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Red Noise, Be-Bop Deluxe and Bill Nelson

Peter Cook - Thursday 26.05.11, 13:46pm

Bill Nelson in Concert DVD

Bill Nelson in Concert DVD

On March 26th 2011 ITV filmed a special concert in London, featuring guitar legend Bill Nelson, leader of pop art bands Be-Bop Deluxe and Red Noise.  Bill Nelson left high profile music some years back, due to his dislike of the music industry / media circus.  However, his influence on modern music is immense.  Admired by Paul McCartney, Brian May, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Eno, Prince, The Foo Fighters, The Darkness, My Chemical Romance et al.   I’m delighted to announce that the video of this unique evening at ITV Legends is now available on to buy.  In case you are still wondering who Bill Nelson is, here’s some background.

Bill Nelson’s career started with 1970’s Art School band Be-Bop Deluxe, where he had considerable success with classic albums like Futurama, Sunburst Finish and Drastic Plastic.  By the mid 70’s Be-Bop Deluxe were conquering America but Bill was disaffected by the celebrity lifestyle and its requirements of him.  He disbanded Be-Bop Deluxe and formed Red Noise, a synth / new age band way ahead of its time, paving the way for 80’s acts like Gary Numan, A Flock of Seagulls and many others.  Red Noise’s music was jagged and edgy.

EMI dropped Nelson at this point since he refused to perform ‘more of the same’.  Shortly after Bill pioneered Indie music, releasing albums made in his own studio on his own ‘Cocteau’ record label.  Many of these home-made creations were of superior quality to what others have since recorded in the most professional of recording studios.

Bill Nelson’s heart is firmly fixed within the inventor’s domain, with a more or less continuous stream of musical creativity.  Much of Bill’s work can be accessed through his website ‘Dreamsville’.

Nelson’s latest works are mostly lush ambient soundscapes, not typical of his recent ITV release, which is a must-have release for Be-Bop Deluxe / Red Noise / music lovers.  Here’s an example of Bill Nelson’s less commercial work, taken from his recent performance at the Sheffield ‘Sensoria’ Arts Festival – music which owes no regard to an X-Factor culture.

I wrote a personal cameo about Bill Nelson in the book Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll, as he is a master of continuous creativity and reinvention.  A copy of the cameo can be found at the Academy of Rock.

For more information about Peter Cook:  The Rock’n’Roll Business Guru, visit The Academy Of Rock.

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Tags: DVD & Blu-ray · Rock


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2 comments so far

  • 1 Mike Levon // Jun 4, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Hats off to Bill! He spent many hours at Holyground immersing himself in music, and recording all his early work (now on CD – “Electrotype” – go to Holyground Website to buy it). Easily one of the best of our guitarists, and a lovely guy too . . .

  • 2 Mike Levon // Jun 4, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Holyground website for more of Bill’s early years:
    http://www.holyground.co.uk

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