#644: Summertime by Billy Stewart
Peak Month: August 1966
7 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #2
1 week CKLG Up ‘N Comers ~ July 16, 1966
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #10
William Larry Stewart II was born in Washington D.C. in 1937. In 1949, at the age of 12 Stewart he and his three younger brothers began singing under the billing The Four Stewart Brothers. Singing gospel music, they were given a weekly spot on Sundays from 1949 to 1954 on WUST-AM in Washington D.C. In his teens he also won a talent singing contest performing George Gershwin’s “Summertime”. In 1955 Bo Diddley encountered Billy Stewart playing piano. Diddley was impressed and invited Stewart to become one of his backing musicians. During his time with Bo Diddley, Billy Stewart was able to expand his musical repertoire to include playing organ, bass and drums. In 1956 Bo Diddley played guitar on Stewart’s first single titled “Billy’s Blues” recorded on the Chess label. In 1957, Stewart released “Billy’s Heartache” which featured backing vocals from 18-year-old Marvin Gaye. In 1962, Stewart recorded a tune based on his nickname called “Fat Boy”. The song climbed to #18 on the Billboard R&B charts.