b. William Griffin, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
There is no doubting, however, that he is a fine singer in his own right.
He auditioned for Motown in Los Angeles in the early 70's and became the lead singer with The Miracles in 1971.
Billy sang with such groups as Last Dynasty, before eventually joining the Miracles.
with the miracles
Replacing Smokey Robinson, Billy was not a professional singer, and many doubted his longevity with the group.
city of angels
In 1975, the Miracles released the album, 'City Of Angels', featuring the multi million selling 'Love Machine' (U.K. Top 5 in 1976).
Billy and The Miracles scored two instant gold 45's, a platinum single, one gold album and one platinum LP.
The soul opera 'City Of Angels' was written and performed by Billy.
Popular on the U.K. club circuit was the track 'Ain't Nobody Straight in L.A.'
'City Of Angels' became one of Motown Records most successful albums.
the power of music / be with me
'Power To The Music' (released in 1976) was the last Miracles album on Motown before the group switched to CBS before later going their separate ways.
In 1983, Billy signed to CBS, as a solo artist, and worked with writer / producer John Barnes on 'Be With Me'.
The album included the U.K. Top 20 hit, 'Hold Me Tighter In The Rain'.
That top twenty hit earned him the English 'Silver Record Award' comparable to the Gold Record in the United States.
respect / systematic
Following that outing, Billy returned to the studio for 'Respect' (1983), which included the U.K. Top 75 hit, 'Serious'.
His final CBS 1985 album, 'Systematic', was co-produced by Leon Ware and Wayne Lewis.
In 1986, he switched labels to Atlantic and released the single 'Believe It Or Not'.
An album was recorded, but did not materialize due to differences of opinion with the label.
In 1990, Billy co-produced fifty-two Motown artists along with English producer Ian Levine.
Here his debut single was 'First In Line', co-written and produced by Levine.
Billy has also had an acting career in a few American soap operas.
In 1996, Billy and Ian Levine worked together again for 'The Best of Billy Griffin', which was released by the Miami-based Hot Productions.
Billy worked alongside Levine in the early days with the UK 'boy band' Take That, as a producer.
Additionally, Billy teamed up again with jazz saxophonist Gerald Albright for his debut album, whilst guest-starring on the debut solo project of Japanese jazz drummer Akiro Jimbo of Cassiopea.
The collaboration with Jimbo also resulted in a Gold Album and introduced Akiro to the American Smooth Jazz market.
Billy's rendition of 'Olivia' placed Akiro's album at the top of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart for four weeks.
Billy's music has been heard in various movies such as 'Chicken Run', 'BAPS', 'Donnie Brasco', 'Be Be's Kids', as well as Fox TV's 'Ally McBeal' and NBCs 'Friends'.
Billy worked in Sweden, at the start of the new millennium, developing projects for his multi-media company Blitz Inc.
A new album is in the offing, along with a future re-release of his 1986 single 'Believe It Or Not'.
With The Miracles:
Renaissance (Tamla 1973)
Do It Baby (Tamla 1974)
Don't Cha Love It (Tamla 1975)
City Of Angels (Tamla 1975)
The Power Of Music (Tamla 1976)
Be With Me (CBS 1983)
Respect (Columbia 1983)
Systematic (CBS 1985)
The Best Of Billy Griffin (Hot Productions 1996)
Billy Griffin 2001 (2001)
Like Water (Expansion Records 2006)