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William Bell

A principal architect of the Stax/Volt sound, singer/composer William Bell remains best known for his classic "You Don't Miss Your Water," one of the quintessential soul records to emerge from the Memphis scene. Born William Yarborough on July 16, 1939, he cut his teeth backing Rufus Thomas, and in 1957 recorded his first sides as a member of the Del Rios. After joining the Stax staff as a writer, in 1961 Bell made his solo debut with the self-penned "You Don't Miss Your Water," an archetypal slice of country-soul and one of the label's first big hits. A two-year Armed Forces stint effectively derailed his career, however, and he did not release his first full-length album, The Soul of a Bell, until 1967, generating a Top 20 hit with the single "Everybody Loves a Winner"; that same year, Albert King also scored with another classic Bell composition, the oft-covered "Born Under a Bad Sign."

Bell's next solo hit, 1968's "A Tribute to a King," was a poignant farewell to the late Otis Redding; the R&B Top Ten hit "I Forgot to Be Your Lover" soon followed, and a series of duets with Judy Clay, most notably "Private Number," also earned airplay. In 1969, he relocated to Atlanta and set up his own label, Peachtree; the hits dried up as the next decade opened, but in 1977 Bell capped a major comeback with "Trying to Love Two," which topped the R&B charts. In 1985, he founded another label, Wilbe, and issued Passion, which found its most receptive audiences in the U.K. (although "I Don't Want to Wake Up Feeling Guilty," a duet with Janice Bullock, was a minor U.S. hit). In addition to subsequent LPs, including 1989's On a Roll and 1992's Bedtime Stories, in 1987 Bell was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, that same year receiving the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's R&B Pioneer Award. After 1992, Bell took a lengthy hiatus from the recording studio, though he still performed regularly. In 2000, he released an album of all-new material on Wilbe entitled A Portrait Is Forever and followed it six years later with New Lease on Life. In between he was honored with the 2003 W.C. Handy Heritage Award. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

kebris.mille r
I love William Bell, He's one of the greatest R&B singers of all time
Ja hem stole that one
Sang it nothing. Stays the same
Loving on borrowed(mem o r i e s )
Mr. Bell ur the man.
William bell is one of a kind.
love it
Explain it so they will know how they should say it William Bell!
This music take me back, and remind me of all the good times I had, will forever love it.
miltonsweetn e s s m
Love this music there nothing like old school people we have got to get back to this real music
W. Bell you sound so good singing this sing. Brings back so many Memories.
lljgrant
Learn from ur mistakes...F o r g o t to b her LOVER...WOW
A major part of my teen years ( blue lights in the basement!) were spent grooving, listening, dancing and falling in/out of love with this music as the backdrop. Good music ALWAYS lives on.
get big music like this take you back djlove06 make get on yopur feert
pam.watson8
Classic old school soul!
fonnyl
I can't see this name without thinking of Leonard Nimoy.
Love William Bell,my first real love,mailed me a letter saying "You Don't
Miss Your Water Until Your Well Runs Dry",after our breakup.I wouldn't take him back!!!!!!
I had completely stopped listening to old school, new school music,but browsing on this website brought me to a place into yesterday! I'm o.k. with this, I just can't forget my firs love.
I Love Mr. Bell's music, I can relate to what he was trying to say, cause trying to love too sho aint easy toooo do.
srpeppers
This music today can't touch the old school music. Old school music contains meaning and it was something that the person singing could actually relate to. I love my old school and very seldom listen to the radio in my car.
When I heard the song "I forgot to be your lover"; I tried to remember who did the remake - it was Jaheim. Jaheim is an awesome singer; but he could not hold a candle to Mr. Bell's original version.
Cool ole school.
That was fat!!
I have always loved my old school music.Our song have so much deep feelings reminds you of a love affair or a relationship and the love a man an woman felt deep down in their soul. Some of the younger artist do they best and some are not too,too bad but Johnny Taylor Tryone Davis Bobby Blue Bland just to name a few Will clayton is new to me I do not remember him and he is good too. I love his remake of simply beautiful.Oh
I almost for for about Curtis Mayflied The making of you.Then you have
Do the damn thing Bell nobody can do it like you do. hoping to reach one of your concerts real soon.
i really like Bell's music, i have seen in concert several times at my cousins club in Warren county NC, he is still a great singer
Why did it take me so long to learn about him? Such a voice, and such a fantastic songwriter.
Lonnie coleman you don't miss your water until the well runs dry 9-03-08
rayfordnewet t
greatest hit, everybody loves a winner.
william bell's trying to love two is a situation many of us can relate to.
i love to hear love songs like w. bell it make you feel that you not going throuht by your self
You have a great voice...
tinyg111
William Bell's "I Fogot To Be Your Lover" is just one of his many wonderful hits.

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