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Bill Champlin

Rock and Pop

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About Bill Champlin

Bill Champlin in Concert

It's no exaggeration to describe Bill Champlin as the Forrest Gump of album-oriented rock, always turning up at seminal moments and with important people. The singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist has sustained a remarkably long and resilient career, having played on an estimated 400 hit songs over the course of some five decades. As the ever-amiable Champlin has followed his laid-back, urbane muse through the shifting whims of the music industry, he's found smooth and soulful inspiration in both his California roots and the phenomenal artists with whom he surrounds himself.

As a solo artist and bandleader, Champlin has released more than a dozen albums of original material, beginning in the early-1960s Bay Area with his teenage garage-rock combo Opposite Six. He transitioned later that decade to the ambitious, psychedelic groove of Sons of Champlin, which Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart once described as "the most talented of all the San Francisco bands." 

When Sons broke up in the late '70s, Champlin relocated to Los Angeles and started making very talented friends. As both performer and songwriter, Champlin collaborated with Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, Elton John, Donna Summer, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, and many more. In the process, he won his first Grammy for co-writing the song "After the Love Is Gone" with Earth, Wind & Fire and earned a second a few years later for co-writing "Turn Your Love Around" for George Benson.

In 1982, Champlin was recruited by the band Chicago and, after initially turning them down, joined forces with the jazz-pop hitmakers and stuck around for almost 30 years. From songwriter to instrumentalist, he played many roles in the iconic band and contributed lead vocals to a pair of their latter-era No. 1 hits, "Hard Habit to Break" and "Look Away."

With a string of critically acclaimed solo albums released throughout the '90s and '00s — including the career-defining Nowhere Left to Fall in 2009 — and a Sons of Champlin reunion, Champlin has continued going strong, adding his wife Tamara Champlin to his band. 

For the shear love of performing, Champlin takes his music to the stage as often as possible. He plays stripped-down acoustic sets of his original material, travels the West Coast with Sons of Champlin, or tours the world with the all-star, hit-playing, big-band collective Rock Pack. It's been a wild ride — and even in his fifth decade, Champlin shows no signs of slowing down.