Billy Bland

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Billy Bland
Born(1932-04-05)April 5, 1932
Wilmington, North Carolina, United States
DiedMarch 22, 2017(2017-03-22) (aged 84)
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1948–1963
LabelsOld Town Records
Associated actsThe Four Bees

Billy Bland (April 5, 1932, Wilmington, North Carolina – March 22, 2017, New York City)[1][2] was an American R&B singer and songwriter.

Life and career[edit]

Bland, the youngest of 19 children, first sang professionally in 1947 in New York, and sang with a group called The Bees in the 1950s on New Orleans's Imperial Records.[3] In 1954, "Toy Bell" by the group caused some unrest by veering into the dirty blues genre. Dave Bartholomew brought them to New Orleans, where they recorded a song he had written and recorded twice before: firstly in 1952 for King Records as "My Ding-a-Ling," and later that year for Imperial as "Little Girl Sing Ting-A-Ling."[4] Bland later pursued a solo career.

In 1960, Bland heard Titus Turner recording the song "Let the Little Girl Dance" in the studio, and demonstrated for Turner how to sing it (along with guitarist Mickey Baker and other session musicians). The event was recorded by record producer Henry Glover, and was eventually released as a single.[3] The tune was a hit in the U.S., peaking at number 11 on the US Billboard R&B chart. and number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5] Bland had two other minor hits that year, "Harmony" (U.S. Hot 100 number 91) and "You Were Born to Be Loved" (U.S. Hot 100 number 94).[5] He recorded until 1963 for Old Town, and then quit the music industry.

In the 1980s, he ran a soul food restaurant in Harlem.[3]

His grandson Jermain reported in a Facebook post that he died on March 22, 2017. He was 84.


  1. ^ "Billy Bland". 21 November 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  2. ^ "billy bland records and CDs". Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Richie Unterberger (1932-04-05). "Billy Bland | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  4. ^ "Risque Rhythm (1950s)". 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  5. ^ a b "Billy Bland | Awards". AllMusic. 1932-04-05. Retrieved 2016-06-15.