Thursday, May 9, 2013
William Bell - Soul Of A Bell / Bound To Happen
Most of what was said about Eddie Floyd's role at Stax applies equally well to William Bell. He wrote, sang, produced and help to craft the Stax Sound. Bell's own "You Don't Miss Your Water" was an early hit for Stax in 1961 but just as he was getting rolling a two year hitch in the military set back a promising solo career. He returned to Stax after getting out but not until 1966-67 did he finally regain some traction with "Share What You Got (But Keep What You Need)" and "Everybody Loves a Winner", resulting in the fine LP 'Soul Of A Bell'. 1967 also saw his song (co-written with Booker T Jones) "Born Under A Bad Sign" scoring a big hit for Albert King.
In 1968 Bell scored again with his "Tribute To A King" for the late Otis Redding. An album of duets yielded "Private Number" with Judy Clay but not much else that was memorable. Before the year was out Bell recorded "I Forgot To Be Your Lover", a Top 10 R&B hit for him and, 20 years later, a Top 10 Pop hit for Billy Idol. The album "Bound To Happen" followed in 1969.
Bell stayed with Stax to the end, recording 3 or 4 more "nice" but not particularly successful albums. In 1976, the year after Stax folded, he had his biggest hit "Trying to Love Two," which topped the R&B charts for Mercury.
William Bell relocated to Atlanta and continued in the business in various capacities (including founding two labels) and recorded a number of locally successful albums. He still performs on occasion in R&B Legends shows. He has received honors as an R&B Pioneer and a W.C. Handy award.