born on 12/5/1942
William Lance "Billy" Swan (born May 12, 1942) is an American Country singer-songwriter, best known for his 1974 single, "I Can Help".
Swan was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. As a child, he learned drums, piano and guitar, and began writing songs. His first big break was in 1962 when Clyde McPhatter recorded "Lover Please", a song written by Swan when he was in a local band called Mirt Mirly & the Rhythm Steppers who had first recorded the song on Bill Black's Louis label. McPhatter's version quickly became a No. 7 pop hit.
Swan moved to Memphis to work with Black, but this was cut short with Black's illness and subsequent death in 1965. He also for a time worked on Elvis Presley's Graceland estate. He then moved to Nashville, which enabled him to write hit country songs for numerous artists, including Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, and Mel Tillis. In 1969, Swan first took on the role of record producer, producing Tony Joe White's Top Ten hit "Polk Salad Annie". Swan also played bass guitar for Kris Kristofferson and then signed a solo recording deal with Monument Records.
His first album included the song "I Can Help", a rockabilly number that topped the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the US and Canadian country charts in 1974, also becoming a hit in many other countries. Swan recorded the song in two takes (without overdubs) with an RMI organ that Kristofferson and singer Rita Coolidge had bought for him as a wedding gift. However, other albums with Monument, A&M, and Epic did not have nearly the success of his first.
In 1979, Swan traveled to Havana, Cuba, to participate in the historic Havana Jam festival that took place between March 2–4, alongside Stephen Stills, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Weather Report, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnegan, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, and Billy Joel, plus an array of Cuban artists such as Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Tata Güines, and Orquesta Aragón. His performance is captured on Ernesto Juan Castellanos's documentary Havana Jam '79.
Swan continued to tour as a member of Kristofferson's band and recorded with Randy Meisner of The Eagles. In 1986 he walked into a California studio (Bench Records) as part of a band called Black Tie and along with Meisner, Jimmy Griffin († 2005) (Bread), David Kemper (drummer), David Miner, and David Mansfield recorded an album called When the Night Falls. He recorded another solo album, Like Elvis Used to Do in 2000, and another Black Tie-style album with Meisner and Charlie Rich, Jr. billed as "Meisner, Swan & Rich". As of 2005, Swan remained a backing singer and session musician.
Swan was married to his late wife Marlu for 30 years. Marlu died on February 12, 2003, from cancer. They had two daughters, recording artists Planet Swan and Sierra Swan.
|1974||I Can Help (Monument)||1||21||34||3|
|1975||Rock 'n' Roll Moon (Monument)||29||—||—||13|
|1976||Billy Swan (Monument)||28||—||—||—|
|1978||You're OK, I'm OK (A&M)||—||—||—||—|
|1981||I'm Into Lovin' You (Epic)||—||—||—||—|
|US Country||US||US AC||CAN Country||CAN||CAN AC||GER||AUS||UK|
|1974||"I Can Help"||1||1||6||1||2||4||1||1||6|
|1975||"I'm Her Fool"||—||53||—||—||93||—||—||—||—|
|"Don't Be Cruel"||—||—||—||—||—||—||26||—||42|
|"Everything's the Same (Ain't Nothing Changed)"||17||91||—||29||62||—||36||84||—|
|1976||"Just Want to Taste Your Wine" (with The Jordanaires)||45||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"You're the One"||75||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Shake, Rattle and Roll"||95||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1978||"Hello! Remember Me"||30||—||—||46||—||—||—||—||—|
|"No Way Around (It's Love)"||97||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1981||"Do I Have to Draw a Picture"||18||—||—||29||—||—||—||—||—|
|"I'm into Lovin' You"||18||—||—||28||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Stuck Right in the Middle of Your Love"||19||—||—||35||—||—||—||—||—|
|1982||"With Their Kind of Money and Our Kind of Love"||32||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Your Picture Still Loves Me (And I Still Love You)"||56||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983||"Rainbows and Butterflies"||39||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986||"You Must Be Lookin' for Me"||45||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1987||"I'm Gonna Get You"||63||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
- List of artists who reached number one in the United States
- List of 1970s one-hit wonders in the United States
- List of artists who reached number one on the Australian singles chart
- List of performers on Top of the Pops
- Steve Huey (1942-05-12). "Billy Swan | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- "Obituaries: Marlu Swan (02/26/03)". seMissourian.com. February 26, 2003. Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- "Allmusic ((( Billy Swan > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))".
- "Allmusic ((( Billy Swan > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))".
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 542. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Search results for Billy Swan". RPM. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Interview with Billy Swan
- Yahoo! Music biography
- Billy Swan at Rockabilly
- Billy Swan at Discogs