Born in Cordele, Georgia in 1918, Joe Williams rose to national prominence as the singer for Count Basie's Orchestra in 1954. He remained with Basie for several years, and scored his biggest hit record with "Everyday I Have the Blues." Another Basie hit was "All Right, OK, You Win."
After leaving the Basie band, Williams continued to have a successful career working with his own jazz combo. He and Basie remained on good terms and he would regularly appear with the band.
Bill Cosby cast Williams as his father-in-law "Grandpa Al" Hanks in a recurring role on the 1980s sit-com The Cosby Show. Williams enjoyed a successful career and worked regularly until his death at age 80 in Las Vegas, Nevada.