Mr. Acker Bilk (Stranger on the Shore) Passes on at 85

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Submitted Courtesy of Rob Durkee

Mr. Acker Bilk, whose clarinet helped propel him to world-wide fame with the 1962 instrumental hit, "Stranger On The Shore,"has passed away. He died Sunday (November 2, 2014) in Bath, Somerset, England, after a lengthy illness. He was 85.

According to and Wikipedia, Bernard Stanley Bilk was born January 28, 1929 in Pensford, Somerset, England. He changed his name to Acker, which is Somerset slang for "mate," after he learned to play the clarinet in the Army. His last concert was August of last year (2013).

Pamela Sutton, his manager for the past 45 years, said, "He'd been ill for some time. He was my great friend and his music was legendary."

What made Mr. Acker Bilk legendary was one 2:54-long instrumental. "Stranger On The Shore" was named the #1 song of 1962 by one major entertainment publication plus was the biggest selling single in England that year. It was Mr. Bilk's only Top 40 hit although he had at least three other minor chart hits.

Before the advent of rap performers, Mr. Acker Bilk was the answer to a question Casey Kasem would often answer on "American Top 40." Namely, "Have we ever had an act known as a Mister or Miss or Mrs. on the chart?" For many years, the answer was Mr. Acker Bilk and Miss Toni Fisher (of 1959's "The Big Hurt" fame).

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