Billy Nicholls

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Billy Nicholls
Billy Nicholls.jpg
Nicholls in 2015
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Morris Nicholls Jr
Born (1949-02-15) 15 February 1949 (age 70)
White City, London, United Kingdom
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • record producer
  • mixing engineer
  • musical director
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • saxophone
  • double bass
Years activeLate 1960s–present
Associated acts

William Morris Nicholls Jr (born 15 February 1949) is an English singer, songwriter, composer, record producer, and musical director. He was born into a musical family, his father Billy Nicholls (Sr.) being a double bassist and big band singer, performing with such bands as The Oscar Rabin Romany Band (Hammersmith Palais}, Alan Green with his boys and RAF band The Squadronaires and later performed on radio with Will Hay. Nicholls first gained fame in the 1960s while still a teenager with his Pet Sounds-influenced album, Would You Believe, originally released on Immediate Records.[1]

Nicholls' compositions have been covered by many artists. His first success came in 1977 when Leo Sayer covered "I Can't Stop Loving You (Though I Try)"; it rose to No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart. Nicholls wrote several of the tracks for the film McVicar (starring Roger Daltrey) including "Without Your Love", which was a success in the United States.

The Babys covered White Lightning on their Head First album in 1978.

An American southern rock group, the Outlaws, recorded "I Can't Stop Loving You" on their 1980 release Ghost Riders. More recently, Phil Collins also recorded "I Can't Stop Loving You" in 2002 and it proved successful as a U.S. single, appearing on several of his albums, and Collins included it in his last world tour.

A longtime acquaintance and occasional collaborator with Pete Townshend, Nicholls was involved in the Deep End concerts in Brixton and Cannes. He toured with The Who in 1989 and 1996–1997, serving as backup singer and music director; he also provided backing vocals for the band's version of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting", which appeared on the tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.

He has contributed backing vocals for many friends and artists over the years, including uncredited backing vocals on The Nice's 1967 debut single "The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack".

In 2003, Nicholls received an ASCAP award for "I Can't Stop Loving You". Keith Urban recorded the song in 2006 on his fifth studio album, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing.

In 2009 a promotional copy of Would You Believe was sold on eBay for £7,312.[2]

Nicholls set up Southwest Records in 1998 and has so far released nine albums featuring his own work.

He is the father of musician Morgan Nicholls, singer songwriter Amy Fay Nicholls and film director Will Nicholls.



Year of release Album title
1968 Would You Believe
1974 Love Songs
1977 White Horse
1990 Under One Banner
2000 Snapshot
2001 Penumbra Moon
2001 Still Entwined
2005 Forever's No Time At All
2008 Rosslyn Road


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Biography: Billy Nicholls". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  2. ^ Tom Horan. "Britain's rarest record – yours for £200,000 | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2014.

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