Bill Nelson (musician)

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Bill Nelson

Massey Hall, Toronto, 22 October 1977
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Nelson
Born(1948-12-18) 18 December 1948 (age 63)
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England
GenresExperimental rock, Art rock, New Wave, Post-punk, Ambient experimental music
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, artist
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, percussion
Years active1970–present
LabelsEMI, Emigma, CBS, Cocteau Records, Twentythree Records, Populuxe Records, Sonoluxe
Associated actsBe-Bop Deluxe, Red Noise, Fiat Lux, Channel Light Vessel
Websitehttp://www.billnelson.com/
Notable instruments
Gibson ES-345[1]
Fender Stratocaster[2]
Yamaha SG 2000[3]
 
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Bill Nelson

Massey Hall, Toronto, 22 October 1977
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Nelson
Born(1948-12-18) 18 December 1948 (age 63)
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England
GenresExperimental rock, Art rock, New Wave, Post-punk, Ambient experimental music
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, artist
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, percussion
Years active1970–present
LabelsEMI, Emigma, CBS, Cocteau Records, Twentythree Records, Populuxe Records, Sonoluxe
Associated actsBe-Bop Deluxe, Red Noise, Fiat Lux, Channel Light Vessel
Websitehttp://www.billnelson.com/
Notable instruments
Gibson ES-345[1]
Fender Stratocaster[2]
Yamaha SG 2000[3]

Bill Nelson (born William Nelson, 18 December 1948, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England)[4] is an English guitarist, songwriter, producer, painter and experimental musician. He currently lives in Selby.

Contents

Career

Born to Walter Nelson, a musician, he also had a brother who was involved in music: Ian (1956–2006) collaborated on the Be-Bop Deluxe song "Ships In The Night" and formed the band Fiat Lux.

1970s

Nelson was educated at the Wakefield College of Art, where he developed an interest in the work of poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. At this time, he was also developing as a musician, drawing upon Duane Eddy as a primary guitar influence.

His first record was a brief contribution on the album A-Austr: Musics from Holyground, with Brian Calvert, Chris Coombs, Ted Hepworth, Mike Levon and Brian Wilson. Levon recorded and produced the album which appeared on Levon's own Holyground Records label in 1970. After that, Nelson appeared in a much more substantial role with Lightyears Away on Astral Navigations released in 1971. On one track, "Yesterday", written by Coombs, Levon recorded Nelson's lead guitars in an acid rock style, supporting Coombs' stylophone riff. This track also gave Nelson his first airplay by John Peel[4] on his national BBC Radio 1 programme in the United Kingdom. Nelson's Holyground recordings were released in February 2001 as Electrotype.

Nelson's debut solo album Northern Dream drew further attention from Peel which eventually led to Nelson's band Be-Bop Deluxe signing to EMI and releasing Axe Victim In 1976 Be-Bop Deluxe released the album 'Sunburst Finish'.

After the breakup of Be-Bop Deluxe, Nelson created Red Noise (releasing the Sound - On - Sound album), but eventually settled into a career as a solo musician, recording albums in the early electropop vein such as Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam and The Love That Whirls. Many of these albums were released with bonus tracks, including records featuring experimental, ambient instrumentals. For a period between the late 1970s and early 1980s, Nelson self-produced on his Cocteau label a plethora of releases, consisting of solo synthesizer and keyboard instrumental pieces.[4] Many were later released on the short-lived Enigma label.

1980s

In mid 1980 Nelson released the single "Do You Dream In Colour?", which after airplay on BBC Radio 1 reached #52 in the UK Singles Chart.[5]

He was hired by British synthpop artist Gary Numan to produce his 1983 album Warriors, with Numan claiming that Bill Nelson was his "favourite guitar player, bar none." However, the two musicians failed to maintain a working relationship, and ultimately Nelson chose not to be credited for his production role on the album. Nelson also contributed towards several tracks on David Sylvian's Gone to Earth (1986).

Nelson had bad luck with major record labels in the 1980s. A deal with CBS Records went sour, leaving one album, Getting the Holy Ghost Across (U.S. title: On a Blue Wing). Nelson and his manager Mark Rye had formed the Cocteau Records label in 1981, and for many years this label handled the majority of Nelson's output, which often included multiple albums per year. Among the more ambitious Cocteau releases were the four-record boxed set of experimental electronic music, Trial by Intimacy (The Book of Splendours), and the later ambient collection, Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights, which contained music informed by Nelson's Gnostic beliefs. In the late 1980s, Nelson signed to Enigma Records, who went out of business, although they had just re-released his entire Cocteau catalogue.

