Folk Icon Roger Whittaker, Known for ‘Durham Town,’ Passes Away at 87

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France – September 19, 2023

Roger Whittaker, an iconic folk singer celebrated for his timeless melodies and remarkable whistling abilities, has passed away at the age of 87. With a career that blossomed in the intimate settings of folk clubs, Whittaker’s rise to fame reached its zenith with a duet alongside Des O’Conner in 1986, singing the beloved “Skye Boat Song.”

Folk Icon Roger Whittaker, Known for 'Durham Town,' Passes Away at 87

The somber news of the musician’s demise has been confirmed through his website, which now bears the year of his passing alongside his birth year, inviting his grieving fans to pay their respects.

Among the tributes, one fan poignantly noted, “The Last Farewell. A truly great troubadour who brought so much pleasure wherever he performed.”

Roger Whittaker’s musical repertoire includes timeless classics such as “The Last Farewell,” “New World in the Morning,” and the evergreen “Durham Town.” According to his official website, the gifted singer has sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Aside from his remarkable musical career, Roger Whittaker was a veteran, having served two years in the Kenya Regiment before relocating to the United Kingdom in 1959.

In his personal life, Roger Whittaker was married to Natalie in August 1964 and had five children together: Emily, Lauren, Jessica, Guy, and Alexander.

The family statement conveyed, “Roger was an iconic artist, a wonderful husband, and father. He touched so many hearts with his music throughout his life and will always live on in our memories.”

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1936 to English parents, Roger Whittaker’s journey led him to become one of the most celebrated folk music singers in the UK. His remarkable career saw him achieve great success in folk music clubs and later attain widespread fame when he collaborated with Des O’Connor for the timeless “Skye Boat Song” in 1986.

With hits including “Durham Town,” “New World In The Morning,” and his rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” Roger Whittaker left an indelible mark on the world of music.

His unique talents transcended borders, gaining him immense popularity in Germany, where he sang and recorded songs in German. His 1975 track “The Last Farewell” topped the charts in 11 countries, with even Elvis Presley recording a version of it.

In 1986, Whittaker penned his autobiography with the assistance of his wife Natalie. He performed at George Bush Snr’s golden wedding anniversary celebration, further solidifying his status as a musical legend.

After a heart attack in 2006, Roger Whittaker announced his final tour in Germany in 2007. He officially retired from singing in 2012, enjoying his retirement years with his wife in France.

Beyond music, Whittaker was an avid collector of antiques, possessing 18th-century French furniture, silver spoons, and insects preserved in amber. He occasionally graced television screens for interviews, once humorously remarking in 2014, “I still whistle very well,” despite his retirement.

Roger Whittaker’s enduring impact stands as evidence of music’s timeless influence and his skill in moving hearts throughout different eras.

For more music news and heartfelt tributes, stay tuned.

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