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Billy Swan (born Billy Lance Swan, May 12, 1942, Cape Girardeaumarker, Missourimarker) is an Americanmarker songwriter and singer, best known for his 1974 single, "I Can Help".

Career

Swan's role in the music industry was, originally, largely invisible. He learned drums, piano, and guitar and also began writing songs. "Lover Please," a song he wrote at the age of 16, was recorded by a local group he played with called Mirt Mirly & the Rhythm Stoppers. Later, when Swan's friends traveled to Memphismarker, Tennesseemarker to record with Elvis Presley's bassist Bill Black, Black recorded the tune himself. Swan's first big break was in 1962 when Clyde McPhatter recorded "Lover Please", that quickly became a Top Ten hit. Swan stayed in Memphis to write for Black's combo and also worked as a guard at Gracelandmarker for a time.

Moving to Nashvillemarker allowed Swan to write hit country songs for numerous artists, including Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, and Mel Tillis. In 1969, Swan first took on the role of record producer, publishing Tony Joe White's Top Ten hit "Polk Salad Annie". Swan played bass guitar for Kris Kristofferson, served as a sideman for Kinky Friedman and Billy Joe Shaver, and signed a recording contract with Monument Records.

Swan's first album included the popular song "I Can Help", a rockabilly number that topped both the U.S.marker Billboard Hot 100 and Country charts in 1974. The track reached 6 in the UK Singles Chart. "I Can Help" was certified gold on December 2, 1974, for sales of one million units by the Recording Industry Association of America. Swan recorded the song in two takes (without overdubs) with an electric organ that Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge had bought for him as a wedding present. The accompanying album of the same name also topped the Country list.

In 1979, Billy Swan travelled to Havanamarker, Cubamarker, to participate in the historic Havana Jam festival that took place between 2-4 March, alongside Stephen Stills, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Weather Report, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnegan, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge and Billy Joel, plus an array of Cuban artists such as Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Tata Güines and Orquesta Aragón. His performance is captured on Ernesto Juan Castellanos's documentary Havana Jam '79.

However, other albums with Monument, A&M, and Epic did not have nearly the success of his first. Swan continued to play in Kristofferson's touring band and worked with T-Bone Burnett frequently during the 1980s. In 1986 he walked into a Californian recording studio (Bench Records) as part of a band called Black Tie, and along with Randy Meisner, Jimmy Griffin, David Kemper, David Miner and David Mansfield recorded an album called When the Night Falls.

Swan continued to tour with Kristofferson, and has recorded two albums with Meisner. Swan recorded a new album at the original Sun Records studios, Like Elvis Used to Do, in 2000. , Swan was still a back-up and session musician. In 2006 Swan was inducted into the The Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame. He was already an inductee in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Swan was married to his late wife Marlu for 30 years. They had two daughters, recording artists Planet Swan and Sierra Swan.

Discography

Albums

Year Album Chart Positions
US Country US
1975 I Can Help 1 21
Rock 'n' Roll Moon 29
1976 Billy Swan 28

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions
US Country US US AC CAN Country CAN CAN AC UK AUS
1974 "I Can Help" 1 1 6 1 2 4 6 1
1975 "I'm Her Fool" 53 93
"Don't Be Cruel" 42
"Everything's the Same (Ain't Nothing Changed)" 17 91 29 62
1976 "Just Want to Taste Your Wine" (with The Jordanaires) 45
"You're the One" 75
"Shake, Rattle and Roll" 95
1978 "Hello! Remember Me" 30 46
"No Way Around (It's Love)" 97
1981 "Do I Have to Draw a Picture" 18 29
"I'm into Lovin' You" 18 28
"Stuck Right in the Middle of Your Love" 19 35
1982 "With Their Kind of Money and Our Kind of Love" 32
"Your Picture Still Loves Me (And I Still Love You)" 56
1983 "Rainbows and Butterflies" 39
"Yes" 67
1986 "You Must Be Lookin' for Me" 45
1987 "I'm Gonna Get You" 63


See also



References

  1. RIAA.com


External links




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