|

Click here to expand and collapse the player

Billy Lee Riley

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (2 ratings)
  • Born: Pocohontas, AR
  • Died: Jonesboro, AR
  • Years Active: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Billy Lee Riley is a rockabilly singer and multi-instrumentalist. An alumnus of Sun Records, he was one of the most crazed, unabashed rockers that label had to offer -- in the company of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Sonny Burgess, that's saying a lot. Proficient at harmonica, guitar, bass, and drums, Riley contributed as a sideman to many a classic Sun session, and his combo, the Little Green Men (most notably guitarist Roland Janes and drummer J.M. Van Eaton), in time became the Sun house band. Riley recorded for a number of labels in a variety of styles, especially effective with blues. Though never commercially successful, Riley's Sun recordings of "Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll" and "Red Hot" (both covered in wooden renditions by Robert Gordon) remain landmarks of the genre.

eMusic Features

0

Flying Saucers Rock & Roll

By Lenny Kaye, Contributor

Of all rock's family tendrils, rockabilly is the one that keeps re-boppin', sporting a revival every decade or so, its coming-of-age kicks allowing each new offspring to roll its own. Guitar-heavy, emphasizing Wild Ones rebellion ("whaddya got?") and sonic dazzle (heavy on the reverb and chest vibrato), it raves and paves garage-punk (The Seeds to Damned), shockabilly (The Cramps and Chadbourne), new-wave (Stray Cats and Dire Straits), waggle-wobble (Jon Spencer and Boss Hog), Nirvana and… more »