Billy Miller

Under Appreciated

One cool thing about the Cramps is that they were always about half women, half men.  One of their drummers, Miriam Linna met Billy Miller at a record show in 1977; and their common musical interests led them to form a fanzine called Kicks, dedicated to obscure rock, soul and rockabilly.  They are now married.
A 1986 article in Kicks on Hasil Adkins caused a sensation, and Norton Records was born when they released Out to Hunch later that year, the first of several albums collecting Adkins’s music.
The liner notes on The Lonesome Drifter LP – written by Kicks and Norton Records co-founder Billy Miller – says of his best known song:  “‘Eager Boy’ epitomizes full throttled rockabilly – a cocksure lead vocal and trigger-happy guitar riding atop a solid slap bass rhythm.”   He continues:  “Eager Boy’ arguably stands as rockabilly’s high water mark, rightfully commanding a king’s ransom among today’s collectors.”  As an example, in the week ending May 20, 2010, the original “Eager Boy” 45 was the third highest selling vinyl record on eBay, bringing an astounding $5,100.69.
(May 2011)
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Of course, these are all people who are more or less well known.  Other singer-songwriters live in obscurity but still produce their music year after year.  One example is Hasil Adkins, the rockabilly one-man band from rural West Virginia that I have discussed previously.  Once Miriam Linna and Billy Miller of Kicks magazine brought him to a wider audience, launching one of the best reissue record labels in the process (Norton Records), Adkins had some celebrity in the final years of his life.  Wikipedia and Allmusic list 10 studio albums and 6 compilation albums by Hasil Adkins; I’m up to I think 5 albums myself thus far.  If not for NortonHasil Adkins would have been almost completely unknown, and that would be a tragedy in my mind. 

(March 2015)
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Just this month I learned of the untimely death of writer and musician Billy Miller, and also the co-founder (with wife Miriam Linna, a former drummer with the alt-rockabilly band the Cramps) of the excellent reissue label Norton Records, who was responsible for introducing Hasil Adkins to a wider audience through such albums as Out to Hunch, Poultry in Motion and The Wild Man. I learned of a past UARA named the Lonesome Drifter through their albums.
(Year 7 Review)
Last edited: March 22, 2021