Billy stared his career in the late 1970s as a budding journalist, reviewing the vibrant musical scene in Scotland, and
this was why he was at Simple Minds' first ever gig, pen in hand, knocking on the dressing room door and asking Charlie the
name of the band's lead singer.
"Anyone who really knows Simple Minds' story will be aware of Scottish journalist/radio presenter
"Billy was taking the first steps in his career in media just as we were taking our own in music. And yes,
present on that January night in Glasgow 1978, when Simple Minds played
our first ever gig, he wrote about that recently in
The Heart Of The Crowd.
"But we also go all the way back with Billy.
"I recall his first ever radio show when he presented for Radio Clyde in the late 70's, and the experience of regularly tuning
in over the next years allowed me to hear music that I still consider among my favourites. (Magazine, The Associates,
U2, Grace Jones, The Blue Nile and a ton more.)
"No doubt about it. In a local sense Billy was the oracle when it came to spreading the word on new artists and new releases,
combining that role with his flawless knowledge of the classics from the generation in music that came before.
"And guess what? He's still the oracle!
"Only last night I tuned in to his show on BBC Radio Scotland to hear a mix of classics, side by side with the newest releases
that he feels worth highlighting. His ever present enthusiasm as tangible now almost 44 years later from when he first started out.
"Amazingly though, for as long as we have know Billy, and as much I have heard him do such fine work while interviewing
hundreds of artists throughout his career. I had never heard Billy detail his own career so thoroughly - until now that is!
"A remarkable and expansive tale that features some of the most stellar names of the last half century, Billy tells it so
well in this two part podcast from the brilliant AYNE.
"If I were you I would definitely listen in!
3rd December 2021
From working on building sites, got a job at the Bishopbriggs Times, before being offered a column on the Sunday Mail.
From here, he was a staunch supporter of the band, reviewing their latest singles and albums, most supplied personally
by Jim hot from the pressing plant. He was also well placed to play their music,
becoming a radio DJ for Radio Clyde between 1979 and 1985, following the band's rise to fame.
Back at Radio Clyde in 1991, he focused on local bands, and arranged sessions and interviews
with international talent. Over this second tenue of 23, he became increasing disenchanted with the radio station's
attitue. "We did interviews with U2, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Coldplay,
Simple Minds. But that didn't seem to have any currency with them because basically
everyone in radioland is playing the same s*** 25 records over and over and over again. And I was always the proverbial
square peg in the round hole from the word go."
During this period, he
arranged two sessions with Simple Minds for Radio Clyde. The first
was broadcast in April 2002 to support the release of Cry and
the second was over ten years later, when the band returned to record an acoustic set for
the Acoustic album.
He also appeared on stage with Jim and Charlie
where he hosted the Q&As during the first leg of the Walk Between Worlds tour.
Given his long history supporting the band, he also wrote the
sleeve notes for The Early Years 1977-78,
The Best Of and
New Gold Dream Super Deluxe; and wrote the
Big Music and
Acoustic tour programmes.
Upon being made redundant in 2014 from Radio Cylde when the station went through a cost cutting exercise,
he swiftly transfered to BBC Radio Scotland where his weekend night
shows have become indespensible listening for the classic, alternative and new music.
Two more Danish promos for the remasters have surfaced, bringing the total to four. New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) and
Sparkle In The Rain would've been issued in Denmark in late 2002 as part of
the marketing for the 2002 remasters.
It's would be interesting to know why promos were issued specifically for Denmark whilst the far more common UK set
was used around Europe. No pressings have emerged from France or Germany for instance.
Heart Of The Crowd is now available as a Kindle edition. It can be purchased from
Amazon and other online retailers.
Hardback and special editions are also still available from
This Day In Music.