24 November 2021

Bill Holden, 25 July 1950-15 Nov. 2021

The BIB learns with regret of the death of banjo-player William O'Neal 'Bill' Holden, as reported by Richard Thompson on Bluegrass Today. In the 1970s he was a member of the Country Gentlemen, recording on two of the band's albums on the Rebel label, and later (Sept. 1976-Aug. 1977) a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. In both bands he contributed his own compositions to the repertoire, and YouTube videos of two of his tunes, 'Texas chili' and 'Pinewood Valley', can be seen in the Bluegrass Today feature, which includes a discography. Richard concludes: 'For those who knew him, he will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality as well as his musical talent and a love for the history of bluegrass music.'

BIB editor's note: Michael Corcoran has added to the obituary the following note: 'When Bill Keith joined the BGB in 1963, Mr Monroe renamed him 'Brad' because there could be only one 'Bill' in the BGB. By the time Bill Holden joined the band, however, Monroe’s position had evidently softened. As far as I know, Bill Holden was the only 'Bill' other than Monroe himself in the BGB.'

However, as I wrote on 4 Oct., Keith himself has made it clear that calling him 'Brad' was not imposed in any 'I'm-the-only-Bill-around-here' spirit; Monroe suggested it to him because of possible confusion in the band from having two people with the same first name.

© Richard Hawkins

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