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Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr. (born January 20, 1924), known professionally as Slim Whitman, is an Americanmarker country music singer and songwriter.

His 1955 hit single "Rose Marie" held the record for the longest time at number 1 on the UK charts until Bryan Adams broke the record in 1992 after 37 years. In the U.S., his "Indian Love Call" (1952), and "Secret Love" (1953) reached number 2 on the Billboard country chart. Whitman had a string of minor hits from the mid 1960s into the 1970s, and became known to a new generation of fans through TV marketing in the 1980s.

Whitman lives today in Middleburg, Floridamarker.


Whitman was born in Tampa, Floridamarker and sometimes shortened his name to O.D. Growing up, he liked the country music of Jimmie Rodgers on the radio but did not embark on a musical career until the end of World War II after he had served in the South Pacific with the United States Navy.

Whitman, a self-taught left-handed guitarist, is right-handed, but lost almost all of the second finger on his left hand in an accident. He worked at a Tampa shipyard while developing a musical career, eventually performing with a band known as the Variety Rhythm Boys. Whitman's first big break came when talent manager Colonel Tom Parker heard him singing on the radio and offered to represent him. Signed with RCA Records, he was billed as "the cowboy singer, Slim Whitman," and released his first single in 1948. He toured and sang at a variety of venues including on the radio show, Louisiana Hayride.

He was not able to make a living from music and kept a part-time job. That changed in the early 1950s after he recorded a version of the Bob Nolan hit "Love Song of the Waterfall" that made it into the country music top 10. His next single, "Indian Love Call," was even more successful, reaching number 2.

A yodeler, Whitman avoided the "down on yer luck-buried in booze" songs, preferring instead to sing laid-back romantic melodies about simple life and love. Critics dubbed his style "countrypolitan," owing to its fusion of country music and a more sophisticated crooner vocal style.

In 1955, in the United Kingdommarker, he had a No.1 hit on the pop music charts with "Rose Marie". With 11 weeks at the top of the UK charts, the song set a record that lasted for 36 years. Soon after, Whitman was invited to join the Grand Ole Oprymarker; and in 1957, along with other musical stars, he appeared in the film musical, Jamboree. Despite this exposure, he has never achieved the level of stardom in the United States that he did in Britain, where he had a number of other hits during the 1950s and 60s. Throughout the early 1970s, he continued to record and was a guest on Wolfman Jack's television show, The Midnight Special. At the time, Whitman's recording efforts were yielding only minor hits and in 1974, he stopped making new records.

In 1979, Whitman produced a TV commercial to support Suffolk Marketing's release of a greatest hits compilation, titled All My Best, which went on to be the best-selling TV-marketed record in music history, with almost 1.5 million units sold. Just For You (also under the Suffolk umbrella), followed in 1980, with a commercial that claimed Whitman "was number one in England longer than Elvis and The Beatles". The Best followed in 1982, with Whitman concluding his TV marketing with Best Loved Favorites in 1989, and 20 Precious Memories in 1991. During this time he toured Europe and Australia with moderate success.

In late January 2008, a false rumor of his death spread through the Internet, believed to have been started by an erroneous report posted on the Web site of the Nashville Tennessean newspaper.[118029] Country singer George Hamilton IV even dedicated and sang a hymn in Whitman's honor at a concert appearance.

In February 2009, his wife of 67 years, Geraldine (Jerry) Crist died. She was the daughter of the Rev. A.D. Crist. Whitman has a daughter, Sharon; and a son Byron Whitman, who is also a performer and has toured with Whitman.


For his contribution to the recording industry, Slim Whitman has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker at 1709 Vine Street. Whitman was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museummarker’s Walkway of Stars in 1968.

Pop singer Michael Jackson cited Whitman as one of his ten favorite vocalists. Beatle George Harrison cites Whitman as an early influence: "The first person I ever saw playing a guitar was Slim Whitman, either a photo of him in a magazine or live on television. Guitars were definitely coming in."

The 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind features Whitman's rendition of "Love Song of the Waterfall" playing in the toll booths as the cars speed through chasing three alien spaceships. The 1996 film Mars Attacks! features Whitman's rendition of "Indian Love Call" as a weapon against alien invaders. In 2003, Rob Zombie used Whitman's song "I Remember You" in his directorial debut House of 1000 Corpses. In the 2007 film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Dewey mentions Whitman in response to his wife who asks him to name one musician who ever made any money.



