TONI WILLIAMS (R.I.P.)

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First published in October 2016

Legendary singer and entertainer Toni Williams (MNZM) passed away in Christchurch Hospital on 1st October 2016, at the age of 77.  A celebration of Toni's life will be held at "The Piano" 156 Armagh Street, on Friday 7th October at 1.00 p.m.

TRIBUTES

Very sad to hear of Toni passing today, I knew Toni growing up in Auckland and we formed a rock and roll band called The Tremellos.  There was Toni, vocals and guitar, John Stowers, piano, Graham Page ,R/guitar, Nga Williams, bass, and myself on drums, this was back in the late 50s and Toni and his Tremellos were doing well.  He will be missed and remembered as a good guy and a great entertainer.  R.I.P. Toni Williams - Noel Peterson
I remember him well, we backed him at the Milford Marina hotel on Auckland's north shore, he was a real gentleman and a great entertainer.  Toni you will be sadly missed - Pat Harrison
I will always recall Toni as being, firstly, possessor of a sensational voice.  He had a great range, he seemed to be able to sing anything in any key, with an uncanny ability to sing in his head.  I recall he borrowed a chart from Colin and I (Napier Brothers), to sing "If" on bandstand.  It was in the wrong key so he just sang it an octave higher and smashed it.  Secondly he was such great company.  Always up for a gathering.  It was great catching up with Toni and Helen a couple of years back at Jupiters on the Goldie.  Colin Lock and Charlie (I know) Smith where there too.  Toni was special.  He will be missed.  Toni (Whisky lips) Williams RIP - Max Hyde
Toni was here in Australia for many years, a well respected entertainer on the Australian circuit, appearing on all the major TV shows, clubs etc. and well liked by all his fellow performers, many a laugh was had playing golf with him.  I know all his friends here are deeply saddened by his passing.  God bless you Toni and to Helen and family our thoughts are with you. - Colin Lock
Toni Williams.  A gentleman and a fine talent. - Neil Harrap
I am very saddened to hear the news of Toni's passing please pass on my deepest sympathy to his family.  I have worked with Toni many times over the years a very kind and gentle man who always sang up a storm.  May he rest in peace.  R.I.P. Toni Williams. - Dinah Lee
Another sad passing of a stalwart of our NZ music history.  I met Tony when he was a carpenter [pre The Tremolos I think] in the early sixties and then had the pleasure of backing him with his "floor-show" many times in the 60's and 70's when he became a top solo artist.  He was a relaxed and accomplished singer and entertainer with a beautiful voice.  I believe musicians that aren't old enough to remember this era can't really understand the high standard and the position people like Tony held in the entertainment world in NZ.  Sir Howard and Tony were the equivalent of a Lorde in today's industry.  They were giants.  Maybe not on the world stage but certainly in NZ.  I remember Tony for his relaxed and friendly style and the way he treated his backing musicians as equals unlike some today.  He was a lovely man and will be missed and remembered as one of our greats.  I can still see his wonderful smile and hear his laugh even after nearly 50 years.  RIP Tony you lovely man. - Bill Belton
From his wee mate Tommy Ferguson.  Beautiful man, wonderful singer.  Rest in peace my brother.
Many of the death notices you post are unfamiliar to me because of my long absence from NZ.  Toni however is an exception.  He was an inspiration in my youth and later I got to work with him in both NZ and Australia.  I was saddened to see a post on Facebook this morning from Gray Bartlett.  Toni was a giant of the industry even if in later years he wasn't exactly a household name in this country.  May he rest easy... - Ian Saxon
It is sad to read of the passing of another NZ Music Legend.  Toni was a joy to work with, to be with, and to tour NZ with.  My heartfelt sympathy to Toni's family, loved ones & wider whanau.  Say hello to all the mates who await us in that big band in heaven Toni.  Much love & the greatest respect to you doy. - Larry Morris
(click here to email me your tribute to Toni and I'll add it in - andy@nzmusos.co.nz)

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