Moon River and Me by Andy Williams

moonReviewed by Allen Hott

Quite a journey and quite a story! Andy Williams tells his life story from the beginning in Wall Lake up to present day in Branson. And this memoir is one of the best that I have read.

Explaining how he and his brothers got their start mainly because of his father who believed “you have to practice harder because you are not as good as the others out there”. This concept has continued to be the driving force behind the tremendous successes that Andy Williams has enjoyed.

His dad, being musically inclined, was overjoyed when he heard the harmony that his four sons achieved when they sang in the church choir. He then felt and truly believed that they could become much greater and that their voices could lift them out of little Wall Lake, Iowa and out into the musical world. After the boys had pretty much sung at every possible site in the little town, he sold their home and moved them to Des Moines.

Their early conquests were appearances on radio in Des Moines where they overlapped a sportscaster named Ronald Reagan! They also began doing various variety shows, fairs, and any other venue that their Dad could get them a spot on.
Chicago was next and shortly thereafter to Cincinnati to a spot on WLW which at that time was heard all over the United States and parts of South America.

However that wasn’t quite enough for the head of the Williams Brothers clan so off he carried them to California with visions of more venues and even the movies. They appeared in a half dozen movies but were not really doing that well when they met up with a lady named Kay Thompson. She put together an act with the brothers that was meant for nightclubs and that was the true beginning of their success.

The book covers many day-to-day happenings in which Andy was involved after the Williams Brothers broke up and Andy began performing as a solo act.
A performance before a doo-wop crowd that was mostly black was well received when one of the other performers coaching Andy before his act showed him how to use his hands, feet, and even shake his head to be more up to date “and with it”. Stamping feet and shaking his head had not been in his repertoire up to that point.

His really big break came about on Steve Allen’s Tonight show and Andy was on for several seasons along with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme’. After that recording contracts and more television appearances catapulted Andy to the top.

He discusses his family life after marrying Claudine Longet. He is very much into not blaming anyone but himself for some of the things that happened between them and their eventual divorce.

As he writes of his adventure now in Branson he appears to be happy with the world and his place in it. All in all the book is very well written and gives you the feeling that you are sitting next to Andy Williams as he recounts his life story.

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