Billy Swan (b. May 12, 1942) is a veteran country/pop singer, songwriter, and keyboardist who became famous during the mid 1970s. Born William Lance Swan in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, he grew up learning to play drums, piano, and guitar, and was writing songs by his teens. His first major career break came in 1962 when Clyde McPhatter had a Top 10 hit with "Lover Please," a song Swan had written while he was a member of a local band, Mirt Mirly & The Rhythm Steppers, who had first recorded it on Bill Black's Louis label. This extensively covered song would later go on to earn a Grammy in 1976 for Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge who performed it as a duet. For much of the 1960s, Swan served as a hit songwriter for such top artists as Waylon Jennings, Mel Tillis, and Conway Twitty. In 1969, he produced Tony Joe White's hit, "Polk Salad Annie." He also played bass guitar for Kris Kristofferson before signing with Monument Records in the early 1970s.
Billy Swan made his debut on both the Country and Pop/Rock charts in 1974 with the self-penned, late 1950s rockabilly-styled "I Can Help," which topped both charts and became his best known song. This crossover gold-certified smash, in which Swan's distinctive Farfisa electronic organ accompaniment can be heard throughout, was followed by "I'm Her Fool" (1975), "Everything's The Same (Ain't Nothing Changed)" (1975), and "Number One" (1976), the latter of which was Swan's last charting song on the Pop/Rock charts. His long string of hits continued through 1987 on the Country charts where he reached his peak in popularity during the late 1970s and early 1980s with such hits as "Hello! Remember Me" (1978), "Do I Have To Draw A Picture" (1981), "I'm Into Lovin' You" (1981), and "Stuck Right In The Middle Of Your Love" (1981), which all made the Top 40.
In 1985, with Jimmy Griffin and Randy Meisner, Billy Swan co-founded Black Tie, a country rock supergroup that had a hit in 1990 on the Country charts with the Buddy Holly-penned "Learning The Game." Swan has continued on to the present day as a backing vocalist and session musician.
- Billy Swan discusses the inspiration behind "I Can Help" and other topics in an interview with David Adams on Elvis Australia (March 23, 2019).
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- I Can Help 1974
(This song topped both the Country and Pop/Rock charts.)
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