The sad news broke yesterday that the legendary Jim Nabors, famous for his role as Gomer Pyle in The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. passed away at the age of 87. He entertained audiences for decades, not just as the lovable Gomer, but also with his magnificent singing voice. In fact, I’ll never forget the first time I heard him sing; it was in an episode of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and for whatever reason Gomer was going to sing at a club (I don’t remember why, in fact I don’t even remember the song) and to my unending surprise when he started singing this beautiful deep voice came out. It was so different from his “regular” voice that I was convinced he’d been dubbed over, and when I told my parents this they insisted that no, that was his real singing voice. I was entranced ever since.
Outside of television, Nabors might best be remembered as the one who serenaded racing fans with the song “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the start of the Indianapolis 500, a tradition he maintained for over 30 years (his final performance of the song came in 2014).
Rest in peace Jim Nabors, you are sorely missed.