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Roger Williams

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Roger Williams (October 1, 1924 – October 8, 2011), born Louis Jacob Weertz, was an American popular music pianist. As of 2004, he had released 116 albums.

He was born to a Lutheran minister, the Rev. Frederick J. Weertz (1891–1980) and a music teacher, Dorothea Bang Weertz (1895–1985), in Omaha, Nebraska. The family moved to Des Moines, Iowa, before his first birthday. He first played the piano at age three. In high school he became interested in boxing, mainly at his father’s insistence, and only returned to music after breaking his nose several times and sustaining several other injuries.

He majored in piano at Drake University in Des Moines, but claimed he was expelled for playing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” in the practice room. Weertz entered the United States Navy and served in World War II. While still in the Navy, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Idaho State College (now Idaho State University) in 1950. Afterwards, Weertz re-enrolled at Drake, where he earned his master’s degree. He then moved to New York City to attend Juilliard, where he studied jazz piano under Lennie Tristano and Teddy Wilson.

Williams won a talent contest on Dennis James’ television program, Chance of a Lifetime. He was heard by David Kapp, founder of Kapp Records. Kapp was so impressed that he signed the pianist, changing his name to “Roger Williams” after the founder of Rhode Island.

In 1955 Williams recorded “Autumn Leaves”, the only piano instrumental to reach #1 on Billboard’s popular music chart. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. It was the fourth #1 song of the “rock era,” which unofficially began with the ascension of “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets into the top spot.

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  • alt_und_unweise

    oh good old times ... digital sounds never sound like vinyl oder selfmade speakers.....

    10 Sep 9:10am Reply
  • andreanoustyano

    Вообщем у Вас все Класс.

    7 Apr 5:23am Reply
  • rosmaritbrum

    ♥♥

    21 Apr 2013 Reply
  • rjohnson1971

    When I was a boy in the seventies, my grandparents gave me one of Roger Williams albums. I bought another of his albums several years later at a flea market. I also bought over twenty of his albums on Ebay. I wrote a poem about him and posted it online. If anybody wants to read it, they can read it at Boloji.com. The title is 'The late Roger Williams'. Mr. Williams was a great pianist and will be sorely missed.

    22 Oct 2012 Reply
  • ofarids

    R.I.P

    21 Oct 2011 Reply
  • ThePatriotsPwn

    R.I.P.

    8 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Margotcp

    adoro ficar pintando minhas telas escutando estas músicas...me inspiram......

    25 Apr 2011 Reply
  • modijhon

    wonderful

    7 Apr 2010 Reply
  • zentub

    I too have been a fan since I heard him as a child in the 60's. Lucky enough to own 2copies of his hi fi album "Best of Roger Williams Mr Piano", one in mint condition.

    25 Nov 2008 Reply
  • sabattus04

    Roger Williams has been a favorite of mine since the 60's. I used to buy his albums and owned them all. I've since lost them but I continue to buy or download all his music. You've heard of comfort food, well, Roger Williams is comfort music.

    8 Oct 2008 Reply

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