Billy Bremner (musician)

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Billy Bremner
Bremner performing with Rockpile at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Ontario, in 1980
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Murray Bremner
Born (1946-08-04) 4 August 1946 (age 76)
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
GenresRock, rock and roll, rockabilly, country music
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1964–present

William Murray Bremner (born 4 August 1946, in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland) is a Scottish guitarist, best known for his work in the band Rockpile and on many of Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds' albums. He has also played with The Pretenders, Shakin' Stevens, Carlene Carter and The Coal Porters, as well as issuing four solo albums.[1]

Career overview[edit]

Bremner first became known playing with The Luvvers, who served as Lulu's backing band.[2] However, by the time Bremner joined the group in 1966, they were on the wane; Bremner did not play on any of Lulu's recorded material, and joined just after the group recorded their only single without Lulu ("The House on the Hill"/"Most Unlovely") for Parlophone in 1966. The Luvvers disbanded in 1967.

In 1971, Bremner added some guitar work to March Hare, the first solo album from ex-Honeybus member Colin Hare. He then became a member of the Neil Innes band Fatso, which went on to record the soundtrack for the original Rutland Weekend Television series.[2]

As "Bill Murray" he released two singles produced by Kris Ife: "Downtown Hoedown" / "Rhyme And Reason" (Polydor 2058 881, 1977) and "Heart and the Stone" / "I Don't Wanna Be No Hero" (State Records STAT 72, 1978).

Next, he joined Rockpile, who only released one album under their own name, but also served as the band for most of Nick Lowe's and Dave Edmunds' albums in the 1970s.[2] In addition to his guitar playing, Bremner occasionally sang lead, as he did on "Heart" and "You Ain't Nothing But Fine" on the 1980 Rockpile album Seconds of Pleasure. He also wrote Edmunds' hit "Trouble Boys" (which Edmunds would let him sing live), but used an alias, Billy Murray, on the writing credits, so as not to be confused with the more famous Scottish footballer, of the same name. "Trouble Boys" was covered by Thin Lizzy on a single in 1981. Another song by him, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", appeared on Edmunds' third solo album, Repeat When Necessary.[3]

After Rockpile split in 1981, Bremner released two solo singles on Stiff Records "Loud Music In Cars" / "The Price is Right" (BUY 125)[2] and "Laughter Turns to Tears" / "Tired and Emotional" (BUY 143).[4] Bremner then played lead guitar on The Pretenders' 1982 hit single "Back On The Chain Gang"[2] / "My City Was Gone" and later provided lead guitar for their 1990 album Packed!.

Bremner released his first solo album, Bash!, in 1984,[1] containing songs co-written with The Records' Will Birch, and covers of songs by Elvis Costello, and Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze.[5] Bash! featured a rhythm section of Dave Kerr-Clemenson from Fast Buck on bass and Terry Williams from Rockpile on drums. Bremner played all the guitar parts and sang the harmonies with Kerr-Clemenson.

After stints in Los Angeles, California, (where he played in the bands of Pat McLaughlin and Rosie Flores) and Nashville, Tennessee Bremner moved to Sweden in the 1990s where he met The Refreshments,[1] producing and playing on their album It's Gotta Be Both Rock 'n' Roll. A second solo album, A Good Week's Work, followed in 1999 and a third No Ifs, Buts, Maybes in 2006, both recorded in Sweden. His most recent solo album, Rock Files, was issued in 2012.

Bremner was also a member of Stockholm-based band Trouble Boys with Sean Tyla and two Swedish musicians,[6] who released an album called Bad Trouble in September 2012

Album discography[edit]


  • Bash! (1984)
  • A Good Week's Work (1998)
  • No Ifs, Buts, Maybes (2006)
  • Rock Files (2012)

As a member of Rockpile[edit]

As a sideman[edit]

With Dave Edmunds
With Nick Lowe
With The Pretenders
With Shakin' Stevens
With Carlene Carter
With The Coal Porters
  • Land of Hope and Crosby 1994
  • London 1995
  • Rebels Without Applause 1996
With Neil Innes
With Jim Lauderdale
  • Persimmons 1996
  • Other Sessions 2000
With Trouble Boys
  • Bad Trouble (2012) Ball and Chain Records
With other artists


  1. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Biography of Billy Bremner". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 322. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  3. ^ "Repeat When Necessary – Dave Edmunds | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  4. ^ Stiff Records Catalogue Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 3 April 2009
  5. ^ "Bash! – Billy Bremner | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Sean Tyla – Biography". Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Credits for Billy Bremner". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 January 2011.

External links[edit]