Hal Willis, Hal & Ginger
Hal Willis, Hal & Ginger

RIP: Canadian Country Star Hal Willis, Wrote Billboard No. 1 Hit

Canadian country music legend Hal Willis passed away September 4th, in hospital in Nashville, TN. He was 82.

Willis was born Leonald Gauthier, July 15, 1933 in Rouyn, Quebec. After partnering on stage with his wife Ginger Willis (born Dorothy Jean Heppel), the Canadian duo moved to Nashville in the early '60s where they hit international stardom with the Hal Willis recording of "The Lumberjack", a Top 5 hit in 1964 on the Billboard Country Hit Charts. As a songwriting team Hal & Ginger Willis had their songs recorded by legendary Nashville stars Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Bobby Helms, The Wilburn Brothers and Flatt & Scruggs who scored a Top 20 hit with the Hal & Ginger Willis composition, "Just Ain't".

"The Lumberjack" novelty song became a million-selling hit worldwide for Hal Willis, and was subsequently covered by Canadian artists Tommy Hunter, Family Brown, Ray St. Germain, The Stoltz Brothers, Vic Virgili, Chef Adams, Brent Williams, Par Three and Gilles Godard.

Ginger, passed away on October 26th, 2003 at the age of 78 after a protracted battle with cancer. According to BMI, Hal had 72 songs registered with the PRO.




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