Back in the days when everyone knew me as Billy, now it’s more like Old Bill
This may seem a bit self-indulgent, but is it just me or is there anyone else out there who either loves or loathes songs that include their name? My name is William, but these days most people know me as Bill. As a boy I was known as Billy and some of my Scottish relatives called me Willie, or Wullie as it sounds in a strong Glaswegian accent. I also suffered from being called Little Billy for quite a few years as my Dad and grandfather were fellow Williams. So at the top there was my Grandad, Bill then my Dad, Billy and finally me, Little Billy. Perhaps that is one of the reasons my son is not called William.
Anyway onto the songs, I have always thought that derivations of my name feature in a hell of a lot of songs, but that is probably because I listen out for it. I’m not sure which the most common names used in songs are but I reckon possibly Johnny for the boys and perhaps Susan/ Sue/ Suzie for the girls. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well. I was also surprised to find that there are far more William/ Billy songs that I like than those I don’t like
Now onto those William related songs. I have put them into three categories; The Good (those that are ok), the Bad (those that I really don’t like) and the Ugly (reserved for the one William or Billy song that I really, really do not like) I have included songs where my name is included in the lyric and not necessarily in the title.
“William It Was Really Nothing” – Smiths. Probably one of my most favourite William songs. This clip is the famous Top Of The Pops appearance from 1984 where Morrissey pulls open his shirt to reveal the words ‘MARRY ME’
“Wedding Bell Blues” – 5th Dimension. This act featured Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Junior who went on to have a massive hit in 1976 with “You Don’t Have To Be A Star”
“All The Young Dudes” – Mott The Hoople. Simply for the ‘Billy rocked all night about suicide’ line. This is the song that Bowie gave to Mott to ensure that they didn’t break up. Apparently they turned down “Suffragette City” and Drive-In Saturday”. This version is from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert at Wembley in 1992 and features the remaining members of Queen, David Bowie, Ian Hunter and the late, great Mick Ronson
“Rat Trap” – Boomtown Rats. This one is here as one of the songs main protagonists is Billy. Apparently when Bob Geldof was unsure about releasing this song. He played a demo of it to Phil Lynott off of Thin Lizzy who said that if Geldof didn’t do it he certainly would
“My Girl Bill” – Jim Stafford. This song has a great twist and check out the amazing shirt collar on Mr Stafford
“Bill When Are You Coming Back” – Supremes. This was a post Diana Ross B Side and I love it. I always preferred the Supremes without Diana
“C’Mon Billy” P J Harvey. Great Artist, Great Song……’Nuff Said!
“The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill” – Beatles. A classic track from my favourite Beatles album, the one known as ‘The White Album’ but is actually called ‘The Beatles’
“Billy” – James Blunt. I never have liked James Blunt, I just don’t like his voice, so I guess there was no chance for this song with me
“Little Willy” – Sweet. I have grown to like this a bit more over the years. But to have a song like this out when you’re going through adolescence is no fun. A great opportunity for other kids to diss the size of one’s budding manhood!
“Which Way You Going Billy?” – Poppy Family. A Canadian act with what for me ranks as one of the most insipid songs of the sixties
“Billy Don’t Be A Hero” – Paper Lace. What can I say? I really, really, really, really dislike this song. It was a UK number one in 1974 for Paper Lace, but the US hit was by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods