His elegance gave '60s/'70s needed artistic lift....
Williams did sing some Songbook standards, most famously, "Moon River" (2:45), Henry Mancini's lovely tune for Breakfast at Tiffany's. (Mancini, for his part, thought that Audrey Hepburn, who sang the song in the film, sang it best; he wrote it, he said, expressly for her. With due respect to a fine composer who had a grand career, my vote goes to Williams.)
Many of the songs Williams made his own, as post-Golden Era songs, were not as artistically rich as the great songs--think "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Stardust" and "The Man That Got Away." In such songs the task of the artist is to bring out the great depth of beauty therein.
But with lesser songs the task of the artist is to infuse them with more artistic beauty than in the tune itself. Williams did just that with such tunes as "Happy Heart" (3:12), "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" (3:43),"The Look of Love" (2:59), "This Guy's in Love With You" (2:45), "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" (2:47), "Speak Softly Love" (3:11), "Feelings" (2:46). Sinatra did this with "My Way," a mediocre French song to which Paul Anka set English lyrics and pitched to The Voice.
Bottom Line. We are left today with thin gruel: at best, syrupy elevator muzak: at worst an horrific cacophony of unspeakable--and unlistenable--vulgarity, to the mind & ear of anyone who cherishes art music.
Andy Williams lifted our spirit with his elegant music-making.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics