By Tom Semioli
You’ve heard him on the radio…you’ve heard him on the juke box on the song “Juke Box Hero” among many others….and you’ve likely seen him on the concert stage. Rick Wills commenced his remarkable chart topping career as a bassist with British blues rockers Jokers Wild in 1965 – which also featured future Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. He also anchored hard rockers Cochise for a few slabs which never quite reached their commercial potential despite their stellar output.
Among the most sought after recording and touring bassists in the album rock era (1970s-1980s), Rick plies his craft with a decidedly rhythm and blues disposition, usually on a Fender Precision. His high profile gigs include Peter Frampton’s Camel, Roxy Music (Viva Roxy / 1975), solo Bryan Ferry, and the revamped Small Faces. In 1979, Rick commenced a fourteen-year career with Foreigner – waxing several platinum slabs whilst filling arenas around the globe.
In 1992 Rick joined Bad Company following Boz’s second or third exit, and helmed the bass chair for Lynyrd Skynyrd for a spell when their original bassist left for health reasons. In recent years Rick and Small Faces / Faces / Who drummer Kenny Jones are on the bandstand under the guise of “The Jones Gang.”
Among Rick’s stellar recordings include David Gilmour’s self- titled debut (1978) wherein he utilizes flange and chorus effects and harmonic extensions to augment the guitarist’s best work outside of the Floyd.
Rick Wills Sound & Vision and Zoom Zessions:
Cochise: “59th Street Bridge Song” https://youtu.be/VQtMF8ljtGg
“Don’t Fade Away” https://youtu.be/D3HB6ZWVCWo
“All I Wanna Be Is By Your Side” https://youtu.be/AoOu5Xa-Iw4
“It’s A Plain Shame” https://youtu.be/pgwEFO651bE
“Do You Feel Like We Do” https://youtu.be/CGczyG6-aAw
“Something’s Happening” https://youtu.be/mif_MW8YeUU
“Doobie Wah” https://youtu.be/3VM0wb7RqeI
With Bryan Ferry and Chris Spedding “Let’s Stick Together” https://youtu.be/Z9EbR0ckb40
David Gilmour: “Mihalis” https://youtu.be/HTQHA0tOG9A
“Night Life” https://youtu.be/4cAy3hK5tNs
“Juke Box Hero” https://youtu.be/W_TOsFvnmeQ
Small Faces: “High and Happy” https://youtu.be/U0cnbOo6fe8
Bad Company: “Clearwater Highway” https://youtu.be/5aTwhe5seSg
The Jones Gang EPK: https://youtu.be/hkYXyAh65us