Wednesday, April 12, 2006

HEY! DOES ANYONE REMEMBER...

...Slim Whitman?

That’s right, Slim Whitman! You’ll never believe it, but he helped me fix a flat tire on the highway this afternoon.

Actually...you shouldn’t believe it, because it’s not true. What IS true, however, is that I was sitting here thinking that I really needed to post something new on the VTB...but had no ideas and even less motivation. So I assumed the lotus position and dropped a hook into the deepest recesses of that surreal part of my brain. You know...the one with the Latin name.

I felt a nibble on the hook, gave it a sharp tug, reeled it in and found Slim wiggling on the end of the line.

So...who is Slim Whitman? He’s a country singer that yodels.

And why, you may be wondering, has a yodelling country singer been honored with a star on my Subconscious Walk of Fame? It’s because the commercial for Slim’s greatest hits album aired on late night TV every seven minutes during the two years that I was in Junior High School.

If you’ve seen the commercial, it’s impossible to forget. Slim stands in front a barn dressed as a matador...or something. The barn isn’t real. It’s obviously just a low-budget prop on TV studio sound stage. He begins yodelling, and a voiceover begins.

“This country superstar has sold more records than Elvis or The Beatles.”

That claim always struck me as a bit suspect, since I couldn’t find a single person who had heard of Slim before those TV commercials began airing.

Anyway...Slim continued yodelling through a medley of his hits as the commercial proceeded. And at one point, Slim’s face appeared in a box at the lower corner of the screen...and the man himself spoke!

“All the songs on this album have touched my heart. I hope they touch your heart, too.”

Viewers were then informed that a check or money order would be required. Sorry, but no C.O.D.’s.

Slim quickly became a hot topic amongst my classmates and I. Not because we wanted to buy his album. Heavens no! But simply because his commercial was so damn kitchilicious.

“Slim rocks!” Began appearing on chalkboards and bathroom walls.

Thirteen year old boys began asking thirteen year old girls if they could, “Touch your heart, too.”

If our pre-prubescent bodies could muster the testosterone, I’m sure we all would’ve grown pencil-moustaches.

Think I’m nuts? Well then...go find yourself an American guy who is more or less my age (39) and say the words, “Slim Whitman.” Then step back and gauge his reaction.

Whatever it is, I’ll betcha it involves a yodel.

34 Comments:

At 12:45 PM, Blogger euro-trac said...

Oooh am I first?
Gladys is just the name of my diary/blog!
As you have sussed out, most of my things have names!
Gladys is named after the King's mother - The very same King who hasn't quite matched up to Slim in record sales...

Yeah right!?? :o)

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger Angie said...

I know nothing of this Slim Whitman fellow, so my comment is off-topic...

I DO know, however, where you can find a belly dancer in Madrid. Las Mil y Una Noches, C./Martin de los Heros 28. (I had to dig up the business card I took when we visited, hence the delay in relaying this information.) It said it was Lebanese food... being from Indiana, I have no idea if it was good Lebanese food or what. (Tasted fine to me.) Also, they had your hookah pipes, but being me, I didn't partake. (The ladies I was dining with enjoyed the hookah.)

And, the belly dancers. I have a blurry photo somewhere of one of them. They were very impressive, especially to me. (Again, being from Indiana.)

There, my good deed for the day is done...

 
At 5:48 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Never heard of him, but it could be that I'm 9 years younger and I was just a bit too late on figuring this one out! Now the flat tire part was good. haha

 
At 7:39 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

Una Paloma blanca...ahhh...ahHHHHHH...AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH... (kinda hard to yodel using a keyboard, I know).

How can anybody on earth have not heard of Slim?? It's probably one of the 2-3 songs that have Spanish in the lyrics ever heard here...he, Jose Feliciano and Mocedades (Eres tu).

