Roger Whittaker

Greatest Hits

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Roger Whittaker's overall career is under-represented by a casual glance at his list of hit singles -- only seven in total, all of which were included on the Now and Then: Greatest Hits 1964-2004 compilation (although his hits actually came to an end in 1986, and his only forays into the album charts have been with similar compilations since then). However, Whittaker's hits do stand out, and one was always under the impression that he achieved more -- but seven hits it was, and only three of those reached the Top Ten. He became famous for telling stories and painting portraits with his music, and there was no better example than his biggest success, "The Last Farewell," which surprisingly was placed near the end of this album -- and was also a re-recording, with the power and emotion of the original wiped away. Also included was his first European success, "Mexican Whistler," which first alerted the public to his skills at whistling as well as singing, a skill used to great effect on his final hit, "The Skye Boat Song," a duet with Des O'Connor from Christmas 1986. Unfortunately, for all the good work he put in with his own songs, the album was spoiled by some cover versions that he perhaps should never have attempted, the worst being "If I Were a Rich Man" from the musical Fiddler on the Roof, cut down to less than three minutes and devoid of the most poignant parts of the song and also any emotional involvement. There have been many compilations of his work up to this point, but Now and Then added nothing to previous best-ofs that can be picked up at budget prices.

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