About eight years ago I wrote this blog for the Guardian Music. (Yes, imagine that. A Bookwitch on music…)
‘He’s the greatest singer in the world, so why do so few people in Britain appreciate Roger Whittaker?
I still remember the New Year’s Eve party some years ago, where another guest inquired about my Christmas presents. She perked up when I mentioned a CD. “Which one?” “Roger Whittaker.” My friend was about to offer her condolences, when she suddenly pulled herself together and said, “Did you actually want it?” “Yes.” “Oh, well. I believe my parents-in-law like him.”
I have loved Roger’s voice since I was twelve. I used to feel that he’d get away with singing from the telephone directory, if necessary. Luckily he hasn’t had to resort to that.’
And here we leave the Guardian blog post, because it actually gets too confusing, with so many years in between. I just wanted to share him with you today, on his 80th birthday, when he is well and truly retired. No more concerts. Probably no more albums. There is a new one just out, but it’s 98% rehash of old hits; the German hits.
They are not the best, because all Roger has done has been ‘the best’ in my opinion, but the German stuff is good. Very good, as well as a bit different from the usual English language easy listening. Back to the Guardian post again:
‘The Germans really do know how to love their stars. Enormous, sold out venues, with people of all ages going mad, singing and dancing in the aisles. I took my teenagers along last year, and their reaction was simply that they needed a few more Roger Whittaker tracks for their iPods. Seriously uncool, but there’s nothing quite like Ein Bisschen Aroma, especially live.’
That was 2007. I went again with Daughter in 2009 and with Son in 2011, and then had to skip the very last farewell tour in 2013 because it clashed with something. On neither occasion did I have to twist any young arms to come with me.
When I was twelve I thought Roger was dreadfully old (he was 32). Since then he’s just got younger, relatively speaking. Retiring at 77 was certainly not too early, and I hope he has many more years of ‘living happily in France’ as his agent put it to me a few weeks ago, with plenty of time to not fall over his dog (Roger’s been accident-prone over the years) or worry his wife too much (he had to go through with the last tour despite ill health, as he was too old to insure…).
Us fans still have the hundreds of albums Roger recorded over fifty years, and let me tell you, he’s not boring or purely parents-in-law material!
Right, that’s me done for today. As you were. Might be back to books tomorrow if you are lucky. I only have one favourite singer, after all.
Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd
Photos Helen Giles and Ian Giles
(And another thing; as I looked at the video link, I discovered a Facebook friend standing practically with his chin resting on the stage. It’s the RW universe.)