Perhaps no voice is better known to Americans than that of Andy Williams, who passed away on Tuesday. Williams, of course, was thesinger who most famously covered Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s iconic “Moon River,” featured in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. His story was all-American, too: He started off in a children’s choir at church, then formed a quartet with his brothers. From there, he worked his way up.
He wasn’t really a political figure: He was a stated Republican, but he sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at RFK’s funeral (he’d been present at the assassination). He allowed Rush Limbaugh to use his recording of “Born Free.” He opposed the Nixon attempt to throw John Lennon out of the country — more than anything, he liked free speech.
Williams’s legacy will be his music, but it will also be his warm persona: alienating to none, welcoming to all. And we’ll always remember him, most of all, for “Moon River.”