NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I have a certain admiration for people who love what they do for a living, and are able to sustain that love over a long period of time. Face it, people change. We all have things that we used to do that we don’t do now. Likes and dislikes come and go.
Some of the most miserable people I know are still doing things now that they used to like doing… sometimes they don’t even know it. Many radio stations have old, crusty hosts that used to like being on-air. When I go to the racetrack you can see career-gamblers who used to like spending a day betting on the horses. These are people who don’t know anything else. They’re trapped. And, sadly, once the joy is taken out of something it very seldom comes back.
There are many entertainers who’ve come to hate performing. They sing the same songs over and over again. A life ‘on-the-road’ is more of a chore than a joy. Fans are an annoyance.
Andy Williams, who died last night at 84, began performing with his bothers when he was 9. His work ethic was legendary. It had to be. He was a crooner in the 1950 and 1960, when rock n roll swept away his type of music. We incorrectly lump him in with Frank Sinatra and the big band era that ended 20 years earlier. And he was smart too… Christmas song, Christmas shows, Christmas specials were the meat-and-potatoes of his career. A smooth-voiced traditional American singer is just what the American public wanted at a time of year when we long for tradition, family, and the good old days.
Williams loved performing. He financed his own theater in Branson at a time when country acts dominated the town. He needed to do two shows a night to make the mortgage. He returned to performing last year, even after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer. “I’ll keep doing this until I can’t make it onto the stage anymore.”
It isn’t work when you love it.