Music in Dreamland is the biography of Bill Nelson, sublime guitar stylist and art rock legend. It takes the reader on a big-dipper ride through his musical career and turbulent life and times. Born in 1948, his CV reads like a history of post-war British music. It encompasses blues, gospel rock, glam rock, new wave, electronica and ambient.
Bill Nelson is best known as guitarist, singer and songwriter with 70s art rock band, Be Bop Deluxe. Be Bop came to prominence through a combination of rock theatrics and Nelson&rsquos flamboyant guitar work. Between 1972 and 1978, he got through three line-ups of the band, moving from glam rock to new wave, via the band&rsquos art rock masterwork, Sunburst Finish. Perpetual motion personified, Nelson split Be Bop Deluxe and formed the short-lived Red Noise with whom he recorded the new wave classic, Sound on Sound before embarking on a long and ever-changing solo career.
Music in Dreamland is based upon extensive conversations with Bill Nelson and research into his vast personal archive. There are also interviews with members of Be Bop Deluxe and Red Noise, his early bands the Teenagers, Global Village and Gentle Revolution, and music industry luminaries such as John Peel, John Leckie, Steve Harley and David Sylvian. Staggeringly prolific and endlessly inventive, Bill Nelson has been at the forefront of advances in electronic composition, rhythm programming, home recording and sampling. He has applied his talents to record production, video direction and sleeve art. Among his numerous credits are scores for TV, short films and art exhibitions.
Music in Dreamland contains in-depth discussions of key albums. The text is illustrated throughout with photos and drawings, many of which are published here for the first time. It explores the myriad influences on Bill Nelson’s work, from jazz and Jimi Hendrix to Jean Cocteau and Japan. It also looks for the legacy of his work in the musical landscape and seeks to explain why it hasn’t gained its due recognition.
Hardback copies limited to 500
Published by Helter Skelter in January 2009