How many of you can say that you know someone who has gone up to Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Jon Bon Jovi and asked them to cover one of their songs? I’m guessing none. People that have heard of Billy Franks, but don’t know him, might see him as a relic of a time long past, as a man who had his chance at fame and lost it, as a man who was past his prime.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
Franks is perhaps the greatest unknown artist of his generation. Formally the founder and headliner of The Faith Brothers (who opened for REM and U2, but got turned down by Simple Plan for fear of being shown up ), Billy has 7 solo albums from the past two decades and a new one currently in the works.
In September 2012 his first book, A Far Cry From Sunset, was released to the world – not bad for an autodidactic. It’s a tale that chronologically follows two timelines: one about his childhood and how he came into music, the other recounts how he journeyed with three friends in 2005 back and forth between two continents to get 10 artists to cover a song of an unknown artist, yet an artist who was potentially more passionate about his craft than they were. This artist was Billy Franks. The book also gives an insight into Billy’s past, through the good times and the bad, and provides a truly emotional response.
It is a book version of the film Tribute This, their focus: Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Aaron Neville, Huey Lewis, Steve Earle, Elvis Costello, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen. Success isn’t all that is important here, as it’s the journey that takes place, and passion that they have, that makes the most impact.
‘”You could probably fit all the Billy Franks fans in the world on one tube train.” While this may be true most artists don’t see the same dedication from their fans that Billy does – at the end of the first hour that his book was released on Amazon it was 4th in the International Best Sellers list, the number 1 ‘mover and shaker’ and the 14th Bestselling Biography of 2012 (edging out Justin Bieber and Arnold Schwarzenegger).
The book is a truly emotional read about a man whose dreams never came true, a man who plays music solely because it’s his passion, a man that is loved by all who hear his music.
In 2010 he released a charity single in a partnership with Prince Harry in effort to raise money for Sentebale, the Prince’s African charity. The song will be rereleased this summer to coincide with the 2014 World Cup.
Billy Franks’ “A Far Cry From Sunset” is available now at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Far-Cry-From-Sunset-Superstars/dp/1479340901