|William Bruce Field|
|Born||20 January 1953|
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
William Bruce Field (born Wagga Wagga, 20 January 1953) is an Australian jazz, pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has run his own recording studio and has worked as a producer. His solo debut album, Bad Habits (June 1981), reached No. 1 on the Kent Music Report. His top 20 hit singles are "Bad Habits" (April 1981, No. 4), "You Weren't in Love with Me" (July 1981, No. 1) and "True Love" (1982, No. 17).
Billy Field was born in Wagga Wagga in 1953. He grew up on Widgiewa Station, a large sheep and cattle property, near the small Riverina town of Urana - he worked there for various periods until his mid-20s. For secondary education he attended Cranbrook School.
Field replaced Chris Pokorny on bass guitar in a pop band, King Fox, which had formed in Sydney in 1967. He also provided vocals and guitar alongside Dave King on lead vocals, guitar and harmonica; Paul Radcliffe on flute, vocals, guitar and Mellotron; and Andy Evans on drums. They were later joined by Peter Muller on vocals, organ and piano. King Fox issued a four-track extended play, Unforgotten Dreams, on the Du Monde label in 1969 as well as a single, "I Think You're Fine", on Festival records in 1972. Field played in various pub bands in Sydney during the 1970s and, in 1979, he established his own recording studio, initially called Canteen Studios, in Woolloomooloo. It was later renamed, Paradise Studios, and was re-established in Gosford by November 2003.
Field's first solo album, Bad Habits, was released in June 1981 via WEA in Australia and Europe and CBS in the United States. It was arranged by Tom Price and co-produced by Field and Price. It peaked at No. 1 on the Kent Music Report, and No. 4 on the Official New Zealand Music Chart. The title track had appeared in April and it reached No. 4 on the Kent Music Report singles chart, and No. 1 on the Official New Zealand Music Chart. It is co-written by Field and Price and has been covered by other artists including David Lee Roth on his album Diamond Dave (July 2003), John Farnham/Anthony Warlow on Highlights from The Main Event (December 1998) and Jeff Duff.
His next single from the same album, "You Weren't in Love with Me", was released in July 1981 and appeared at No. 1 in Australia, No. 22 in New Zealand, and No. 67 on the UK Singles Chart (in June 1982). The track was written by Field and has also been performed by Beccy Cole and Marina Prior. According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, "[Field] was one of the most popular acts on the Australian scene" in 1981, as a "husky voiced singer/piano player."The Australian Women's Weeklys Susan Moore observed, "[his] music is conducive to a bright mood. He dared to be a little different and got away with it. His breezy, swing style of music is punctuated with refined blasts of orchestration."
Field's second album, Try Biology, appeared in 1982 and provided his third Australian hit single, "True Love", which reached No. 17. The album was also produced by Price. Lisa Perry of The Canberra Times caught his performance at Queanbeyan in September of that year, "he still has what it takes to entertain even the hardest of audiences. If you are in any way interested in some good jazz, interspersed with some driving rock and roll, you would have had to agree that [Field] is a unique talent." Her newspaper colleague, Karen Milliner, described how the single did not reflect his style, "[it] is a commercial number which obviously has succeeded, but it's the only one of its ilk on the album. Apart from two slow songs on side two, the rest of the tracks have that jazz and big-band sound which Field loves -- lots of jazz piano, trumpets, trombones and sax... [his] gravel-edged throaty voice is ideally suited to jazz, and there's some great jazz piano and brass arrangements featured."
In November 1985 Field was guest lead vocalist for Warren Daly's band (ex-Daly-Wilson Big Band), The Canberra Times Michael Foster observed, "[Daly is] expected to put a tight and exciting band of accomplished musicians on the stage ... and the combination with [Field] makes the prospect even more fascinating... if Field decides to demonstrate, even beyond his undoubted ability as a composer, lyricist and singer, his skills on bass, piano, drums, guitar or woodwinds." In 1989 he issued a third album, Say Yes, on the Agape label. It was produced by Field alone. The Canberra Times Kathryn Whitfield felt, "his voice is not one that you would describe as versatile, the music on this album does exhibit an interesting variety ranging from love ballads to the raunchy 'Blue Boogie'... This is a pleasant kind of easy-listening album, tailored for the AM radio market. It may put a smile on mum's face, but it will put the more nubile to sleep."
Interest in Field's music was re-generated in November 2004 after a contestant, Courtney Murphy, performed "You Weren't in Love with Me", on TV talent show, Australian Idol. One of the judges, Ian "Dicko" Dickson, indicated that he liked it but had not heard it before. Murphy was also a guest on ABC TV's Spicks and Specks, a celebrity pop music quiz program, in 2005 and revisited his performance. This interest led to the release of a compilation album, The Best of Billy Field: You Weren't in Love with Me (Aztec Music, 2005) on CD. Murphy's performance of the song is credited on the liner notes as the impetus for an increase in interest in the artist's back catalogue.