BILLY HOWARD, originator of VARIETY SHOWTIME, was born January 1942, London, England. On leaving school he worked as a trainee sales manager with a Baker Street wholesalers, but his heart was in jazz and, after most teenage years as a semi-pro trombonist, turned pro in 1961 with traditional jazz outfit, Gerry Brown’s Jazzmen.
Switching to trumpet shortly afterwards, he played American bases with a London dance combo for 18 months, then with traditional jazz bands before joining the Dennis Lee Trio and their comedy act `The Wanted Three` for 2 years. After playing trumpet ‘on the boats’ his final gig with the trio was a summer season in Jersey, Channel Islands, from where he went to Manchester for a year as a budding solo instrumental cabaret act.
He gradually added impressions to his club act which culminated with major success and international recognition when his classic single Hit Record "KING OF THE COPS" featuring hilarious impressions of US TV Cops - Kojak, Columbo, McCloud, Cannon et al - spent 14 weeks in the UK Top 20. Reaching Number 4 in the British Charts, it sold more than a quarter of a million copies worldwide in the late 1970's.
TV and LIVE CABARET
“King Of The Cops” was a remarkable recording debut considering the track was originally made "for a giggle". It remains one of the truly prominent solo comedy successes of British singles as well as enjoying outstanding chart achievement in countries as far apart as Sweden, Zambia and Mexico!
Billy took his multi-instrumental and impersonating talents to the road and overseas for over 25 years with literally thousands of live cabaret shows in Britain, including regular appearances in various summer season venues. He’s also remembered for spots on London Weekend TV’s comedy show “ NOW WHO DO YOU DO?” with Freddie Starr, Janet Brown et al.
For someone in his early 80’s this former jazz musician still plays a mean trumpet, while his fingers can also fly up and down the guitar neck at great speed.
Upon retiring some 20 years ago Billy became active in charity work, initially selling lottery tickets for the originally-named Pasque Hospice Childrens` Charity. He`s since created his own variety theatre show VARIETY SHOWTIME! to provide support for various charitable causes throughout the U.K.