For those who are having a hard time remembering Slim, here are the lyrics:
When the sun shines on the mountain
And the night is on the run
It's a new day
It's a new way

And I fly up to the sun

I can feel the morning sunlight
I can smell the new-mown hay
I can hear God's voice is calling
For my golden sky light way

Una paloma blanca
I'm just a bird in the sky
Una paloma blanca
Over the mountains I fly
No one can take my freedom away

Once I had my share of losing
for they locked me on a chain
Yes they tried to break my power
oh I still can feel the pain

Una paloma blanca
I'm just a bird in the sky
Una paloma blanca
Over the mountains I fly
No one can take my freedom away


Now I hope that Godda**ed song is going thru everybodys brain like it has been mine for the last 10 minutes, and will likely be doing until some other obnoxious jingle replaces it.

Really digging deep today, eh Sal??

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous sp said...

Sal, I think the "deepest recesses of that surreal part of [your] brain", must- in fact- be VERY deep.

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

E-Trac: You're first in the door again. You must get up pretty early in the morning. I'm surprized you're not familiar with Slim. After all, he and The King share a common love for pompadours. BTW, thanks for solving the Gladys mystery.

Ang: You've never heard of Slim either? Do you know why? Do you? Or course you do. I don't even need to say it. BTW, thanks for the Madrid hookah recommendation. Running after a night of hookah ought to be interesting.

E-Traveller: What?! You've never heard of Slim either? What is it? A GUY thing?!

Iron Man: Finally! The voice of reason. Once again, you prove that I'm not making this stuff up. Actually, I think some of the readers believe that you and I are the same person. If "Una Paloma Blanca" is haunting you, then think ABBA and it will go away.

Sydney Pollack: Slim is deep down there indeed. But there's an even deeper level. And there you'll find..."BJ and the Bear"

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger cream said...

I knew of Slim Whitman but never really listened to his songs. He always reminded me of a car-salesman!
I saw Fantastic Jose Feliciano a few months ago in Newcastle!
"Come on baby, light my fire!"

 
At 3:30 AM, Anonymous jrpfeff said...

My mind immediately jumped to Freddy Fender, wasn't he popular about the same time as Slim? Add Freddy to Ironporer's list of Spanish titled pop hits.

Freddy is now part of Los Super Seven. Good stuff for smoking meat, with some songs in Spanish.

 
At 7:17 AM, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

Sal...
Have you been visiting la Fée Verte ("The Green Fairy") again?
I bet as a kid, you were very imaginative, just a question, did you have imaginary friends??
;) kim

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

And as we all know, Slim was responsible for saving the earth from the Martians (anyone seen "Mars Attacks"?). I knew yodelling would grow to serve humanity somehow.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

I wanted to write but didn't know the guy ... well Sal, I guess that makes me technically younger than you ;)

 
At 2:57 PM, Blogger christina said...

Well this irregual regular is feeling REALLY ancient today(only 41 days short of 43) - of course I remember Slim Whitman!! I think they used to air those commercials on KVOS TV 12 from Seattle.

Yep, kitchilicious is the only way to describe Slim.

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Tracie B. said...

i'm partial to the linda ronstadt version of blue bayou :)

 
At 5:46 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Tracie: But can she yodel?

Christina: As you approach your 43rd birthday, please please please do NOT think the following thought: The King was 43 when he died on the throne. This thought hit me the other night and the mere thought that I'm only four years from Elvis's death age put me into a deep funk for the next 48 hours.

Lady Di: You may be younger, but I have the Slobovian Cosmic Earth Crystals. Don't ask.

Tim: Where the hell have you been?!

Kim/Thomas: I haven't touched the Green Fairy, but I did stare longingly at it the other night. As for your other question, no...I never had an imaginary friend as a kid (unlike SOME people in this VTB, right Heikki?). I did, however, spend tons of time writing letters and watching absurdist TV shows (e.g., Japanese monster movies, Get Smart, The Big Chuck & Little John Show on late night Cleveland TV). The Slobovian Cosmic Earth Crystals didn't hurt, either. Don't ask.

