Billy Strange

William Everett "Billy" Strange ( born September 29, 1930 in Long Beach, California, † February 22, 2012 in Franklin, Tennessee) was an American guitarist, singer, songwriter and arranger in the country and pop music.


His father had at the local country station KFOX (Los Angeles ) his own show in which he appeared with his parents as a cowboy entertainer " George & Billie ". From 1944 he learned on a Gibson L-7 to play the guitar. On tour, he moved for the first time in 1946, where he accompanied The Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers and Tex Williams. From 1949 to 1959 he starred in the TV show KXLA Hometown Jamboree as a permanent guest musicians. Cliffie Stone producer gave him in January 1952 a recording contract with Capitol Records.

Session guitarist

Billy Strange began his career as a session guitarist in the recording session of Wesley "Speedy" West on 18 June 1951, accompanied the pedal steel guitar virtuoso until April 5, 1962 with a total of 15 studio sessions. On July 9, 1952 accompany Strange and West Moon Mullican in the studio recording of the tracks Jambalaya / A Mighty Pretty Waltz ( King # 1106), Pipeline Blues ( # 1137 ) and Ooglie Ooglie Ooglie (# 1164 ).

Strange can also be heard at Stuart Hamblens Composition and original recording of This Ole House on March 29, 1954 exception, he was standing in a New York studio, because he was almost always in the recording studios of Los Angeles as a guest. He regularly played rhythm guitar at Tennessee Ernie Ford, for example when I'm Hog- Tied Over You / False Hearted Girl (9 July 1952) and The Ballad of Davy Crockett (February 7, 1955) and from spring 1953 at a total of 21 titles. Ricky Nelson accompanied Strange from September 2, 1958 at least 32 titles.

Strange is considered the inventor of the precursor of fuzz guitar, which he played with Ann - Margret I Just Do not Understand (July 1961): one of the first examples of the distorted guitar sounds, by ( I Can not Get No ) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones became world famous. Even with Zip -A -Dee- Doo - Dah Bob B. Soxx & the of blue jeans, he played on August 24, 1962 fuzz guitar - at the request of producer Phil Spector without a microphone - and is on eleven other titles on the same LP to hear.

Here for the first time met the group of session musicians that made up the instrumental core of the Wall of Sound and often / acted Western Recording Studios as a companion volume in Putnam United and Wrecking Crew was named John Anderson ( acoustic guitar), Glen Campbell ( guitar), Jimmy Bond ( bass), Wallick Dean ( Fenderbass ), Carol Kaye ( Danelectro bass), Al DeLory and Nino tempo ( piano ), Steve Douglas ( tenor sax ), Jay Migliori (baritone saxophone), Hal Blaine (drums ) and Frank Capp ( percussion). Arranger Jack Nitzsche was, sound engineer Larry Levine.

In 1962, Strange met Elvis Presley, for whom he played for the first time on 30 August 1962 at Happy Ending, Take Me to the Fair and relax for the LP It Happened At the World's Fair guitar. His next invitation of Presley followed with a session for Viva Las Vegas on July 10, 1963 along with Glen Campbell, recorded for the most commercially successful eponymous Presley movie to which came the single on 28 April 1964 on the market. Overall, he played with eleven Presley titles.

In Surfin 'USA (LP released on March 27, 1963) looked at a Strange first recording session with the Beach Boys. This was followed by Sloop John B with a red 12-string Fender Stratocaster at the 12 July 1965 at Western Recorders with Jay Migliori, Steve Douglas and Jim Horn ( flute ), Frank Capp (bells), Carol Kaye ( Fender bass), Lyle Ritz ( bass), Al Casey and Jerry Cole ( guitar ) and Al DeLory ( piano ). Brian Wilson asked Strange to paper over the already recorded guitar part, which did not happen until 29 December 1965. As Strange traveled all without guitar, Wilson bought him an electric 12 -string guitar with amplifier, which he gave Strange along with U.S. $ 500 for the session. In the LP Pet Sounds Strange is heard at six titles; for this he was present between the July 12, 1965 and 11 February 1966.

Wanda Jackson accompanied Strange already at their first studio recordings on March 24, 1954 of which, published in May 1954 entitled You Can not Have My Love penetrated up to eighth on the country charts. On September 17, 1957, he was involved in the uptake to Fuijama mum, who was released in November 1957.

Strange played on the Everly Brothers from No One Can Make My Sunshine Smile (14 September 1962) and in total for nine Everly songs as well as the hits of the surf duo Jan & Dean (about Surf City, May 1963 ). He was involved in Nat King Cole on June 19, 1962 recorded hit Ramblin 'Rose and Bobby Freeman of Sly Stone a composed and produced C'mon and Swim (July 1964). As Doris Day was on 30 August 1963 the million seller Move Over Darling in the studio, Strange met again with the famous session musicians Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco (guitar), Jimmy Bond ( bass), Al DeLory ( piano) and Steve Douglas ( saxophone) on; produced by Terry Melcher and arranged by Jack Nitzsche. As of August 28, 1962, he appeared in three recording sessions of the Sons of Pioneers. For Frank Sinatra's Younger Than Springtime Strange conducted on 20 September 1967, the orchestra.

