Billy is probably best known for his 70s hits such as "Outa Space", "Nothing From Nothing", and "Will It Go Round In Circles", and for working with the Beatles on Let It Be but they're just part of a long legacy that included working with everyone from Mahalia Jackson to the Red Hot Chile Peppers, as well as writing Joe Cocker's smash "You Are So Beautiful".
Billy was a fairly regular visitor to Beatlefest, so I got to speak with him a couple of times and saw him perform there and with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band. It's fairly well-known that he had some serious drug problems at times, and this occasionally manifested itself as he would be late arriving for appearences and was known to sometimes give rather vacuous answers to questions. (I once asked him what the rehearsals for the Concert For Bangla Desh were like, and all he said was "They were great.") But he was always a terrific performer. Last spring he did a full one-hour set at Beatlefest, with his usual touring band plus sax ace Mark Rivera. He did the big hits mentioned above plus a few Beatles songs, and was absolutely tremendous. This could easily have been a headlining set in a BB Kings or House Of Blues for a 40 dollar ticket, so to have it included in the price of the Fest was a real treat.
Billy will be sorely missed.
"Let not your heart be troubled Let morning sobbing cease Learn how to help each one another And live in perfect peace"
Considering how many Wisconsin weddings I've been to where that breaks out...and considering the love the UW Band shows the song...I ain't surprised it's a cheesehead product. But don't worry, the Bloods in L.A. are still reppin' the chicken dance.