Junior Pfeff: Freddy Fender. A musician so talented that they named an auto body part after him. Yep, heard of him. Nope, never heard him. The same company that released Slim's album aired another (later) commercial for another unknown singer. This one's name was "Boxcar Willie." They touted him as "America's Favorite Singing Hobo." I don't think the album sold, because the commercial was short-lived. Boxcar Willie was later eaten by cannibals at an open-air benefit concert in Borneo.

Cream: I didn't know that Jose Feliciano was in The Doors.

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

oh Sal, you should never make someone with bronchitis laugh so hard...it never ends well for the computer screen...but, if Elvis died at 43, who was that guy I saw buying a refried bean burrito down at the Taco John's the other night?
Oh, and yes, I do remember Slim...what a weird recollection. He was very much "the strange uncle no one ever talked about" material.

 
At 8:20 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

The Slobovian Cosmic Earth Crystals worked ...my 'younger than you' claim is only a technicality based on me not having Slim at the front of my mind ... I probably know his music.

As for your '4 years from the same age as Elvis when he died' ... you irresponsible lout, written on behalf on behalf of Christine ;)

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Dammit, researching a cheap French wine made me repeat myself ... one 'on behalf' is just find and dandy.

Sigh, the experimentation is fun, alas and alack, not the consequences.

Can your Slobovian Cosmic Earth Crystals work their magic on my comment error?

 
At 10:29 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Lady Di Lady Di: I'll bet your favorite movie is "Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean." That's what you get for experimenting with cheap French wine, rather than Spanish. Slobovian Cosmic Earth Crystals can indeed help...but only the Lower Slobovian variety. My crystals are Upper Slobovian. Sorry.

Lisa: How goes the strep throat. I figured you'd be all over this Slim post...as your head is the same bottomless dumpster of useless pop culture trivia that mine is. As for the Taco John' s sighting, I need to know something very, very important. Did he order his refried bean burrito with extra peanut butter and bananas? Did he? Did he?!!!

 
At 11:16 PM, Blogger christina said...

Oh man, Elvis died at 43? Now I'm really freaked out. I'll start wrapping up my affairs (not those kind of affairs, the other kind) this week and live each day as if it were my last. That means no limit on the chocolate bunnies, I guess.

 
At 12:32 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

"a bottomless dumpster of useless pop culture trivia"...oh god, I'm dying

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger cream said...

Sal, he wasn't but his version of Light my fire reached Number One in 1968.

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

When I saw the picture and read teh name, something went "click". I can't really remember the commercial, but I sure recognized him. And when I read Tim's comment (Mars Attacks), I knew and remembered him. OMG. Makes me shudder when I think about it.

Maybe he was a car salesman at some point ;-)

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

a second round of test driving cheap french wine has convinced me to take your advice and move to the spanish wine, perhaps dumping the whole 'cheap' idea along the way.

i was thinking of quantity rather than quality ... a mistake, i am busy repenting of the error of my way now.

happy easter from the kiwi.

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Lady Di:

Flu (of the non-avian type) has been pummeling me all weekend, although I seem to be finally pulling out of it.

Next time you are in the wine shop, look for Spanish reds from the following regions: Toro; Somontano; Penedes; or Costers del Segre (sp?). Riojas and Ribera del Dueros are good and easy to find, but they're not quite the bargains that the other regions are.

I know nothing about French wines, except that the good ones are really good...and the bad ones are really bad.

Still, a bad French wine still tastes better than antibiotics.

Sal

 
At 8:32 AM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Hey thanks and good luck with the flu. Sounds horrible .. and there was me imagining you were off doing all kinds of yummy Spanish Easter things.

You know ... I'm sure that antibiotics are better than the bad French wines, so sure.

I knew they were turning wine into fuel, and had heard wines were cheap over in France ... so entertained a small hope that the supermarkets were passing on the cheap prices ... HAH! no ... the cheap ones are cheap for a reason.

