HEY LOCO FANS – Soul singer and songwriter William Bell was born July 16, 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was born William Yarbrough; He took the last name “Bell” as a stage name in honor of his grandmother, whose first name was Belle. As a songwriter, Bell co-authored the Chuck Jackson hit “Any Other Way” (which was a cover since Bell issued it first) as a follow-up to “You Don’t Miss Your Water”; Billy Idol’s 1986 hit “To Be a Lover”, which was first a hit for Bell under its original title “I Forgot to Be Your Lover”; and the blues classic “Born Under A Bad Sign”, popularized by both Albert King and Cream.

As a performer, he is probably best known for his debut single, 1961’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water”; 1968’s top 10 hit in the UK “Private Number”, a duet with Judy Clay; and his only US top 40 hit, 1976’s “Tryin’ to Love Two”, which also hit No. 1 on the R&B chart. Upon the death of Otis Redding, Bell released the well-received memorial song “A Tribute to a King”.

Although he was a longtime recording artist for Stax Records, he is unrelated to the label’s onetime president, Al Bell.

In 2016, Bell reactivated the Stax Records label to release a new album. Produced by John Leventhal, This Is Where I Live featured Bell performing a batch of new songs, along with a revived recording of “Born Under a Bad Sign”.

In 2017, the album was awarded a Grammy for Best Americana Album, which took Bell’s career to new heights. In 2017, Bell was awarded a Grammy for Best Americana Album for his record This Is Where I Live. He performed his hit “Born Under a Bad Sign” alongside Gary Clark Jr. at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Bell was also featured on Rolling Stone’s “Best of the Grammys” for that year.

He also was featured in a performance alongside other legendary Stax acts at BBC’s 50 Years of Soul event at Royal Albert Hall in London, UK.


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