FP100 Fife bands 57. Billy Ryan

Billy Ryan
Billy Ryan

Billy Ryan - born in east Fife in October 1943 as William Mercer - is probably best remembered in the Kingdom for his band ‘Billy Ryan & The Raiders’.

Billy’s first break came at the age of 13 when he won a local talent competition, earning him a one-month booking in a local dance hall singing with the Ken Watson Orchestra.

He formed a ‘skiffle’ group in high school and by the time he was 16 he was once again singing with a local dance-band.

This became the stepping stone to starting ‘Billy Ryan and the Raiders’, and his band were soon attracting crowds in the Fife, Perth and Dundee areas.

Billy and the Raiders played together for four years before going their separate ways.

Billy then formed a new band ‘The Roadsters’ in 1964, featuring a six-piece horn section and a trio of dancing girls.

In 1978, Billy and his family moved to America where he set up a small merchandising and distributing business.

He continued to perform in the States and went on to record an album in 2001 as a ‘memento’ of his singing career.

It apparently sold around 500 copies in and around the area where he lived, despite Billy not putting on any public performances of his work or actively promoting it.