I'm too traumatised by the last bottle to go on with the French experimentation.

 
At 5:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slim Whitman is a friend of mine and I'm very familiar with the TV commercial you mention. It never stated that He had sold more records than elvis and the Beatles. It stated that he had a number one record in the UK for a longer period of time. eleven consecutive weeks. I have viewed the commercial 100's of times.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hello Anonymous:

You're probably right about the Beatles/Elvis reference. It's been 20+ years since I've seen this commercial, so I was going by memory.

But that's not important. What is important is your statement that Slim is a friend of yours. Can you give us any kind of update on what Slim has been up to, his state of health, etc.? If you do, then I'll write a post around it. We need to know.

Thanks for writing. I've always wondered if Slim realized the cult following he had amongst American Jr. High Schoolers in the 1980's.

Sal

 
At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slim Whitman Biographical Information
Slim Whitman, the man with the unique crystal clear soaring vocal style, was born January 20, 1924. He was named Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr., but his friends called him O.D. His childhood was spent in Tampa, Florida, with his parents, two brothers, and two sisters. His two greatest loves during the early years were baseball and fishing. Singing was the furthest thing from his mind; although he did listen to Montana Slim (Wilf Carter) and the yodeler Jimmie Rodgers on the radio and when he wanted to he could match their yodels note for note.

