Written by Ron A. Webster, a silversmith from Birmingham.
Webster sent Whittaker his poem entitled ‘The Last Farewell’. Whittaker hosted a radio programme in the UK in 1971, backed by a full orchestra with arrangements by Zack Lawrence. Whittaker said that "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.”
The Last Farewell was submitted to the radio show by Ron A Webster, a silversmith from Birmingham, who was on his way home from work on the bus when the idea for the poem came to him. It was a miserable rainy evening and Webster found himself wishing that he were somewhere warm and sunny. As he gazed through the misted, rain spattered windows on the top deck of the bus, he began to form the lyrics.
The song's narrator tells of his leaving of warm fragrant islands in a ship bound for England, his home land of rainy skies and gales and how much he knows he will miss the land of endless sunshine.
https://www.newportcityradio.org/music/ ... -whittaker
First recorded by Roger Whittaker.
First released by Roger Whittaker, on his LP New World In The Morning, 1971, UK, Columbia SCX6456.
From Roger Whittaker’s website:
THE LAST FAREWELL
One of Whittaker's best-loved songs in America is "The Last Farewell." And he enjoys telling the story of how the tune came to be a favorite. Originally recorded in 1971, the lyrics to the song were written by a Birmingham, England, silversmith who entered a contest in which the best lyric or poem sent to Whittaker would be put to music and recorded. Although "The Last Farewell" was not the winner, the song was included on an album, along with the winner "Why" "Suddenly, five years, later, I got the call from Atlanta, Georgia," Whittaker relates. "The wife of a program director had requested the song be played on WSB radio there. She had heard the song while traveling to Canada.
"The Last Farewell" went on to become the most requested song on WSB's playlist and within weeks, it became a massive hit all over the world, reaching the coveted Number One slot in 11 different countries. In the USA, "The Last Farewell" became a Top 20 hit in 1975 and finally selling over 11,000,000 copies worldwide. The song broke down the barriers to success in America for Whittaker and opened up a vast new country for his music to explore.
Germany, particularly, has been a highly successful market for Roger over the years. It all started back in 1976 when he undertook his first major concert tour of the country, following the success of "The Last Farewell". Record success, however, has established Whittaker's name in the country and hoisted him to superstardom. His sings and records in the German language. Indeed, in 1985, he was acclaimed as the country's most successful recording artist, singing in the German language, a distinction no other major international record star could claim. Roger admits to being unable to speak a word of German and records his songs phonetically.