File 2012-023, Reel 886, 1 of 6 - Untitled : [sound recordings by Roger Whittaker]

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Untitled : [sound recordings by Roger Whittaker]

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  • Sound recording

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2012-023, Reel 886, 1 of 6

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  • [19-] (Creation)
    Creator
    Whittaker, Roger

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1 audio reel : 15 ips, stereo ; 1/4 in.

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Roger Whittaker was born in Nairobi Kenya on March 22, 1936 to parents who originally hailed from Staffordshire, England. While in school in Kenya, Whittaker was involved in choir and also gained exposure to the percussion and rhythms of East African music which he has said, "[has] played a great part in everything I have ever written and sung." In 1959, he arrived in Britain to study zoology, biochemistry, and marine biology at Bangor University. During this time, Whittaker continued his involvement with music by singing and entertaining in local clubs and writing his own songs. After having been approached by a major music publisher to record his first single for his university’s Rag Week Show, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, Whittaker then recorded his second single, “Steel Men”, which received air play and entered the British charts while he was sitting his exams. By this time, he consulted with his professors to leave his studies to focus on music. Whittaker made radio and television appearances throughout the 1960s when his singles, “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Mexican Whistler”, had started gaining attention in Europe by the late 1960s. Whittaker eventually gained success in the U.S. with the single “The Last Farewell” in 1975, which gradually become a worldwide hit selling over 11,000,000 copies. In the 1980s, he launched a major international songwriting competition, ‘Children Helping Children’, from the United Nations in New York through UNESCO. Children from all over the world were asked to submit lyrics and poems on the subject of promoting peace and understanding, the best of which Whittaker would put to music and record. All proceeds raised by sales were donated to UNESCO’s Education for Handicapped Children programme. During this time, Whittaker was also involved in making a film about his native Kenya. The result, ‘Roger Whittaker in Kenya’, was screened in Britain by BBC Television in 1983, followed by a worldwide transmission. By the 1990s, Whittaker continued to record and tour extensively and, by the early 2000s, he announced plans to retire. However, having moved to Ireland to live near the River Shannon, Whittaker was inspired to write again and eventually began recording and touring again.

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File is reel one of six from this recording session, containing seven sound recordings.

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See 2012-023, Reel 887 for reel six of six from this recording session.

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