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William Bell

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William Bell in B&W

Biography Discography Videos


Official WebsiteOfficial Website
Stax MuseumWilliam Bell Stax Museum

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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 i t six years later with New Lease on Life. In between he was honored with the 2003 W.C. Handy Heritage Award.

-- by Jason Ankeny of All Music Guide.

You Don't Miss Your WaterYou Don't Miss Your Water
I Forgot to be Your LoverI Forgot to be Your Lover
William Bell, Stax Academy (Tangela Mathis) - Private NumberWilliam Bell, Stax Academy (Tangela Mathis) - Private Number

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1967The Soul Of A Bell
1969Bound To Happen
1973Phases Of Reality
1977Comin’ Back For More
1977It’s Time You Took Another Listen
1989On A Roll
1992Bedtime Stories
1994Greatest Hits Volume One
2000A Portrait Is Forever
2006New Lease On Life
2007The Very Best Of William Bell


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1967 The Soul Of A Bell

01. Everybody Loves A Winner
02. You Don’t Miss Your Water
03. Do Right Woman-Do Right Man
04. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
05. Nothing Takes The Place Of You
06. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye
07. Eloise (hang on in there)
08. Any Other Way
09. It’s Happening All Over
10. Never Like This Before
11. You’re Such A Sweet Thang

1968 Duets

01. Let Me Ride
02. Lonely Soldier
03. Get It While It’s Hot
04. Love-Eye-Tis
05. Left Over Love
06. Private Number
07. My Baby Specializes
08. Love’s Sweet Sensation
09. Strung Out
10. Leave The Girl Alone
11. I Can’t Stop
12. I Need You Woman
13. All I Have To Do Is Dream

1969 Bound To Happen

01. I Forgot To Be our Lover
02. Hey Western Union Man
03. My Whole World Is Falling Down
04. Everyday People
05. Johnny, I Love You
06. All God’s Children Got Soul
07. Happy
08. By The Time I get To Phoenix
09. Bring The Curtain Down
10. A Smile Can’t Hide (a broken heart)
11. Born Under A Bad Sign

1971 Wow

01. I Got A Sure Thing
02. I Can’t Make It All By Myself
03. Till My Back Ain’t Got No Bone
04. All For The Love Of A Woman
05. My Door Is Always Open
06. A Penny For Your Thoughts
07. You’ll Want Diamonds
08. Winding, Winding Road
09. Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt
10. I Forgot To Be Your Lover
11. I’ll Be Home

1973 Phases Of Reality

01. Save Us
02. True Love Don’t Come Easy
03. Fifty Dollar Habit
04. What I Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Me
05. Phases Of Reality
06. If You Really Love Him
07. Lonely For Your Love
08. The Man In The Street

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1973 Relating

01. Loving On Borrowed Time
02. All I Need Is Your Love
03. Such A Fever
04. Nobody Walks Away From Love Unhurt
05. Getting What You Want (losing what you got)
06. I’ve Got To Go On Without You
07. Drinkin’ And Thinkin’
08. You’ve Got The Kind Of Love I Need
09. You Don’t Want a Man
10. Nobody But You

1977 Comin’ Back For More

01. Tryin’ To Love Two
02. If Sex Was All We Had
03. Relax
04. You Don’t Miss Your Water
05. Malnutrition
06. Coming Back For More
07. Just Another Way To Feel
08. I Absotively, Posolutely Love You
09. I Wake Up Cryin’
10. You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me

1977 It’s Time You Took Another Listen

01. Easy Coming Out
02. I Don’t Want Nobody To Love Me (but you)
03. Yesterday I Lied, Today I Cried
04. Morning Glory
05. Shed A Little Light On The Subject
06. Satin Sheets
07. Hollywood Streetwalker
08. Your Love Keeps Me Going
09. Let It Shine

1986 Passions

1989 On A Roll

01. Getting Out Of Your Bed
02. If You Don’t Use It
03. I Need Your Love So Bad
04. When You’ve Got The Best
05. On A Roll
06. I’m Ready
07. I Can Do It
08. Short Circuit
09. Holding On To Love

1992 Bedtime Stories

01. Bedtime Story
02. Shake Hands (come out lovin’)
03. I’d Rather Be Blind
04. Baby Don’t Rush
05. Private Number
06. How Long Is My Love
07. Movers And Shakers
08. Paper Thin
09. Keep Your Body Warm
10. I’ll Be Around
11. Crazy ‘Bout Your Love
12. Ain’t Nothing I Won’t Do

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1994 Greatest Hits Volume One

01. Tryin’ To Love Two
02. Bring The Curtain Down
03. Everybody Loves A Winner
04. Lovin’ On Borrowed Time
05. I Forgot to Be Your Lover
06. Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
07. I’ve Got To Go On Without You
08. Any Other Way
09. I Don’t Want To Wake Up (feeling guilty)
10. Born Under A Bad Sign

2000 A Portrait Is Forever

01. Operator
02. Listen With My Mind
03. That’s My Job
04. Come In Out Of The Rain
05. Take Advantage Of A Good Thang
06. After The Paint Comes Off
07. Lifestyles Of The Poor And Unknown
08. I Can’t Leave Your Love Alone
09. If You Can’t Handle The Finance
10. Like A Man
11. You Should’ve Covered Your Tracks
12. Just A Man (working hard)

2006 New Lease On Life

01. New Lease On Life
02. Playaz Only Love You When They’re Playing
03. Part Time Lover (full time friend)
04. My Body Don’t Know
05. Honey From The Bee
06. You Got A Hold On Me
07. Keep A Light In The Window
08. Got An Island Feelin’
09. Treat Her Right (like a lady)
10. Up Close And Personal
11. Save Us
12. Every Sunday Morning

2007 The Very Best Of William Bell

01. You Don’t Miss Your Water
02. Any Other Way
03. Share What You Got
04. Never Like This Before
05. Everybody Loves A Winner
06. Eloise (hang on in there)
07. Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
08. A Tribute To A King
09. Every Man Oughta Have A Woman
10. Private Number
11. I Forgot To Be Your Lover
12. My Baby Specializes
13. My Whole World Is Falling Down
14. Happy
15. Born Under A Bad Sign
16. All For The Love Of A Woman
17. Save Us
18. Lovin’ On Borrowed Time
19. I’ve Got To Go On Without You
20. Getting What You Want (losing what you got)

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Graphics by YSM

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