "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)", which held the number one position on the Billboard chart for sixteen weeks in 1947. "Smoke" was the No. 5 song on Billboard's Top 100 list for 1947, and was No. 1 on the country chart that year.[2] It can be heard during the opening credits of the 2006 movie, Thank You for Smoking.

Life and career[edit]

He was born in Ramsey, Illinois, United States.[1] Williams started out in the early 1940s as vocalist for the band of Western swing king Spade Cooley, based in Venice, California.[1]

Williams' backing band, The Western Caravan, numbered about a dozen members. They originally played polkas for Capitol Records, and later saw success with "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke" written in large part by Merle Travis.[3]

In April 1956, Williams appeared on the Chrysler-sponsored CBS TV broadcast, Shower of Stars.[4]

Williams died of pancreatic cancer on October 11, 1985.[1][5]


Williams and the Western Caravan appeared in the following films:

  • Tex Williams and His Western Caravan (1947)
  • Tex Williams & Orchestra in Western Whoopee (1948)
  • The Pecos Pistol (1949)
  • Tex Williams' Western Varieties (1951)



Tex Williams collection album cover
Williams collection album cover
Year Album US Country Label
1955 Country and Western Dance-O-Rama No. 5 Decca
1960 Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! Capitol
1962 Country Music Time Decca
1963 Voice of Authority Imperial
1963 Tex Williams in Las Vegas Liberty
1966 Two Sides of Tex Williams 26 Boone
1971 A Man Called Tex 38 Monument
1974 Those Lazy, Hazy Days Granite
1977 The Legendary Tex Williams: Then... Now Corral
1996 Vintage Collections: Tex Williams & His Western Caravan Capitol


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1946 "The California Polka" 4 singles only
1947 "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" 1 1
"That's What I Like About the West" 4
"Never Trust a Woman" 8
1948 "Don't Telephone – Don't Telegraph (Tell a Woman)" 2
"Suspicion" 4
"Banjo Polka" 5
"Who? Me?" 6
"Foolish Tears" 15
"Talking Boogie" 6
"Just a Pair of Blue Eyes" 13
"Life Gits Tee-Jus, Don't It?" 5 27
1949 "(There's a) Bluebird On Your Windowsill" 11
1965 "Too Many Tigers" 26 Two Sides of Tex Williams
"Big Tennessee" 30
1966 "Bottom of a Mountain" 18
"First Step Down" singles only
"Another Day, Another Dollar in the Hole" 44
1967 "Crazy Life"
"Black Jack County" 57
"She's Somebody Else's Heartache Now"
1968 "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke – '68" 32
"Here's to You and Me" 45
"Tail's Been Waggin' the Dog"
1970 "Big Oscar" A Man Called Tex
"It Ain't No Big Thing" 50
1971 "The Night Miss Nancy Ann's Hotel
for Single Girls Burned Down"A
1972 "Everywhere I Go (He's Already Been There)" 67
"Glamour of the Night Life (Is Calling Me Again)" singles only
"Tennessee Travelin'"
"Cynthia Ann"
1974 "Is This All You Hear (When a Heart Breaks)" Those Lazy, Hazy Days
"Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" 70
"Bum Bum Bum"
1978 "Make It Pretty for Me Baby" single only
  • A"The Night Miss Nancy Ann's Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down" peaked at No. 27 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.


  1. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 454. ISBN 0-85112-726-6.
  2. ^ "Tex Williams | Billboard". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 11, 2021. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  3. ^ "Tex Williams : Biography". CMT. Archived from the original on April 17, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  4. ^ Disk Talent Feature of 'Stars' Show. Billboard, April 14, 1956. p. 36
  5. ^ Kienzle, Southwest Shuffle, p. 99: "In 1985, he died of pancreatic cancer (not lung cancer, as was widely reported)."


  • Kienzle, Rich. Southwest Shuffle: Pioneers of Honky Tonk, Western Swing, and Country Jazz. New York: Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-94102-4
  • Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. Billboard Books, 2006. ISBN 0-8230-8291-1

External links[edit]