Billy Sloan – a life in music recalled in long-awaited new book
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In addition to the music magazines, he has written for national newspapers and started a new music radio show on Radio Clyde in 1979. Nordoff Robbins awarded him a Tartan Clef for his contribution to music and he still hosts a weekend late night music and chat show on BBC Radio Scotland. His long-awaited book One Love, One Life Stories From The Stars (Black and White Publishing, £20), has just been published and praise has been recorded from Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue), Lulu, Gary Numan, the Proclaimers and Bono said ‘I’m one of his biggest fans’.
I first met him at Ibrox Stadium, and we were not there to see football. It was Glasgow Year of Culture 1980, and the guest was Frank Sinatra. The difference here though was that while Billy was there to meet Ol’ Blue Eyes I was there as a paying punter.
The names he has met are like the A to Z of popular music though and the stories within this book give a rare insight to what these guys are really like. He has met three Beatles, five Stones, four Beach Boys and a host of legends known by just one name like Kylie, Ozzy, Tina, Bowie, Rod, Elton and Bruce. One great instance was when he was invited to a soundcheck at the SECC in 1993 with Bruce Springsteen ahead of a planned ‘five minute’ interview. The Boss went on stage at 4pm and finished at 10:40pm.
The interview lasted 20 minutes and at the end Billy asked for the obligatory photo (as you do). His security staff immediately ushered him away, but Bruce grabbed the camera and said to the security ‘Hey fella can you take a picture of me and my buddy, Billy?’
This is included in two colour sections in the book and packed with stars we know. Not all encounters are as rewarding though as when Chuck Berry was due to be interviewed. He looked immaculate but ‘no photographs’ was the cry and a subsequent monosyllabic interview. Frank Lynch boss of the Apollo Glasgow recalled that 15 minutes before his appearance in 1975 he asked for his wages and wouldn’t accept a cheque. They had to whip round all the venues to get Chuck his £25,000 in ready cash before he took to the stage.