Church has always been an important part of Slim's life. He is a member of the Church of the Brethren. It was there, at the age of 15, that Slim met and fell in love with Geraldine Crist, the new pastor's daughter. He and Jerry were married and they settled on forty acres nestled in the woods south of Jacksonville, Florida. They named their small haven "Woodpecker Paradise." Jerry has been Slim's inspiration throughout the years. They would eventually have two children, Sharron Carlene and Byron Keith. Sharron lives next door to Slim with her family, and Byron is a gifted singer and song writer, who is a big part of the Slim Whitman Show.
Slim worked in the Tampa shipyard as a shipfitter and boilermaker until World War II. In 1943 the young Floridian was assigned to a troop transport, the U.S.S. Chilton, where he saw action in the South Pacific. To stay in shape and pass the time he took up boxing. On board he found an old guitar, strung it backwards to suit his left-handed style, and taught himself to play. It wasn't long until he joined a small group and began singing to his fellow sailors in a weekly entertainment program called "Happy Hour." The first song performed for the all-sailor audience, "When I'm Gone You'll Soon Forget," was greeted with a few boos and hisses. Understandably, this song was a poor choice to sing to a ship load of homesick boys missing their sweethearts. Slim changed to up-tempo numbers and became a hit with his shipmates. When he wasn't entertaining the battle-fatigued sailors by sparring with an opponent in the boxing ring, he could be found singing and yodeling. One evening at dusk off the island of Okinawa, a Kamikaze slammed into the mast pole, sending it crashing to the deck, where Slim had been standing just moments earlier. When asked what he did when the barrage began, Slim said, "I just tried to dig a hole in the deck." It was a close call, but someone was looking after the young sailor. A twist of fate saved Slim a second time when orders arrived transferring him to another ship. Captain Guisenhoff was not too pleased with this, as he recognized what a tremendous morale booster third class petty officer Whitman was for his battle weary men. Thankfully, the orders were changed. The ship Slim was scheduled to transfer to was later sunk in the battle of the Leyte Gulf taking all hands to the bottom of the Pacific.
After the war in 1946, Slim went back to work at the Tampa shipyard and played baseball during his off hours on the company team. It wasn't long until his athletic prowess was discovered by scouts for the Plant City Berries, a class "C" team in the Orange Belt League. Slim's 6'2" stance made him a formidable and powerful batter with an average of .360. He excelled on the pitcher's mound and led the team to a pennant in 1947 with a record of eleven wins and one loss.
Slim hung up his glove in 1948 and began singing on various radio stations including WDAE, WHBO, and WFLA in Florida. He formed his own band and sang to anyone who would listen. They soon gained the attention of the owner of a Tampa supermarket, who agreed to sponsor "Slim Whitman and his Variety Rhythm Boys." It was during this period that Colonel Tom Parker, then Eddy Arnold's manager and later Elvis', saw Slim at WFLA radio, liked what he heard, and sent an acetate to RCA records. This led to Slim's first recording contract in 1948. Colonel Parker was too busy with Eddy to manage Slim, so he turned the job over to his stepson Bob Ross, who incidentally is the voice heard doing the narrative in one of Slim's first recordings "Paint a Rose on the Garden Wall."
At sometime prior to his association with RCA records late in 1947 or early 48 he took the stage name “Slim” it may have been in tribute to Montana Slim a gerat country western singer and yodler at the time. Slim went to Tampa and with $50 recorded one song “Way Down In Florida The Only Place To Be.”
This was before his RCA days and on the rare one sided 78 recorded in reads
Slim Whitman and his Variety Rhythm Boys. Fifty of the records were produced and his
father distributed them to radio stations and music stores in the area. It is interesting to note that Slim’s family lost their only copy of this rare record years ago. The only way it was discovered to even exist is when it showed up on an Internet auction site. As far as I know there is only one in existence
At one time early in his career he was called "The Smilin' Starduster," the man whose soaring falsetto could surely dust the stars. This is where the name of Slim's band, the Stardusters," originated. Slim recorded 10 songs for RCA. The young back-up musicians used during this particular session would become stars in their own right. Anita Kerr of the famous Anita Kerr Singers performed on the piano and organ. Chester (Chet) Atkins and Jerry Byrd were on violin and guitar. Henry D. Haynes and Kenneth C. Burns (Homer and Jethro) were the musicians who played the guitar and mandolin. The RCA release was distributed on a 10" album entitled "Slim Whitman Sings and Yodels." It would be released later as a full sized album, "Birmingham Jail." The ten songs recorded for RCA have been released numerous times on 45's, 78's, tapes and in album and CD form around the world.
The first single from this session, "I'm Casting My Lasso Towards the Sky," was suggested by Jerry and would become Slim's theme song, the perfect vehicle to spotlight his yodeling expertise. Slim has a range of 3 octaves and is a master yodeler who was once said to be "the only man alive who could out sing the steel guitar." Slim has the remarkable gift of being able to slide into a beautiful falsetto break in the middle of phrases, words, and even syllables. He has the uncanny ability to know just where this beautiful technique will fit into a song. He doesn't use it in every song, but when he does, it is something beautiful to hear. In addition to his incredible range and vocal technique, he is also an excellent whistler. People have been trying for four decades to peg Slim's style. Although he has been categorized as a Country Western artist, he transcends all types of music. Slim is a balladeer with a velvet smooth voice, whose choice of material is distinctive and so, too, is its presentation. He knows what the public wants and knows how to breathe emotion and feelings into his songs whether they be recordings or live performances.
