English Clarinetist Acker Bilk Dies at 85
You may not be familiar with his name, but if you're into some of the biggest hits of the '60s, you've likely heard his work. Acker Bilk, born Bernard Stanley Bilk, was a jazz clarinetist who, among several other pieces, wrote ‘Stranger On the Shore,’ an instrumental that hit No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 in the U.K.
According to the New York Times, Bilk was one of the first British musicians to hit the top of the Billboard singles chart.
It might be hard to imagine an instrumental nabbing the gold on any chart, but ‘Stranger On the Shore’ proved to resonate with fans. It has sold more than 1.6 million copies to date and was the best-selling single of 1962 in the U.K.
The Times reports that Bilk learned how to play the clarinet “as a bored army conscript in Egypt after world War II.” He is survived by his wife, Jean, and two children. He was 85.
Diffuser offers our heartfelt condolences to Bilk’s friends and family.
Listen to Acker Bilk's 'Stranger On the Shore'