His biggest success was 1965 These Boots Are Made for Walkin ' by Nancy Sinatra, for which he also played guitar in December. On Arranger Strange the idea of ​​striking bass run is hit in the back four million copies sold. For Nancy Sinatra he arranged 1966-1967 a total of 13 titles, including the sequel to How Does That grave You Darlin ' and their duet with father Frank Sinatra Something Stupid. Strange arranged all Reprise Records albums and the soundtrack to the James Bond film You only live twice by Nancy Sinatra who gave him a Gibson 335.

Own recordings

On February 28, 1952 Strange was in Hollywood for the first time not as an accompaniment for other artists in a recording studio than with Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves his first single was created, which was launched in March 1952. She reached nor the country Top40 as the following, published in several record labels title ( Capitol Records until 1954, Era, Liberty or GNP Crescendo ). Many pictures were taken with the 12- string guitar.

In November 1963, he met in his studio recordings on the sought-after by many record companies a session musician Tommy Tedesco and Hal Blaine. He appeared in nearly all the recording studios of Los Angeles as a performer on ( Capitol Recording Studio, World Pacific, RCA Victor, United recorder or Gold Star Studios ). On July 24, 1964, he met in the studio Charles Chuck Berghofer, of the famous bass on later played in These Boots Are Made for Walkin '.

In GNP Crescendo Records on August 17, 1963, he took his debut album on 12 String Guitar with instrumental versions of big hits. In 1966, he played occasionally together with the surf quintet Billy Strange & Challengers, which was also housed in this label. Strange brought here to 1975 numerous other LPs and singles out, including instrumental versions of film scores as of the film series James Bond.

Composer, arranger and producer

His first big hit as a composer was the million seller Limbo rock in September 1962 Chubby Checker, he ( this under the pseudonym Jon Sheldon ) co-authored with Kal Mann and was able to place equal to number two on the charts. He wrote the excellent with a BMI Award song in drunken state within five minutes.

From 1968 he worked as a composer with lyricist Mac Davis, with whom he for Elvis Presley within two days the title A Little Less Conversation (recorded on March 7, 1968), Nothing Ville (21 June 1968), Memories ( BMI Award, June 27, 1968 ), Clean Up Your Own Backyard (23 August 1968) and Charro ( 15 October 1968 ) wrote. Big hits were not; only memories and Clean Up Your Own Backyard with each reached Rank 35 an average placement.

At BMI 50 songs are for Billy Strange registered copyright, with more ASCAP 58th

In the seventies, Billy Strange reduced his artistic activities considerably. He arranged that in June 1970, published by the Partridge Family Album The Partridge Family album on which the decoupled as a single top hit I Think I Love You was included. He emerged in 1971 with three titles of Delaney Bramlett with his guitar, arranged in 1972, the LP Nancy & Lee Again produced 1977 album It's Alright for Frank Sinatra Jr.. Jerry Lee Lewis was in May 1980 by Strange Album Killer Country produce.

In the movie Coal Miner's Daughter, which on 7 March 1980 was U.S. premiere, he played the role of Steel guitarist Speedy West, had accompanied the Strange in its early days in the recording studio.

Discography (selection, with release date)

Capitol Records:

  • Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves / Almanac Song ( F 2032), March 1952
  • Hell Train / I Love You 24 Hours A Day ( F 2112 ), May 1952
  • Crazy Quilt Rag / Kiss, Kiss, Kiss ( 2228 F ), September 1952
  • Just Bummin 'Around / New Carroll County Blues ( F 2357 ), February 1953
  • Red / Half A Photograph ( F 2500), June 1953
  • I'm Still A Prisoner / Let Me Be The One (F 2592 ), September 1953
  • Catsup And Honey / A Lonesome 's Lover 's Lie ( 2702 F ), January 1954
  • Am I Seeing Things / The Devil In Me (F 2797 ), April 1954
  • I Gotta Be Gittin 'Home / You're The Only Good Thing (That's Happened To Me) (F 2934 ), October 1954
  • Let Me In There, Baby / I'll Never Change My Mind About You ( 3021 F ), January 1955

Decca Records:

  • Gambin 'Hall / Shake The Hand Of A Stranger ( 9-29551 ), June 1955

Era Records:

  • My Buddy 's Girl / Say You're Mine, Porcupine ( 45-1014 ), April 1956
  • Big Man / It Was not Much Of A Town ( 45-1030 ), 1956

Liberty Records:

  • Sadness Done Come / Where Your Arms Used To Be (F- 55307 ), February 1961
  • Long Steel Road / Soft Chains Of Love (F- 55362 ), August 1961
  • Life Of Pretend / I'm Still Trying (F- 55414 ), January 1962

Buena Vista:

  • I'll Remember April / Mooncussers (F -406 ), 1962
  • Johnny Shiloh / Day By Day (F -417 ), 1963

GNP Crescendo:

  • Wildwood Flower / Wabash Cannonball, 1964
  • Charade / Where's Baby Gone, 1964
  • The James Bond Theme / 007 Theme, 1964
  • Man With The Golden Arm / Raunchy, 1965
  • Thunderball / Ninth Man Theme, 1965
  • Love Theme from The Sandpiper / These Boots Are Made For Walking, 1966
  • Milord / What If It Should Rain, 1966 (as Billy Strange & The Challengers )
  • Yours Is A World I Can not Live In / Go Ahead And Cry, 1967
  • A Few Dollars More / You Only Live Twice, 1967
  • High Chaparral / Gunsmoke, 1968

Tower Records:

  • De Sade - Main Title / Nocturne Permission, 1969

GNP Crescendo:

  • Star Trek / Theme From Jaws, 1975