b. William Larry Stewart, 24th March 1937, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
d. 17th January 1970, Neuse River, Smithfield, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Billy Stewart was born in in Washington, D.C., and was one of 4 brothers (the other's being Johnny, Frank and James Stewart).
He began singing with his brothers at the age of 12, in his mother's group 'the Stewart Gospel Singers', and the quartet had their own radio show, for a five year stint, at W.U.S.T. Radio in Washington, under the name of the Four Stewart Brothers.
Singing Gospel music, Billy made the transition to the secular market performing with a group called the Rainbows (whose line-up included a young Don Covay.
billy's blues - 1956 / fat boy - 1962
The association with Bo led to Billy signing to the Chess imprint, with Bo performing guitar on Billy's 1956 recording 'Billy's Blues'.
Billy then switched labels to the Okeh Records imprint, recording 'Billy's Heartache'.
On the song, Billy was backed by the Marquees, (whose line-up featured Marvin Gaye).
Billy switched back to Chess Records during the 1960's.
At this time he began working with A&R man Billy Davis.
His recordings of the songs 'Fat Boy', 'Reap What You Sow' and 'Strange Feeling' reached the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 30 in the R&B charts.
i do love you - 1965 / unbelievable - 1966
His real chart success arrived in 1965 with two self penned compositions, namely 'I Do Love You' (which reached number 6 R&B, and number 26 on the Pop charts) and 'Sitting in the Park' (number 4 R&B, number 24 Pop).
The former song featured his brother Johnny Stewart singing background vocals, whilst the latter became a U.K. hit for the Blue Eyed U.K. singer, Georgie Fame.
cross my heart - 1967 / billy stewart teaches old dogs new tricks - 1967
In 1966, Billy released the album 'Unbelievable', which featured his take on the George Gershwin song, 'Summertime', a Top 10 hit on both the pop and R&B charts.
A second single was Billy's cover version of the Doris Day melody, 'Secret Love'.
The release reached the Pop Top 30 and just missed the Top 10 on the R&B chart.
remembered - 1969 / press photo
Billy continued to record material throughout the Sixties, however, his health suffered, due mainly to Billy's physical stature, which in turn lead to him developing diabetes.
Billy suffered minor injuries in a motorcycle accident in 1969 and died the following January, just two months prior to his 33rd birthday.
The car he was driving plunged into the Neuse River in Smithfield, North Carolina, killing him and three members of his band.
He was laid to rest in Landover, Prince George's County, Maryland, U.S.A.
I Do Love You (Chess Records 1965)
Unbelievable (Chess Records 1966)
Billy Stewart Teaches Old Standards New Tricks (Chess Records 1967)
Cross My Heart (Cadet/Chess Records 1967)
Remembered (Chess Records 1969)