"I'm Castling My Lasso Towards the Sky" caught the attention of Lew Chudd, president of Imperial Records in Los Angeles. Imperial would later become United Artists, then Capitol/EMI records. Slim was soon signed to a contract with Imperial, an affiliation that would span 27 years producing millions of sales and numerous hit records.
Slim's first major chart buster was another song selected by Jerry an operetta number written by Bob Nolan, leader of the Sons of the Pioneers. The song was "Love Song of the Waterfall." Slim took a lot of criticism from the band when he announced he was going to record this song. Never being one to take the conventional way of doing things, he decided early in his career to sing what he thought the people would enjoy hearing. He refused the truck driving, drinking, cheating songs and opted instead for the romantic ballads, love songs, and western songs that had proven their worth through the test of time. Slim strongly believes in doing recordings that he "wouldn't be ashamed to sing in church.
"On August 20, 1949, Slim made his premiere national radio appearance on the Mutual Network's, "Smokey Mountain Hayride." He was hailed as "the new sensation of the folk music world." Within two weeks, he was the star attraction in a new show called "Slim Whitman and the Lightcrust Doughboys. "In May 1950 Slim Whitman became a member of the Louisiana Hayride. Hank Williams, who was leaving the Hayride at the time, advised Slim, "Just go out there and give 'em some yodelin'." The pay was eighteen dollars a week and left a lot to be desired, so Slim took a job as a postman in Shreveport, Louisiana, to feed his family, which by this time included his daughter Sharron Carlene.
It was while with the Louisiana Hayride that Slim and his steel guitar player, Hoot Rains, created what would become a major part of the Slim Whitman sound, the "singing guitar." The soaring notes of the steel guitar can be heard in many of Slim's early songs. It all started by accident in the classic, "Love Song of the Waterfall." One night while performing the song, Hoot overshot a note and sent it soaring skyward. Slim liked what he heard and worked this unusual new sound into his songs. They called this new technique "shooting arrows," and this new term would be used by steel guitarists around the world. They perfected the new sound and introduced the "singing guitar" on the Hayride to thunderous approval.
"Love Song of the Waterfall" was released in 1951 and shot up the charts to the number two position. That song was soon followed by the most popular Country Western record of the year and Slim's first million seller, "Indian Love Call." With the smashing success of this release, Slim asked for and was granted a leave of absence from the post office. Next came "Keep It a Secret" and "China Doll" followed by hit after hit. Another song that Slim wanted to record came from the same Sigmund Romberg musical that produced "Love Song of the Waterfall." This was a song that nobody, but Slim thought would succeed. In 1954 Slim recorded this second American million seller, "Rose Marie." With the singing steel guitar and smooth falsetto breaks, it quickly climbed to the top of the charts. A promoter managed to have it played to the English people via a radio station in Luxembourg. It sold an additional million copies there in record time and topped the charts in the number one position for 11 consecutive weeks from July 29th through October 7th, 1955. This record-breaking feat was held by Slim for an incredible 36 years! Slim has recorded five different renditions of this great song over the years. It also became a million seller in Australia along with "Indian Love Call" and "China Doll".
On July 23, 1955, Slim Whitman joined the Grand Ole Opry, but the massive excitement generated by "Rose Marie" and the hits that followed could not be ignored, and he was off on what was to be the first of many tours of the United Kingdom. Slim was the first American country artist to play the prestigious London Palladium in 1956. Tickets were sold out 7 weeks in advance of his two week appearance. It was "China Doll" that brought forth spontaneous standing ovations at every performance. Slim's only motion picture appearance was made at the Palladium in a movie titled "Disc Jockey Jamboree." They filmed Slim performing "Unchain Your Heart" and included it in the movie.
Slim's popularity in England earned him number one albums and singles time and time again. His "Red River Valley" album established Slim as Britain's number 1 country singer. The album secured the number one position on the Pop album chart over rock groups Abba and Queen, which held second and third. This was just one of many releases that would cross over to the pop charts. The British love affair with Slim spans nearly 5 decades. Slim was voted international male vocalist of the year in England in 1978, 1979, and 1980. His concert tours are always sold out weeks in advance. In 1965 Slim did an extensive tour of South Africa. While there he recorded a few albums that have long since become rare collector's items. One contains two gospel songs that Slim sings in the Afrikaans' language. He has toured Germany and made many visits to Australia and New Zealand. EMI records in Australia recently presented Slim with two double platinum records.