As the 1980s ended, Nelson suffered a series of personal setbacks, including a divorce, tax problems, and an acrimonious dispute with his manager over his back catalogue rights. In the case of one album, the unreleased Simplex, Nelson discovered his manager had been selling copies via mail order without Nelson's authorisation or knowledge; Nelson claims he never received any royalties from these sales.[6] Esoteric Recordings released Simplex on CD in the UK on July 2012.

1990s

In the 1990s, he released the 4 CD box set Demonstrations of Affection and worked on some guitar-based instrumental projects such as the albums Crimsworth and Practically Wired, or How I Became... Guitarboy! Further multiple disc offerings included My Secret Studio and Noise Candy.

By 1996, Nelson's troubles with his former manager were resolved in a lawsuit which enabled Nelson to recover much of his back catalogue.[citation needed] A fully authorised version of the Simplex album was released in 2001.

In the late 1990s, Nelson created the Populuxe label, with a distribution arrangement with Robert Fripp's Discipline Global Mobile, but his relationship with them had stagnated and Nelson's last release on that label was Atom Shop in 1998. Subsequent releases have been on other imprints such as Toneswoon and Voiceprint as well as direct mail-order releases.

2000s

2002 saw the release of Three White Roses and a Budd (with Fila Brazillia and Harold Budd) on Twentythree Records.

By 2006, Universal Music (UK) had re-issued three Mercury albums: Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam, The Love that Whirls and Chimera had all been remastered and released with bonus tracks. The lone CBS album Getting the Holy Ghost Across / On a Blue Wing had also been re-issued with all the original tracks and extras on Nelson's Sonoluxe imprint.

At his annual 'Nelsonica' event in West Yorkshire, Nelson stages rare public performances. He has recently released the first part of an autobiography.

