August 27, 2011 – 4:40 am

Bill Nelson or David Bowie or Marc Bolan? What’s in a name?

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Chicago 1976 [no label, 1CD]

Live at the Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL; March 21, 1976. Dates for this show vary. Some place it as April 21 others May 12. But it is usually listed as 1976. Ex SBD stereo.

Here’s Be Bop Deluxe at arguably the peak of their powers - on tour on the back of the ‘Sunburst Finish’ album, bristling with confidence and kicking ass and taking names. No surprises on the setlist, but what a great selection and a nifty unreleased jam led by the Godlike genius of Mr Nelson to keep the faithful happy… Whattaguy. -

Bill Nelson’s guitar solo on “Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape” from “Live In The Air Age” album is nothing less than magnificent. -

Killer version of Blazing Apostles. -

A man who had the name Rogers Nelson, decided to call himself Prince and later TAFKAP (”The Artist Formerly Known as Prince”). David Robert Jones changed his to Bowie. Mark Feld became Marc Bolan. You get the picture.

Bill Nelson emerged around the same time as Marc Bolan (T Rex) and David Bowie (Spiders From Mars) and formed a band named Be Bop Deluxe. Legend has it that Paul McCartney was at Abbey Road when Nelson and his be bops were recording their first album. The man who would later be knighted found the music to his approval. It kicked royally.

You can hear Bill “blazing” away in Hendrix mode on Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape, the Blues track and, of course, Blazing Apostles. Lyrically, Nelson’s songs were sci-fi in nature, featuring airships and robots.

While the masses do not remember Bill Nelson or Be Bop Deluxe, Nelson remembers the glory days. On Be Bop Deluxe’s wikipedia page there is this cryptic note:

“Despite their commercial success, Bill Nelson says that until today (2002) he has never received any royalties for any of his music that was released via the EMI record label.”

Full tragic story here.

The internet makes it possible to share this unreleased show. Remember Bill Nelson.
- The Little Chicken

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (sample rate 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Fair Exchange (7.8MB)
Track 02. Stage Whispers (4.8MB)
Track 03. Life In The Air Age (7.9MB)
Track 04. Sister Seagull (6.5MB)
Track 05. Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape (15.4MB)
Track 06. Maid In Heaven (3.9MB)
Track 07. Ships In The Night (6.0MB)
Track 08. Blues (12.6MB)
Track 09. Blazing Apostles (21.7MB)

Bill Nelson - guitar
Charlie Tumahai - bass
Simon Fox - drums
Andrew Clarke - keyboards

The band was promoting the then new album Sunburst Finish at the time of this 1976 tour. Buy it here.

NOTE: We’re not sure if Bill and Be Bop Deluxe get any money when you buy their albums.

  1. 19 Responses to “THE ONES THAT DIDN’T MAKE IT”

  2. So what exactly does this have to do with Marc Bolan, David Bowie, or Prince?

    By YogaforCynics on Aug 27, 2011

  3. Hey YogaforCynics, maybe that is what is meant by “and taking names” - or maybe name-dropping?? The Chicken clucked away, we were led astray, and the name-changers ran off with the picture (close-up of the varying background of psychedelic goo from Monterey Pop fills the screen, while Jimi serves up guitar, lightly toasted).

    By 3yrsnojob on Aug 27, 2011

  4. Every music artist should be forced to read the Full Tragic Story of Bill Nelson before ever signing to a label - if those sorts of things still occur. Kinda know about this stuff on a small scale. In 2000 I had my label name that I started in 1999 taken and unique album cover artwork copied, which basically ended everything I was trying to do at the time, and my bands had a label name on their unsold product that was no more. Even though my label had copyright 1999 and already had a presence on the internet, the other guys put up a separate website copyright 2000 and had the pure gall to put these words underneath it: “We put this here so you know it’s not right to steal”! Like Bill I had no money to fight them, and that was when I had a little income.

