Tribute and Variety
Shows are super successful. The buyer gets more bang for the buck, spending the same amount on
4 to 6 names.
The audience gets to hear a variety of artists. Win Win!
Billy Swan has been through about every area of the music
business, gaining experience, paying his dues and inching his way
up with every step. He's written songs, swept up recording
studios, played with 3-piece combos in local beer joints, produced
albums and toured with some top performers.
Swan has established himself as a recording artist with far
reaching international appeal. His initial hit single "I
Can Help" sold over five-million copies worldwide.
Swan's debut Monument album was also entitled "I Can
Help" and received outstanding critical acclaim
internationally along with the single.
"I try to keep my options open for all kinds of music,"
says Billy. "I just get a groove going and don't worry about
any particular style."
On his way up, Billy has been exposed to some very good music.
When Bob Dylan was recording his classic "Blonde On
Blond" album in Nashville, Billy was working in the same
recording studio, emptying the ashtrays. He made his debut as a
record producer with Tony Joe White, cutting "Polk
Salad Annie", and he was an original member of Kris
Billy Swan was born in Cape Girardeau, a small southeast Missouri
town on the banks of the Mississippi River. An interest in music
was kindled by Hank Williams on the radio, by an uncle who played
the saxophone, and by singing cowboy Gene Autry in the movies.
"The rock & roll of Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly made
me want to start playing it myself," says Billy, who took up
the drums at age 14 and hitchhiked to gigs in local beer joints.
He later taught himself to play electric piano, rhythm guitar and
Some friends who had a group went to Memphis to record with Bill
Black, so Billy tagged along. Black liked one of Billy's songs, "Lover
Please". The group recorded it but it wasn't until
much later, when Clyde McPhatter cut his version of the song, that
it became a hit. While in Memphis, Billy lived with Elvis
Billy joined the group that did "Lover
Please" originally. Mirt Mirly and The Rhythm
Steppers, and worked with them for two years.
When he turned twenty-one, Billy moved to Nashville and quit
playing music temporarily. He toured as a road manager for singer
Mel Tillis and for the Masters of Music Festival, which featured
Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph and Floyd Cramer.
Most people have heard about Kris Kristofferson's early days in
Nashville when he swept floors and moved microphones around the
Columbia Recording Studios. But Billy has the dubious distinction
of holding that job first, and he gave it to his friend Kris when
Billy and Kris, back when they were both total unknowns scuffling
around the edges of the music business, were charter members of
what is now referred to as the Nashville Underground. Fred Foster,
President of Monument Records, and Bob Beckham, head of Combine
Music publishing firm, were among the first people to encourage
these talented newcomers. They gave Billy his first opportunity to
produce records. He worked on three Tony Joe White albums for
When Kris Kristofferson's first LP was released, he needed a
backup band in a hurry, so Billy offered to help. In fact, Billy
had just three days to learn how to play bass before the band's
debut at the Troubador in Los Angeles. Billy later brought his
friend Donnie Fritts into the group on piano. For a year and a
half, they all stumbled and laughed across America together.
Then Billy toured briefly as a sideman with Kinky Friedman and
with Billy Joe Shaver before returning to Nashville. He went back
into the recording studios for Monument Records, but this time he
was making his debut as an artist. Billy Swan was now ready.
Since Billy was introduced to the world through his "I Can
Help" album, he has completed several highly successful
American and European tours and also scored with many albums and
television and radio commercials. Billy Swan became firmly
established as a major artist of the "70's and continues to
be highly sought after today.