Billy J. Kramer is a huge part of rock and roll history.
Born William Howard Ashton, Billy grew up in Liverpool, England. Upon leaving school, he became an apprentice engineer by day and an aspiring singer by night, performing under the stage name Billy Kramer (with “Kramer” chosen at random from the telephone directory).
Billy’s performance at local rock clubs around Liverpool soon brought him to the attention of John Lennon. Acknowledging Billy’s pop-idol potential, John urged Brian Epstein to sign Billy to an exclusive management contract. Needless to say, Billy jumped at the opportunity.
Soon after, Billy was summoned to Brian’s office and found John there with the suggestion that he add the “J to his name to give it a “rock and roll edge”.
From then on, Billy became known as Billy J. Kramer.
Billy went on to become the first artist (including the Beatles themselves) to record a Lennon-McCartney song. Do You Want To Know A Secret shot to #1 in the UK charts, and started a string of international hits for Billy written especially for him by John and Paul.
The smash hit “Bad To Me” along with “I’ll Keep You Satisfied”, “From A Window”, and “I Call Your Name” all became international million sellers for Billy, and appearances on the TV shows Shindig, Hullabaloo and The Ed Sullivan Show secured Billy a place in Rock and Roll History.
Although Billy greatly appreciated the songs given to him by John and Paul, he decided to record a song written by American songwriters Mort Shuman & John Leslie McFarland. Billy’s insight proved correct as “Little Children” became a worldwide hit! He then went on to record a Burt Bacharach song, “Trains and Boats and Planes” which also was a huge hit for him.
Billy’s international momentum has continued through the years.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The British Invasion, Billy has just released his first cd in over 30 years, titled I Won The Fight, which includes an ode to his hometown written by Billy called To Liverpool With Love.
Billy is thrilled to take part in the Rock and Roll Autograph show and will be selling and signing cds of the original recordings of his hits as well as copies of the new cd.
A portion of Billy’s proceeds from this show will be donated to a cause that Billy is very passionate about called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Drinking and driving has reached epidemic proportions and Billy feels not enough funding and attention are given to this problem.