This Top 10 Don Williams Songs list presents the best Don Williams songs including “I Believe in You” “Tulsa Time” and many more. As of May 27, 1939, Donald Ray Williams was a born and raised Texan that witnessed his parents divorce, his mother remarried twice, and in 1963, learn of his older brother’s accidental death at the age of twenty-nine years old. If all this wasn’t more than enough material for the legendary singer-songwriter to work with as one of the entertainment industry’s most beloved stars, he had no trouble covering the gaps with brilliant songwriters such as Wayland Holyfield. For Williams, after he graduated from high school in 1958, he signed up with the United States Army Security Agency for two years before earning himself an honorable discharge. From there, he worked various odd jobs as a means to support himself and his family. In 1960, he married his first and only wife, Joy Janene Bucher, who birthed him two children.
After the army and settling with his family, Don Williams formed the group, Pozo-Seco Singers, alongside Susan Taylor and Lofton Cline. Together, they recorded several records for the label, Columbia Records, until the group disbanded in 1969. After the Pozo-Seco Singers went their separate ways, Williams took a brief break from the music industry, performing odd jobs, before returning to the recording studio. Starting late 1971, Williams signed on as a songwriter for Jack Clement of Jack Music Inc. In 1972, he signed with JMI Records as a solo artist, then in 1974 with ABC/Dot Records. 1974 also marked the year Don Williams found his name and music better recognized as “We Should Be Together” peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. When the height of the country music boom influenced the UK in 1976, Williams also experienced chart success with the nation’s official singles charts.
Due to the deep baritone Don Williams was known for, as well as his stand-tall stature, and his gentle nature, he was nicknamed “Gentle Giant” by his peers. Out of the sixty-two singles he released during the impressive run of his career twenty-one of them became number one hits while the remaining nineteen were, at the very least, peaked within the top ten on at least one official Billboard chart. There are also twenty-five albums to his credit, as well as thirteen compilation albums, two live albums, and seven music videos. In addition to becoming a fan favorite on the music charts, Don Williams appeared a pair of Burt Reynolds movies, playing minor roles as himself. In 1975, he appeared as a member of the Dixie Dancekings for the movie, W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, then in 1980’s Smokey and the Bandit II.
From 1973 until 1991, Don Williams made a big impression on the music industry, releasing hit after hit, most of them inspiring other artists to cover these singles with their versions. Top names like Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Alan Jackson, Juice Newton, and Charley Pride are just a few names from a long roster that seem to be in agreement his musical material was top-notched. In 2006, Don Williams started his global farewell tour that ended on November 21, 2006 in Memphis, Tennessee to a sold out crowd at its Cannon Center for Performing Arts.
In 2010, Williams came out of retirement to tour again before releasing the album, And So It Goes. It was that same year the Country Music Association inducted Don Williams into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Less than two years later, he released his final studio album, Reflections. Come March 2016, Don Williams retired for good, thanking his fans, family, and friends for their everlasting love and support. On September 8, 2017, Don Williams passed away due to complications that arose from his emphysema condition. Although gone, this gentle giant is by no means forgotten.
Top 10 Don Williams Songs
#10 – Rake and Ramblin’ Man
Long before country music became a brotherly style movement, Don Williams brought forth hits like “Rake and Ramblin’ Man” as an unapologetic expression of how great it is to be a man. Between finding love, fatherhood, and a strong sense of self-respect as a man, Williams delivered a brilliant dose of humor into an otherwise empathetic country music masterpiece. On the US billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “Rake and Ramblin’ Man peaked at number three after it was released during the summer of 1978. On the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, the single peaked even higher at number two.
#9 – Lay Down Beside Me
In 1976, Kenny Rogers recorded “Lay Down Beside Me” that didn’t become a hit until Don Williams turned it into a number three hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1979, as well as a number two hit on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. This beautiful ballad remains as one of the all-time favorites among the fans who found the gentle giant’s soothing vocals and harmonic guitar among the best that has ever graced the music industry.
#8 – Til the Rivers All Run Dry
“Til the Rivers All Run Dry” was a gentle proclamation of love and timelessness as Don Williams expressed his love would last for as long as the sun still shines in the sky. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it became yet another number one hit for the artist. As the opening track for the 1976 album, Harmony, “Til the Rivers All Run Dry” served how abroad the influence of Williams could reach. This song has been covered many times over, even by artists from the UK that turned this country hit into contemporary favorites by the likes of Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane.
#7 – Lord I Hope This Day Is Good
In 1981, “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good” served as an average man’s humble morning prayer that the day remains as trouble free as possible. At the same time, shared his concern if God has forgotten him as he struggled with his all-too-human self in a world that tends to drown the people into pools of sin that seem inescapable. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, “Lord I Hope This Day Is Good” peaked at number one.
#6 – You’re My Best Friend
1975’s “You’re My Best Friend” was also the name of the album recorded by Don Williams. It became his second number one hit the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. It also marked the beginning of a long partnership with its songwriter, Wayland Holyfield. “You’re My Best Friend” served as more than just a number one single for Williams as it also gave him a taste of fame overseas, namely in the UK as it peaked at number thirty-five there. This romantic ode about marriage was a big favorite among couples at the timing it was released and still remains a favorite today.
#5 – If Hollywood Don’t Need You
“If Hollywood Don’t Need You” became a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart after it was released as a single in 1982. From the album, Listen to the Radio, the lyrical tale by Don Williams addressed his heartache over a woman who chose a life in Tinseltown over a life with him. Discerning fans of Don Williams somewhat observed the parallel of this single eerily matching his time in Hollywood when he played himself in the 1980 sequel movie, Smokey and the Bandit II, which may have added to this song’s popularity.
#4 – Some Broken Hearts Never Mend
In 1977, Don Williams crooned about lost love in the gently dramatic “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend.” On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it peaked at number one. On the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, it climbed as high as number six. It also became an international hit as it peaked as high as number one in Switzerland, number two in Austria, and number four in the Netherlands.
#3 – Good Ole Boys Like Me
“Good Ole Boys Like Me” remains as one of the greatest songs of all time. Don Williams’ reflection in 1980 upon the earliest examples of living in the American South was beautifully presented as fond memories of his father, combined with memories of listening to legendary deejays and musical heros that have graced the radio stations nationwide. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart “Good Ole Boys Like Me” peaked at number two and it was a number three hit on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart.
#2 – Tulsa Time
“Tulsa Time” came from Don Williams’ 1978 album, Expression. This song was mixed with grit, funk, and rock into the ideal recipe for a major hit, sung by a narrator that’s down on his luck and can’t seem to make it in the big city. The baritone push by Williams illustrated how versatile and talent the man truly was. “Tulsa Time” deservedly became a number one hit single on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the RPM Canadian Country Tracks Chart. “Tulsa Time” was also recognized by the Academy Country Music Awards as Song of the Year and recognized Don Williams with the Male Vocalist Award by the Country Music Awards.
#1 – I Believe in You
“I Believe in You” did more than just top the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart in 1980. It also peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, at number twenty with Australia’s Kent Music Report, at number four on the New Zealand Singles Chart, and at number twenty-three on the Dutch Top 40. “I Believe in You” also made an impression in Belgium, peaking as high as number twenty-one on its VRT Top 30. His take on the world’s troubles, especially in America, is soothed with love, belief, and gratitude. Some fans saw “I Believe in You” as Christian fundamentalism while others saw a man opting to not let troubled times overtake the choice to believe in thy loved ones as much as believing in thyself.
Photo: DJParker39 at English Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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