One of the biggest-selling musicians in the history of country and western
Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr (Slim Whitman), guitarist, singer and songwriter: born Tampa, Florida 20 January 1924; married 1941 Geraldine Crisp (died 2009; one son, one daughter); died Orange Park, Florida 19 June 2013.
From The Independent 19th June 2013
Slim Whitman was one of the biggest-selling country and western performers. He became famous with such classic 1950s singles as “Rose Marie”, “Indian Love Call” and “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” and then 20 years later recorded a succession of best-selling TV-marketed albums. In November 1991 he joined Bryan Adams on stage at Wembley Arena and sang “Rose Marie”, which had topped the chart for a record 11 consecutive weeks. He then presented Adams with a plaque for breaking his achievement with “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”.
Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr became Slim Whitman in homage to the country star Montana Slim (Wilf Carter). He was born into a family of five children in Tampa, Florida in 1924. His family was musical and he became intrigued by Jimmie Rodgers’ records and found that he could emulate his yodel. Because of a stammer he was unhappy at school and left as soon as he could.
He sang at the Church of the Brethren and there in 1938 he met the new minister’s daughter, Geraldine Crisp. They married in 1941; he regarded his marriage as crucial to his success as she gave him standards he might otherwise have lacked. Despite being a country singer (and however improbable this may sound), he never sang about bar-rooms and adultery. He told me, “If I’m given new songs to look at and one of them is about drinking, I’ll ask for the next. I don’t care how good it is. I know that songs about the boozer sell a lot of records, but I won’t sing them. Many of the songs are about a guy in a bar-room with another man’s wife and I won’t touch those either. David Houston may have sold a million with ‘Almost Persuaded’ but I would never have recorded it.”