The “Golden Hits Of Th60s” 

Main MenuConcept Refinement The Author..Wayne JancikGolden Age Of The 50sGolden Age Of The 60s1970s and There After




(Spencer, Glover)

Old Town 1076

No. 7     May 16, 1960




Big Billy Bland is still around cooking up edibles.  No longer actively performing, Billy now runs–

or has–his own  soul-food kitchen in New York City, dishing out fried chicken, black-eyed peas,

and candied yams.  A glance at the fine fellow’s discography reveals the presence even then of a

fowl fascination  — “The Chicken Hop,” “Momma Stole the Chicken,” “Chicken In The Basket.”


Bill Bland was born the youngest of  19, on April 5, 1932, in Wilmington, North Carolina. The

Bland family was religious, and from early on, Bill was encouraged to sing his soul out.  While still

a student, he managed to cut the now-collectible “Mairzy Doats” for a small hometown label.


Bland moved to New York at age  15, and quickly plugged in to the nightclub scene. He was

performing at the Baby Grand when Edna McGriff discovered him.  Edna, who had charted with

“Heavenly Father” in 1952, took him around town and got him booked at the  Apollo Theatre and

with the Lionel Hampton Band.


For two years, Billy was part of the 4 Bees, which had  a string of  failed singles on the Imperial

label.  After the unit buzzed off, he came to the attention of Hy Weiss, owner of the Old Town label.

Hy thought well enough of Billy Bland to weather five years of  only mildly successful singles,  but

in  1960, Bland made good on Weiss’ expectations with the feeble but teen-targeted “Let The  Little

Girl Dance.”  While several of Bland’s follow-up singles were more soulfully through 1961, nary a

one ever again cracked the top 40.