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Acker Bilk
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    (January 28, 1929-November 2, 2014)
    Born in Pensford, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Bernard Stanley Bilk
    Trad jazz clarinetist
    Recorded the singles 'Summer Set' (1960), 'White Cliffs of Dover' (1960), 'Stranger on the Shore' (1962), 'Lonely' (1962), 'A Taste of Honey' (1963) and 'Aria' (1976)
    Also played in the bands of Chris Barber and Kenny Ball
    Named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music (2001)
    'Acker' is West Country slang for 'mate' or 'friend'
    He spent three months in military prison after falling asleep during guard duty in the Suez (1947).
    He called his clarinet 'That thing I stick in my head and blow.'
    He claimed his distinctive clarinet sound was the result of losing two front teeth in a school fight.
    His standard appearance featured a bowler hat, striped waistcoat and goatee.
    'Stranger on the Shore' was his only song to be a hit in the US.
    After 50 years, he declared himself 'fed up' with having to play 'Stranger' at every performance (2012).
    He lost half a finger in a childhood sledding accident.
    He and his childhood sweetheart Jean were married for 60 years.
    'Stranger on the Shore' was the first song by a British performer to top the Billboard singles chart during the rock era.
    'Stranger on the Shore' was the biggest hit of 1962 in both the US and Britain, where it stayed on the charts for 55 weeks.
    He gave three Royal Command Performances (1962,1978,1981).

Credit: C. Fishel

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