    By 3yrsnojob on Aug 27, 2011

  5. Thanks Big O!
    Just for accuracy, Rolling Stone magazine published a review in their June 17, 1976 issue documenting a Be Bop Deluxe performance as the opening act for Thin Lizzy at the Riviera Theatre, Chicago on March 21, 1976.

    By Tom L. on Aug 27, 2011

  6. Hello Tom

    Thanks for the feedback.

    By bigozine2 on Aug 27, 2011

  7. Tom L. Thanks for the detective work in tracking down the correct date for this show.I will award you a gold star for your work. Thanks to Big-o for posting this show. A great band that should have made it big time.

    By Bill. H. on Aug 28, 2011

  8. hey bigo, i enjoyed this walking.

    life is good. i took a chance and posted i was missing track 5 of 8 on earls court arena 5.24.75 on a blog, and one guy posted a link for me to get it. i am happy. it only took two months +. i told you i’d get it eventually. now every single one of my shows are complete. life is good.

    more mary shows!!!


    By Ed Saad on Aug 28, 2011

  9. right track 5 of 8 disc 1 of 4 which is in my time of dying. thanks.

    By Ed Saad on Aug 28, 2011

  10. YAAAAY!!! Love BeBop Deluxe!!! Thank you for this…

    By DanC on Aug 29, 2011

  11. Yoga, you posted, “So what exactly does this have to do with Marc Bolan, David Bowie, or Prince?”

    Bill Nelson and BeBopDeluxe came out in the 70’s, and like Bolan/T Rex and Bowie, had the British Glam look. This might have explained why BBD never really caught on in the US. “Live in the Air Age” was neither fish nor fowl, but featured some jaw dropping and face melting guitar work. With no advertising and only college radio airplay and word of mouth to recommend it, it became one of “the best albums you’ve never heard before.” While it might never have been heard pouring out of a pair of speakers put in the trunk of a 70’s muscle car at a field party, it was frequently the centerpiece of many bong sessions back in my high school days.

    Perhaps the Prince comparison is that both are phenomenal guitarists whose studio work seldom demonstrated what they were capable of live…



    By Kevin on Aug 30, 2011

  12. Thanks for this posting. Saw a different show on the tour supporting Thin Lizzy and became a huge fan of the band. Always great live. Also check out a BBC Live set in addition to the recently expanded Live! In The Air Age.

    By Johnny Kinkdom on Aug 31, 2011

  13. Bitchen! Thanx………

    By Timmy on Sep 2, 2011

  14. Thanks for posting this. Be Bop Deluxe never received the recognition they genuinely deserved and Live in the Air Age is truly amazing. Other hidden gems that should have received wider recognition include Keef Hartley Band’s ‘Halfbreed’, Steamhammer’s ‘Reflections’ and Ozark Mountain Daredevil’s ‘It’ll Shine When It Shines’. Good to see they get a representation here too.

    By Sam on Sep 2, 2011

  15. Bill Nelson is one of the all time great guitar players, so clean , so fluid, so fast.
    I remember reading a review of Sunburst Finish in Rolling Stone when it was released, I had never even heard of Be Bop Deluxe, it was such a glowing review that I went out and bought the album and my love for that great band began .
    Yes the story of what happened to Bill is the classic tale of what the record label’s did to bands back then, many other music artists can tell similar stories.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of history.

    By Bob on Sep 16, 2011

  16. I was at that 1976 Be Bop Deluxe, Thin Lizzy concert at the Riviera. 38 years later, it lives on in my memory as the best concert I have ever attended.

    By gene beed on Jul 17, 2014

  17. Hi,

    Could you fix the links for tracks 5,8 and 9?

    By Rob on May 4, 2015

  18. he’ll prob tell u to just reload the page. they work here.

    By darth on May 5, 2015

  19. sigh…now you see what we have to deal with.

    By glen darth on May 5, 2015

  20. Thanks a lot for posting this and all the other rare material.
    Track 6 of this is somewhat corrupted, being redirected into some bad link. Can you check on this please?
    Thanks and kind regards,

    By Michael on Apr 3, 2017

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