Song of the Day: Roger Whittaker, “The Last Farewell”

Today our assignment is to share a love song with a boat in it, and this came immediately to mind. Here some things Wikipedia says about it:

"The Last Farewell" is a song from 1971 by British folk singer Roger Whittaker. Whittaker hosted a radio program in The United Kingdom in 1971, backed by an orchestra with arrangements by Zack Lawrence. Whittaker says "one of the ideas I had was to invite listeners to send their poems or lyrics to me and I would make songs out of them. We got a million replies, and I did one each week for 26 weeks."

Ron A. Webster, a silversmith from Birmingham, England, sent Whittaker his poem entitled "The Last Farewell", and this became one of the selections to appear on the radio program. It was recorded, and featured on Whittaker’s 1971 album New World in the Morning (A Special Kind of Man in the US and Canada). It is one of the fifty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.

According to Whittaker, the wife of a program director for a radio station in Atlanta, Georgia, was travelling in Canada, in 1975, and heard Whittaker’s four-year-old recording on the radio. After she returned to the United States, she asked her husband to play it on the station. After he played the song a few times, listeners called the station to discover more about the song and singer, and soon thereafter "The Last Farewell" was on the charts. The single reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 19 in June 1975, the only single of Whittaker’s career to appear on the Hot 100. It also went to number 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.

WGN-TV would use the opening flourish in its station ID’s, so anyone from Chicago will likely say "WGN-TV Chicago, Television 9."

16 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Roger Whittaker, “The Last Farewell”

  1. Hi John – this is great to hear this song again … while he had such a wonderful voice. Excellent choice – thank you – cheers Hilary


    1. I never knew there was an actual song that went with it, because the only times I ever heard it were during station breaks on WGN. It’s a great song, and he had a gorgeous voice.


  2. I love this song. Not just because it is lovely, but because my Dad loved this and would randomly start singing it to my mum (Dad can’t sing in tune for nuts, but it’s a special memory all the same, lol). For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly, more dearly than the spoken word can tell


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