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US
1954 America's Favorite Folk Artist Imperial
1957 Slim Whitman Sings
1959 My Best to You
Country Favorites
1960 I'll Walk with God
Songs of the Old Waterwheel
1961 I'll Never Stop Loving You
Just Call Me Lonesome
Cool Water
Annie Laurie
1962 Forever
Heart Songs / Love Song
I'm a Lonely Wanderer
1963 Yodeling
Irish Songs
1964 All Time Favorites
Country Songs, City Hits
1965 Love Song of the Waterfall 20
1966 More Than Yesterday

(More Country Songs & City Hits)
God's Hand in Mine
Travelin' Man
A Time for Love
1967 15th Anniversary Album 25
Country Memories 42
1968 In Love the Whitman Way 16
Happy Street 34
1969 Slim
Christmas Album
1970 Tomorrow Never Comes United Artists
1971 Guess Who 31
It's a Sin to Tell a Lie 23
1972 The Best of Slim Whitman
1973 I'll See You When
25th Anniversary Concert
1974 Happy Anniversary
1976 Everything Leads Back to You 42
1977 Red River Valley
Home On the Range
1980 Songs I Love to Sing 25 175 Cleveland Int'l.
Christmas with Slim Whitman 47 184
1981 Mr. Songman
I'll Be Home for Christmas
1984 Angeline


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1952 "Love Song of the Waterfall" 10 America's Favorite Folk Artist
"Bandera Waltz"
"In a Hundred Years or More" single only
"Indian Love Call" 2 9 Favorites
"Amateur in Love"
"Keep It a Secret" 3
"My Heart Is Broken in Three" 10 America's Favorite Folk Artist
1953 "All That I'm Asking Is Sympathy" Slim Whitman Sings
"Song of the Old Waterwheel" America's Favorite Folk Artist
"Danny Boy" singles only
"North Wind" 8
"Lord Help Me Be as Thou"
1954 "Secret Love" 2 Favorites
"Rose Marie" 4
"Beautiful Dreamer"
"Singing Hills" 4 single only
1955 "Cattle Call" 11 Favorites
"Roll On Silvery Moon" Slim Whitman Sings
"I'll Never Stop Loving You" singles only
"Song of the Wild"
1956 "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" Slim Whitman Sings
"Whiffenpoof Song" singles only
"Smoke Signals"
1957 "Careless Love"
"I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen" 93 Slim Whitman Sings
"Unchain My Heart" Country Favorites
1958 "Careless Hands" My Best to You
"Candy Kisses"
"Put Your Trust in Me"
"At the End of Nowhere"
1959 "I Never See Maggie Alone"
"Tree in the Meadow"
"Fool Such as I"
"Roll River Roll" Cool Water
1960 "I'll Walk with God" I'll Walk with God
"Wind" Cool Water
"Ramona" Just Call Me Lonesome
1961 "Just Call Me Lonesome"
"The Bells That Broke My Heart" 30
"Once in a Lifetime" Cool Water
"Old Spinning Wheel" Annie Laurie
"It Sure Looks Lonesome Outside"
1962 "Annie Laurie"
"Backward Turn Backward" I'm a Lonely Wanderer
"Blues Stay Away from Me" Heart Songs / Love Song
"Wayward Wind" Sings
1963 "Love Letters in the Sand"
"So Long Mary" All Time Favorites
"Broken Down Merry-Go-Round"
"My Wild Irish Rose" Irish Songs
"Maria Lena" single only
1964 "Tell Me Pretty Words" 48 All Time Favorites
"I'll Hold You in My Heart" Country Songs, City Hits
"Virginia" Love Song of the Waterfall
1965 "Reminiscing" Reminiscing
"More Than Yesterday" 8 More Than Yesterday

(More Country Songs & City Hits)
1966 "The Twelfth of Never" 17
"I Remember You" 49 134 Travelin' Man
"One Dream" 54 A Time for Love
1967 "What's This World A-Comin' To" 56
"I'm a Fool" 61 15th Anniversary Album
"The Keeper of the Key" 65 Country Memories
1968 "Rainbows Are Back in Style" 17 In Love the Whitman Way
"Happy Street" 22 Happy Street
"Livin' On Lovin' (And Lovin' Livin' with You)" 43
1969 "My Happiness" 43
"Irresistible" 61 Slim
1970 "Tomorrow Never Comes" 27 Tomorrow Never Comes
"Shutters and Boards" 26
1971 "Guess Who" 7 121 Guess Who
"Something Beautiful (To Remember)" 6 It's a Sin to Tell a Lie
"It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" 21
1972 "Loveliest Night of the Year" 56
"Little Drops of Silver" single only
"(It's No) Sin" 51 The Best of Slim Whitman
1973 "Hold Me" 73 I'll See You When
"Where the Lilacs Grow" 88
1974 "It's All in the Game" 82 Happy Anniversary
"Happy Anniversary"
1975 "Foolish Question" I'll See You When
"Everything Leads Back to You" Everything Leads Back to You
"Mexicali Rose"
1977 "Red River Valley" Red River Valley
1980 "When" 15 Songs I Love to Sing
"That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine" 69
1981 "I Remember You" (re-recording) 44
"Can't Help Falling in Love with You" 54 Mr. Songman
"If I Had My Life to Live Over"
1982 "My Melody of Love"
1984 "Cry Baby Heart" Angeline



  • The Midnight Special TV January 23, 1981
  • The Midnight Special TV August 19, 1972
  • Jamboree 1957
  • Stir Crazy 1980 sung as vocal


  2. Marsh, Dave and James Bernard, The New Book of Rock Lists (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 362.
  3. Harrison, George, The Beatles Anthology (New York: Chronicle Books, 2000), 28.

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