BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 00:53 GMT
Acker Bilk: Jazz legend
Acker Bilk
Acker Bilk: Jazz superstar of the 60s
Jazzman Acker Bilk, who has been honoured with an MBE for services to music, came to fame during the trad jazz boom of the early 60s.

The clarinettist scored a run of 10 top 40 hits, including Stranger On The Shore, which became an enduring classic almost 40 years ago.

Bilk, 71, was on National Service in Egypt as an 18-year-old when he learned to play a borrowed clarinet. He copied jazz records to while away the time.

Returning home, he formed a band, playing dances and setting up The Paramount Club in Bristol.

He and his wife Jean moved to London, playing occasional gigs with his band but they honed their act with a six-week stint in a Dusseldorf beer bar.

Cancer

They also adopted their trademark hats and waistcoat and Bilk began to write his own music.

He became a chart regular in 1960 with tunes like Summer Set and Buona Sera, but when Stranger was released in 1961 he soared to new heights.

It was in the charts for more than a year, peaking at number two. Bilk also became the first UK act to top the US charts in the 60s with the haunting instrumental.

He became a staple of the TV variety circuit along with contemporaries Kenny Ball and Chris Barber.

Fourteen months ago he had to cancel a string of shows because he was diagnosed with throat cancer.

However by April of this year, despite regular hospital check-ups, he was back on stage performing with his Paramount Jazz Band.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

Click here for all the stories and the comprehensive lists
See also:

07 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Jazzman Acker back on stage
20 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Jazzman Acker's cancer fight
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories