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Billy Williams


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(1) Billy Williams (born December 28, 1910, Waco, Texas — died October 17, 1972, Chicago) was an Afro-American singer, who had a hugely successful cover recording of Fats Waller’s “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” in 1957. His trademark hook for his songs was to shout “Oh, Yeah” at the end of lyrics.

He was the lead singer of The Charioteers between 1930 and 1950, when he formed his own Billy Williams Quartet with Eugene Dixon, Claude Riddick and John Ball. Many appearances on TV followed, especially on Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar.

By the early 1960s he had lost his voice due to diabetes. He subsequently moved to Chicago and worked as a social worker until his death in 1972.

(2) Richard Isaac Banks (1878 - March, 1915), who changed his name to Billy Williams after leaving his birthplace of Australia, was one of the most recorded popular entertainers of his and indeed of all time. His recordings sold in their thousands long after his early death in 1915. Born in Melbourne, Williams tried a number of jobs before embarking on an entertainment career which led him to come to England in 1899.

He became a popular entertainer in the music halls singing what were known as chorus-songs - he also appeared in pantomime. It was in 1906 that Williams made his first recordings and from that date he recorded prolifically on cylinder and disc. In 1910, he returned for an extended tour of his native Australia where he was greeted with wild enthusiasm.


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