Billy Swan


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photograph of Billy Swan

Billy Swan (born Billy Lance Swan, 12 May 1942, Cape Girardeau, Missouri) is an American songwriter and singer, best known for his 1974 single, "I Can Help".

Swan's role in the music industry was, originally, largely invisible. His first big break was in 1962 when Clyde McPhatter recorded "Lover Please", a song written by Swan that quickly became a Top Ten hit. Moving to Nashville allowed Swan 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, publishing Tony Joe White's Top Ten hit "Polk Salad Annie". Swan played bass guitar for Kris Kristofferson, and signed a deal with Monument Records.

Swan's first album included the popular song "I Can Help", a rockabilly number that topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and country charts in 1974. Swan recorded the song in two takes (without overdubs) with an 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.

Swan continued to tour with Kristofferson, and has recorded two albums with Randy Meisner. As of 2005, Swan was still a back-up and session musician.

Swan was married to his late wife Marlu for 30 years. They had two daughters, recording artists Planet Swan & Sierra Swan.

Another Bill Swan is guitarist for the American band The Muffins. Read more about Billy Swan on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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