|Height:||171 cm (5' 8'')|
|Birth Day:||January 28, 1929|
|Death Date:||November 2, 2014|
As per our current Database, Acker Bilk died on November 2, 2014.
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|171 cm (5' 8'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Bilk was born in Pensford, Somerset, in 1929. He earned the nickname "Acker" from the Somerset slang for "friend" or "mate". His parents tried to teach him the piano but, as a boy, Bilk found it restricted his love of outdoor activities, including football. He lost two front teeth in a school fight and half a finger in a sledging accident, both of which he said affected his eventual clarinet style.
Bilk continued to tour with his Paramount Jazz Band, as well as performing concerts with his two contemporaries, Chris Barber and Kenny Ball, both of whom were born in 1930, as "The 3Bs". Bilk also provided vocals on many of his tracks, including on "I'm an Old Cowhand", "The Folks Who Live on the Hill", "White Cliffs of Dover", "Travellin On" and "That's My Home".
Bilk played with friends on the Bristol jazz circuit and in 1951 moved to London to play with Ken Colyer's band. Bilk disliked London, so returned west and formed his own band in Pensford called the Chew Valley Jazzmen, which was renamed the Bristol Paramount Jazz Band when they moved to London in 1951. Their agent then booked them for a six-week gig in Düsseldorf, Germany, playing in a beer bar seven hours a night, seven nights a week. During this time, Bilk and the band developed their distinctive style and appearance, complete with striped-waistcoats and bowler hats.
After returning from Germany, Bilk became based in Plaistow, London, and his band played in London jazz clubs. It was from here that Bilk became part of the boom in trad jazz in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s. In 1960, their single "Summer Set" (a pun on their home county), co-written by Bilk and pianist Dave Collett, reached number five on the UK Singles Chart, and began a run of 11 chart hit singles. ("Summer Set" was also use prominently in Daniel Farson's controversial 1960 television documentary Living for Kicks, a portrait of British teenage life at the time). In 1961 "Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band" appeared at the Royal Variety Performance.
At the height of his international fame in 1962, he appeared in two theatrical motion pictures. It's Trad, Dad! (released in the United States by Columbia Pictures as Ring-a-Ding Rhythm) was a Richard Lester musical combining dixieland and rock-and-roll specialties; "Mr. Acker Bilk" and his band were the best represented, with three songs and a speaking role for Bilk. The second picture, Band of Thieves, was a comedy starring "Mr. Acker Bilk" and his group as musicians in prison. His music was also heard on the soundtracks to films such as Bitter Harvest (1963), West 11 (1963), and the musical comedy It's All Over Town (1964). He also played a cameo role in the latter film.
Bilk recorded a series of albums in Britain that were also released successfully in the United States (on the Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco), including a collaboration, Together, with the Danish jazz pianist and composer Bent Fabric ("The Alley Cat"). Bilk's success tapered off when British rock and roll made its big international impact beginning in 1964 and he shifted direction to the cabaret circuit. He finally had another chart success in 1976 with "Aria", which went to number five in the United Kingdom. In May 1977 Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band provided the interval act for the Eurovision Song Contest. His last chart appearance was in 1978, when the TV-promoted album released on Pye/Warwick, Evergreen, reached 17 in a 14-week album chart run. In the early 1980s, Bilk and his signature hit were newly familiar, due to "Stranger on the Shore" being used in the soundtrack to Sweet Dreams, the film biography of country music singer Patsy Cline. "Aria" featured as a central musical motif in the 2012 Polish film Mój rower [pl].
In 1997, Bilk was diagnosed with throat cancer, which was treated through surgery and then followed by daily radiation therapy at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre. Subsequently, he had eight keyhole operations for bladder cancer and suffered a minor stroke.
One of his recordings was with the Chris Barber band, sharing the clarinet spot with the band's regular reedsmen, John Crocker and Ian Wheeler. Bilk made a CD with Wally Fawkes for the Lake label in 2002. He appeared on three albums by Van Morrison: Down the Road; What's Wrong With This Picture?; and Born to Sing: No Plan B.
In 2005 he was awarded the BBC Jazz Awards' "Gold Award".
In 2012 Bilk said that, after fifty years, he was "fed up" with playing his most famous tune, "Stranger on the Shore".
Bilk died in Bath, Somerset, on 2 November 2014, at the age of 85. He was survived by his wife and two children.
Currently, Acker Bilk is 92 years, 11 months and 30 days old. Acker Bilk will celebrate 93rd birthday on a Friday 28th of January 2022.
Find out about Acker Bilk birthday activities in timeline view here.