Find tour dates and live music events for all your favorite bands and artists in your city! Get concert tickets, news and more!

  • Analytics
  • Tour Dates

British Folk Singer Roger Whittaker Dead At 87

44 0

SOUTHERN FRANCE (CelebrityAccess) – Folk singer and expert whistler, Roger Whittaker, famous for his 1969 hit single “Durham Town,” passed away Wednesday (September 13) in the South of France. His official website features a photo of Whittaker with 1936 – 2023 across the bottom of it. A cause of death has not been revealed. He was 87.
Roger Henry Brough Whittaker was born March 22, 1936, in Nairobi in what was then British Kenya, to English parents – Edward and Vi Whittaker, who owned and operated a grocery store, and his mother was a teacher. While in high school, he was an active choir member and was at the top of his class.
Whittaker, who could speak several languages, was drafted into national service three weeks after graduation, where he spent two years in uniform with the Kenya Regiment. In 1956, he was demobilized and returned to his education at the University of Cape Town in South Africa with dreams of being a teacher or a doctor. However, after 18 months, Whittaker left the university and joined the civil service education department as an apprentice. He needed a place to continue his education and left for Britain in 1959 to attend the University of Bangor in Wales where he spent three years studying zoology, biochemistry and marine biology, earning a Bachelor of Science degree.
However, throughout all this time, Whittaker had entertained in local clubs and had started to sing and write his songs. According to his website, he became involved with the University Rag Week and was approached to compose some songs to sing in the Rag Show. With that, he made a demo that found its way to a publisher and then found himself in the studio recording his first single, “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
Whittaker had his first mainstream success when asked to appear on the Northern Ireland TV show, This and That. His career gained momentum from there and within his 30-year career, his hits include “Durham Town,” “The Last Farewell”, “New World in the Morning,” and his version of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” released in 1982. According to his website, he has sold nearly 50 million records since those days at the University of Bangor.
An extremely proficient whistler, his extraordinary composition “Mexican Whistler” later reached No. 1 in three different European countries.
Aside from music, Whittaker married his wife Natalie in 1964 after a whirlwind three-month courtship. Whittaker last performed on stage in 2003 and officially retired alongside his beloved wife in 2012.
Whittaker is survived by his wife of 60 years, Natalie, and five children, Emily, Lauren, Jessica, Guy and Alexander.

Join CelebrityAccess Now