As Slim entered the 60's, Country Music in general had taken a back seat to rock 'n' roll. Just when it appeared that it was starting to slow down the Beatles hit the airwaves in a big way. The market was all wrapped up with the Beatles and the Beach Boys and didn't seem to have time for a yodeling country artist. So during the next two decades Slim concentrated on recording. He did Irish songs, love songs, yodeling songs, gospel, Christmas, and country songs. Slim continued to make the charts with gems like "Cattle Call," "Serenade," "Tumbling Tumble Weeds," "More Than Yesterday," and "Twelfth of Never" just to mention a few. During the 60's and 70's, thirty-six of Slim's best albums were released. In all he would record 42 albums while with Imperial/United Artists.
In 1979, Suffolk Marketing wisely decided to do a TV album featuring 20 of Slim's songs. Having seen the countless number of record pitches flooding the airways, Slim was not too impressed; so when they asked him to do a commercial, he did not exactly jump at the opportunity. Byron and Jerry talked him into it, and the rest is TV marketing history. The company pressed 5000 records and ran a limited number of commercials in a test market. "All My Best" sold 1,200,000 albums in the first few weeks, an achievement never done before by any recording artist or group! It eventually sold 4,000,000 copies making Slim Whitman the biggest selling record star in TV music history.
In 1980 Slim signed with Cleveland International (Epic) Records. It was during this period that he hit the charts again with a song that suited his style to a tea. The song "When" climbed the charts to the number 14 position. He also did "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine", "I Remember You", and a beautiful duet with Byron, "Four Walls." During his four years with Epic he would do five albums.
Slim Whitman's music has been an influence on three of the biggest rock 'n' roll artists of this century. Elvis Presley and Slim were good friends touring together in the mid-fifties. Elvis made his stage debut on the Slim Whitman Show in Memphis, Tennessee, and they toured together. At the time Slim was making $500 a show and Elvis $50. One time Slim made the mistake of loaning Elvis his coat. They all traveled together between small towns going from show to show by car. It was during one of these trips that Elvis traveled in his stage clothes and then decided his jacket was too wrinkled. Somehow he talked Slim out of his jacket. It was at this point in Elvis' career that he took a notion to throw something out to the audience. Slim said, "That's the last time I loaned him any of my clothes." Paul Mcartney of the Beatles was impressed by Slim's left-handed guitar style and vocal range. Michael Jackson is a fan and hopes to meet Slim in person one day. He is especially fond of Slim's rendition of "I Remember You".
Slim's music has touched many peoples' lives deeply. Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II, was tormented with memories of the war and had trouble sleeping. The only thing that would totally relax him and help him to sleep was listening to albums from his Slim Whitman collection. A personal appearance doesn't go by that someone doesn't tell Slim that they were near the end of their rope when they heard his beautiful voice on the TV commercial, ordered the record, and his music gave them the will to pull through. This is why Slim spends so much time with his fans. He can be found, often into the wee hours of the morning after his shows signing autographs and having pictures taken with his fans. He loves his fans and tries to meet as many as he can. He has even been known to take his guitar into the parking lot to sing to people who couldn't get into one of his performances.
Over the years Slim has received hundreds of awards and had numerous honors bestowed upon him, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has had a tulip and daffodil named after him in Holland. He has sold over 70,000,000 records around the world, and in his music room can be seen a most impressive array of wall-to-wall gold, platinum, and double-platinum records. He has recorded 537 individual songs, which can be found on 155 albums, CD's and hundreds of 78's, 45's and cassettes. His fan club, "The Slim Whitman International Appreciation Society" began in 1970 and is one of the largest and oldest in the world incorporating England, Holland, Australia, and the United States.
Slim continues to perform and record. The Slim and Byron Whitman Show travels with the Stardusters all across the country and throughout the world. Slim's duets with Bryon are showstoppers. Slim Whitman always has something going on somewhere in the world. His latest release is a six CD boxed set from Bear Family Records in Germany . The last three of Slim's Australian EMI albums all made the charts. Slim and son Byron's duet album "Magic Moments" hit the number 12 position. During the last couple of years Slim and his son Byron also have released gospel music that can be heard on the Christian radio stations.
Slim's music recently saved the world from Martian invaders in the Tim Burden sci-fi spoof "Mars Attacks." This was the forth movie that spotlighted Slim's music. The first being the 1957 black and white Rock 'n Roll classic "Disc Jockey Jamboree," which features Slim singing at the London Palladium. Next came the movie "Who'll Stop the Rain." The third one was "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
It has been said that Slim Whitman's music is like a mountain stream, sparkling in the sunlight, reliant through the changing seasons, always clear and friendly ---- a sanctuary to escape to and quietly reflect on things in life that really matter. Slim Whitman is truly an international living legend of Country Music.
Loren R. Knapp

