Nashville Songwriter Hall of Famer Don Robertson Dies
Grammy-nominated songwriter Don Robertson is dead at the age of 92. The Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee is known for penning over a dozen of Elvis Presley and Eddy Arnold’s songs, in addition to hits by Charley Pride, Hank Snow and Hank Locklin.
Robertson was a successful recording artist, as well. “The Happy Whistler” sold over a million records when he was signed to Capitol Records in the mid-50s. In addition to writing and recording the instrumental, he also arranged the track and was the song’s whistler.
Locklin’s “Please Help Me I’m Falling” and Arnold’s “I Really Don’t Want to Know” are two of his most well-known credits as a songwriter, but his pen reached deep into the Nashville culture of the ‘50s and ‘60s. “Hummingbird” by Les Paul and Mary Ford and “Born to Be With You” by the Chordettes are two other hits. In 1972 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
Robertson was born in China, but studied in the United States before dropping out of college to take a job at WGN in Chicago. Vintage Vinyl News reports that the songwriter spent time in Los Angeles early in his career. After recording “The Happy Whistler” in 1956, he took his innovative “slip-note” piano style on the road with art its like Presley and Waylon Jennings.
That style is also called “country piano,” and it’s the style made popular by Floyd Cramer. Perhaps the most unique piece of Don Robertson trivia is that for years he voiced Gomer the computerized bear at the Country Bear Jamboree at Disney World and other Disney parks worldwide.
Robertson leaves behind Irene, his wife of 53 years, and their two sons in addition to five grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
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