Acker Bilk, in his 80s now, has won immortality on rock oldies radio for his 1962 hit Stranger on the Shore, "an evocative ballad featuring his heavily quavering low-register clarinet over a bank of strings".
To the jazz world, though, he has a longer-running track record as one of the biggest stars of Britain's trad jazz boom, playing in a distinctive early New Orleans style. Several other British hits followed, but none bigger than this one single, which Bilk wrote for his daughter Jenny.
It stayed 55 weeks on the British charts and crossed the sea to America, where it hit number one in the radio era. He once said that it's for "my old-age pension" and till now remains a beloved standard of jazz and popular music alike.
On 22nd April 1963, he came to Singapore and was interviewed with this story. He recalled how he played the clarinet to pass the time in an army prison in Egypt in the 40s. "I had been court martialled for falling asleep on guard duty and got three months detention to pass the time and practised 5 hours a day. By the time I was released I was so interested in jazz I joined a band and played at army concerts.
The band has appeared in three films and has broadcast hundreds of times on the radio and TV in Britain. It has made several hit records. They appeared at the Goodwood Park Hotel and also gave a public concert at the Singapore Badminton Hall.
Article: Wikipedia/Acker Bilk Biography/Straits Times Press, Singapore.