Roger Williams, 'Pianist To The Presidents,' Dead

The song that made pianist Roger Williams famous was "Autumn Leaves." It was No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart for four weeks in 1955, the only piano instrumental in history to reach that spot. Host Audie Cornish has a remembrance of Williams, who died on Saturday.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

AUDIE CORNISH, host: Pianist Roger Williams has died. This is the song that first made him famous, "Autumn Leaves." It was number one on the singles Billboard for four weeks in 1955, the only piano instrumental in history to reach that spot.


CORNISH: Roger Williams was called the Pianist to the Presidents. He played for nine of them. Well known for his renditions of songs like "Born Free" and "The Impossible Dream," Williams recorded over a hundred albums in his life. He was 87 when he died yesterday.


CORNISH: This is NPR's WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Audie Cornish.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.