|Birth name||William Lee Nichols|
Carrollton, Mississippi, United States
|Genres||R&B, disco, pop, urban|
|Occupation(s)||Songwriter, composer, artist|
|Instruments||Bass, drums, keyboards, guitar|
|Associated acts||B.T. Express|
William Lee "Billy" Nichols is guitarist and soul songwriter from in Carrollton, Mississippi.
Nichols was one of nine children born to Laura Bell and Tom Sanders. Sanders was a farmer who played blues guitar in his spare time. Inspired by his father and blues musicians he heard on the radio, Nichols taught himself guitar.
In 1964, Nichols moved to Detroit and stayed with his uncle. He was hired by Motown Records where his first job was playing with Martha and the Vandellas. Nichols was also in the Motown Road Band led by Choker Campbell. In 1965 he became the musical director for Marvin Gaye.
Becoming disenchanted with constant touring, Nichols moved to New York to lead the house band at the Crystal Ballroom. Billy Nichols and the Soul Swingers played at the Crystal Ballroom for about three years.
Nichols most successful period came working with B.T. Express. "Do It (Til You're Satisfied)" recorded and released in 1974. Nichols went on to write and produce other songs for the group such as "Can't Stop Groovin'" and "Shout It Out".
Rappers such as Will Smith, Beanie Sigel, EPMD, Master P, Ice Cube, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Dr. Dre and de la Soul have sampled Nichols' music. A sample of his song "Do It", heard in the song entitled "Addictive" performed by recording artist Truth Hurts, won him two BMI awards for most urban airplay for the year 2002.
- Shake A Leg (Sue, 1969)
- Treat Your Neighbor (Mercury 1970)
- Give Your Body up to the Music (West End Records, 1979)
- Diamond Ring (West End Records 1979)
- Whip Your Body (Whip It, Whip It, Whip It) (Boss Records)
- Love Stuff (Boss Records, 2003)
- One Day (At a Time) (Boss Records, 2014)
With Bernard Purdie
- Purdie Good! (Prestige, 1971)
- Stand By Me (Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get) (Mega, 1971)
- Shaft (Prestige, 1971)
- Soul Is... Pretty Purdie (Flying Dutchman, 1972)
- Roburt. "The Billy Nichols Story". Soul Source. pp. September 23, 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- "New Label". Billboard Magazine. September 21, 1963. p. 4. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- Smith, J (September 11, 2012). "Mid 60's Motown Road Musician". soulfuldetroit.com. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
- "B.T. Express". Who Sampled. Retrieved 4 October 2015.