Discography

Albums

  • Northern Dream (1971)
  • Axe Victim (1974) (Be-Bop Deluxe)
  • Futurama (1975) [Be-Bop Deluxe]
  • Sunburst Finish (1976) [Be-Bop Deluxe]
  • Modern Music (1976) [Be-Bop Deluxe]
  • Live! In The Air Age (1977) [Be-Bop Deluxe]
  • Drastic Plastic (1978) [Be-Bop Deluxe]
  • The Best Of And The Rest Of (1978) [Be-Bop Deluxe]
  • Sound - On - Sound (1979) (Bill Nelson's Red Noise)
  • Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam (1981) Mercury
  • Sounding The Ritual Echo (Atmospheres for Dreaming) (1981)
  • Das Kabinet (The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari) (1981)
  • The Love That Whirls (Diary Of A Thinking Heart) (1982)
  • La Belle Et La Bête (1982)
  • Chimera (1983)
  • Savage Gestures For Charm's Sake (1983)
  • Vistamix (1984)
  • The Two-Fold Aspect of Everything (1984)
  • Trial by Intimacy (The Book of Splendours) - The Summer Of God's Piano (1985)
  • Trial by Intimacy (The Book of Splendours) - Chamber Of Dreams (Music from the Invisibility Exhibition) (1985)
  • Trial by Intimacy (The Book of Splendours) - Pavilions Of The Heart And Soul (1985)
  • Trial by Intimacy (The Book of Splendours) - A Catalogue Of Obsessions (1985)
  • Chameleon (The Music Of Bill Nelson) (1985)
  • Getting The Holy Ghost Across (1986)
  • Living For The Spangled Moment (1986)
  • On A Blue Wing (1986) US version of Getting The Holy Ghost Across - different cover, slightly different track listing
  • Iconography (1986) [Orchestra Arcana]
  • Map Of Dreams (1987)
  • Chance Encounters In The Garden Of Lights - The Angel At The Western Window (1987)
  • Chance Encounters In The Garden Of Lights - The Book Of Inward Conversation (1987)
  • Optimism (1988) [Orchestra Arcana]
  • Demonstrations Of Affection - Chimes And Rings (1989)
  • Demonstrations Of Affection - Nudity (1989) 
  • Demonstrations Of Affection - Heartbreakland (1989)
  • Demonstrations Of Affection - Details (1989)
  • Simplex (1990)
  • Altar Pieces (1990)
  • Luminous (1991)
  • Blue Moons & Laughing Guitars (1992)
  • Automatic (1994) [Channel Light Vessel]
  • Radioland (1994) [Be-Bop Deluxe] BBC Radio 1 live in concert 1976
  • Crimsworth (Flowers, Stones, Fountains And Flames) (1995)
  • Practically Wired or how I became…Guitarboy! (1995)
  • My Secret Studio Volume I - Buddha Head (1995)
  • My Secret Studio Volume I - Electricity Made Us Angels (1995)
  • My Secret Studio Volume I - Deep Dream Decoder (1995)
  • My Secret Studio Volume I - Juke Box For Jet Boy (1995)
  • After The Satellite Sings (1996)
  • Excellent Spirits (1996) [Channel Light Vessel]
  • Confessions Of A Hyperdreamer: My Secret Studio Volume II - Weird Critters (1997)
  • Confessions Of A Hyperdreamer: My Secret Studio Volume II - Magnificent Dream People (1997)
  • Atom Shop (1998)
  • Tramcar To Tomorrow (1998) [Be-Bop Deluxe] John Peel BBC Radio 1 Sessions 1974-8
  • Whistling While The World Turns (2000)
  • Electrotype - The Holyground Recordings 1968-1972 (2001)
  • Tremulous Antenna (2002) [Be-Bop Deluxe] Radioland remastered
  • Noise Candy - Old Man Future Blows The Blues (2002)
  • Noise Candy - Stargazing With Ranger Bill (2002)
  • Noise Candy - Sunflower Dairy Product (2002)
  • Noise Candy - King Frankenstein (2002)
  • Noise Candy - Console (2002)
  • Noise Candy - Playtime (2002)
  • Caliban And The Chrome Harmonium (2002)
  • Astral Motel (2002) Nelsonica convention CD
  • Whimsy (2003)
  • Whimsy Two (A Garage Full Of Clouds) (2003)
  • The Romance Of Sustain Volume One: Painting With Guitars (2003)
  • Luxury Lodge (2003) Nelsonica convention CD
  • Plaything (2003)
  • Dreamland To Starboard (2004)
  • Custom Deluxe (2004)
  • Satellite Songs (2004)
  • Wah-Wah Galaxy (2004) Nelsonica convention CD
  • Rosewood: Ornaments And Graces For Acoustic Guitar Volume One (2005)
  • Rosewood: Ornaments And Graces For Acoustic Guitar Volume Two (2005)
  • Orpheus In Ultraland (2005) Nelsonica convention CD
  • The Alchemical Adventures Of Sailor Bill (2005) a coastal song suite by [Bill Nelson and his Lighthouse Signal Mechanism Orchestra]
  • Neptune's Galaxy (2006)
  • Return To Jazz Of Lights (2006)
  • Arcadian Salon (2006) Nelsonica convention CD
  • Gleaming Without Lights (2006)
  • Secret Club For Members Only (2007) Nelsonica convention CD
  • And We Fell Into A Dream (2007)
  • Silvertone Fountains (2008)
  • Illuminated At Dusk (2008)
  • Mazda Kaleidoscope (2008)
  • Clocks & Dials (2008) Nelsonica convention double CD
  • Golden Melodies Of Tomorrow (2008)
  • Fancy Planets (2009)
  • Here Comes Mr Mercury (2009)
  • The Dream Transmission Pavilion (2009) Nelsonica convention CD
  • Theatre Of Falling Leaves (2009)
  • Non-Stop Mystery Action (2009)
  • Picture Post (2010)
  • Modern Moods For Mighty Atoms (2010)
  • Captain Future's Psychotronic Circus (2010) Nelsonica convention CD
  • Fables And Dreamsongs (2010)
  • Fantasmatron (2011)
  • Hip Pocket JukeBox (2011) The Art School Ascended On Vapours Of Roses art exhibition/concert CD
  • Signals From Realms Of Light (2011)
  • Model Village (2011)
  • Songs Of The Blossom Tree Optimists (2012)
  • The Last Of The Neon Cynics (2012) Enhanced CD includes PDF File of graphic novel by Matt Howarth
  • Joy Through Amplification (2012)

Compilation albums

References

  1. ^ Billnelson.com
  2. ^ "Drastic Plastic" booklet
  3. ^ Vintageguitar.com
  4. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 683–685. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 389. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ link Nelson vs. Rye

External links