British singer-songwriter Roger Whittaker has died at age 87. He passed away in a hospital in southern France surrounded by his wife Natalie and their five children.
Before taking up a career in music, Whittaker studied medicine and trained as a teacher in Kenya, where he was born to English parents. He also completed his National Service in the Kenya Regiment, a unit of the British Army. Whittaker said that he was “stupid, selfish and angry” in his youth and that the army “made a man” out of him.
In 1959 he moved to Wales to continue his studies. At that time he treated his musical career purely as a part-time occupation, entertaining small groups of friends and playing the occasional folk club date. However, by 1961, having played many cabaret slots and recording an independently-funded single for charity, he secured a contract with Fontana Records. When his second single, “Steel Man”, reached the lower regions of the UK charts, he decided to abandon a promising career in science in favour of one in entertainment.
Roger Whittaker went on to sell an estimated 50 million records globally and will be remembered for hits like “New World In The Morning,” “Durham Town,” “I Don’t Believe in if Anymore” and “The Last Farewell.”