Country and western music artist Slim Whitman, best known for his yodeling skills and high octave falsetto, passed away on Wednesday, June 19 at the ripe old age of 90. As confirmed by his son-in-law, the legendary folk singer died from heart failure at the Orange Park Medical Center in Florida. He is survived by his two children, Sharon Beagle and Byron Whitman.
Whitman leaves behind a legacy that has spawned the careers of other brilliant artists, that of encouraging a young Elvis Presley in his professional debut and influencing The Beatles' Paul McCartney and George Harrison to play the guitar. He is even cited by the late King of Pop Michael Jackson as one of his ten favorite vocalists.
Within the 65-year span of his music career, Whitman had recorded the same number of albums which altogether have sold more than 120 million copies. His 1955 hit song "Rose Marie" held the record for the longest standing No. 1 single in the U.K. until Bryan Adams broke it in 1991 with "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You".
With the hit song tucked under his belt, Whitman became the first country singer to ever play the London Palladium when he performed there the year after in 1956. But prior to the string of successes that he enjoyed after "Rose Marie", Whitman's breakthrough hit came in 1952 when he covered Bob Nolan's classic "Love Song of the Waterfall".