 
At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Shropshire Lass said...

from England Friday 12th January 2007

Have just come across this site and found it very interesting. As as a Slim Whitman fan from my teen years in the 50s I am alway keen to hear comments about him. After 53 years I still find the sound of his wonderful, unique voice as appealing as the first time I heard 'Rose Marie' on Radio Luxembourg. Reading the first comments I was surprised that those who saw the famous TV commercial knew so little about him but when I scrolled to the end I was very pleased to see that Loren Knapp had given a very good biography of Slim. Loren was the Secretary of the Slim Whitman International Appreciation Society; a position he filled admirably. There is a wonderful book available called Mr.Songman (The Slim Whitman Story) by Kenneth L.Gibble.

Slim had a tremendous following in the U.K. (as well as Europe, Australia and New Zealand) and I was fortunate enough to go to many of his shows from the 50s through the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. I saw him in many cities, where the crowds brought the traffic to a halt on many occasions. (Whitmania before Beatlemania) Slim had a reputation for appreciating the support of his fans and it was a condition on his tours that the theatre did not close until all the people who queued to see him had had a chance to meet and talk with him. I have been in these lines for nearly two hours. How many modern artistes do this?

Not only is he blessed with a wonderful voice but he knows how to use it. Not for Slim the same type of song over and over. His list of songs must be the most varied of any singer; from Cattle call, Red River Valley, La Golondrina, Forty Shades of Green, The Old Lamplighter, Somewhere My Love to I Never See Maggie Alone. Not to mention all the wonderful Gospel tracks he has done.
Perhaps it is too late for this comment but I enjoyed visiting the site.

Thank you.
S.L.

 
At 8:04 AM, Anonymous DD Thornton said...

To this day I am still trying to find a video of that commerical. I bought the album - All My Best - and still have it. At the time I worked for a college radio station - WFDD 88.5 FM at Wake Forest University - and did a show called Deaconlight. One night we had a "Slim Whitman Sing-Alike Contest." So many people called to yodel we had to finally turn them away. If anyone ever finds a video of that Slim Whitman commercial that used to air all the time on TBS when it was still Channel 17 on cable, please contact me at Deaconlight.com! Thanks - DD

 
At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slim Whitman is one of the most lovable, easy listing artist of the 20th/21st century. His heyday was the 50s'/60s, but still has that marvelous voice, that had a resurgence in the 70s//80s. He sings Country, Pop, Christian, and Classical. For those who have never heard his voice, give him a listen. Although loved all over the world, he is an American icon.
deserving great respect for his contribution to the music & entertainment field. Much love: RSM - Hamilton, Canada

 
At 3:13 AM, Blogger heliosconstantine said...

http://mog.com/music/Slim_Whitman/Una_Paloma_Blanca:_The_Best_of_Slim_Whitman


You can listen to a free sample or download the whole song if you have Rhapsody.
I was also in junior high when this came out. Unknown to me this was one of my father's favorite singers. Very popular in the 1960's

 
At 3:49 AM, Blogger Maestroh said...

This commercial used to air about every ten seconds. Slim would come out dressed like a cross between Zorro and a crooked mortician and sing songs convincing you his nuts were in a vise grip.

I actually had heard of Slim. But if you think about it, OF COURSE, he sold more albums than anyone in TV history; his only competition came from Boxcar Willie and Zamfir and his pan flute (whatever that is).

I think folks were buying that album just to get that commercial off the air.

Ah for simplicity.

 
At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Rusli Zainal Sang Visioner said...

I saw Fantastic Jose Feliciano a few months ago in Newcastle!
"Come on baby, light my fire!"

 

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