Roger Whittaker Biography

Full NameRoger Henry Brough Whittaker
Date of Birth22 March 1936
Date of Passing13 September 2023
Place of BirthNairobi, Kenya
NationalityKenyan (born to English parents)
Musical StyleFolk music, popular songs
Notable Hits– “Wind Beneath My Wings” (1982)
– “Durham Town (The Leavin’)” (1969)
– “I Don’t Believe in If Anymore” (1970)
– “New World in the Morning” (1970)
– “The Last Farewell” (1975)
Billboard Hot 100 Hits“The Last Farewell” (Top 20)
Billboard Adult Contemporary Hits“The Last Farewell” (No. 1)
Career Peak LocationGermany (from the 1970s onwards)
Education– Primary: Not specified
– High School: Prince of Wales School (Nairobi)
– College: University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Career PathInitially pursued a career in medicine, but later
became a teacher in the civil service education
Family BackgroundParents: Edward and Vi Whittaker (English)
Father’s Occupation: Grocery shop owner
Father’s Interests: Played the violin
Early Musical InfluenceGrandfather sang in various clubs
Musical Skills– Baritone singing voice
– Whistling ability
– Guitar skills

Roger Whittaker Recording and performing career

1959Moved to Britain for teaching career
1959-1962Studied zoology, biochemistry, and marine biology at University College of North Wales; earned a Bachelor of Science degree
1962Released the first professional single “The Charge of the Light Brigade” with Fontana Records
1962Performed in Portrush, Northern Ireland
1966Switched to EMI’s Columbia label and billed as Roger Whittaker
1969“Durham Town (The Leavin’)” became his first UK Top 20 hit
1970“New World in the Morning” became a Top 20 hit in Billboard magazine’s Easy Listening chart
1970Wrote the theme song “No Blade of Grass” for a film adaptation
1972Recorded “Where the Angels Tread” (Änglamarken) to the music of Evert Taube
1974Performed at the Finnish Eurovision qualifications
1975“The Last Farewell” became his biggest hit, selling over 11 million copies worldwide
1979Wrote “Call My Name” for the UK Eurovision selection
1983Established himself in country music with “I Love You Because”
1970s-1980sHad success in Germany with German language songs
2006Announced that a 2007 Germany tour would be his last, limiting future performances to occasional concerts
2008Became more fluent in German, appeared on Danish television
2013Retired from touring
2014Mentioned writing 18 new songs for an album and still whistling well

Roger Whittaker Personal life and Death

Life EventsDetails
Early Life and Education– Studied medicine and trained as a teacher in Kenya. – Completed National Service in the Kenya Regiment. – Described his youth as “stupid, selfish, and angry” and credited the army for making him a better person.
Family and Personal Tragedy (1989)– Parents subjected to a brutal attack in Kenya. – Mother tortured for eight hours, father murdered. – Mother moved back to England after the incident. – Roger Whittaker expressed a commitment to living without hate.
Marriage and Family– Married Natalie O’Brien in August 1964. – Natalie became Whittaker’s manager in 1989. – They had five children: two sons (Guy and Alexander) and three daughters (Emily, Lauren, Jessica). – They had 11 grandchildren.
Autobiography– Published autobiography titled “So Far, So Good” in 1986, co-written with his wife.
Retirement and Passing– Retired to France in 2012. – Roger Whittaker passed away on 13 September 2023, at the age of 87.

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