Billy MacKenzie 1
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Billy MacKenzie

There are many stories, some funnier than others, about how unmanageable Billy Mackenzie was. The Rolls-Royce that he couldn’t drive; the hotel room for his whippets; the taxi from London to Dundee paid for by Warners.

Each absurd extravagance contributes to a picture of the singer as a quixotic, uncontrollable character with a consistent disregard for convention. 
That, of course, was his approach to music, and when working with in The Associates with Alan Rankine, those impulses were mirrored in tunes which stretched pop into extraordinary shapes. Billy Mackenzie was an extraordinary talent.

He was born in Dundee, Scotland, U.K on 27 March, 1957, he led a peripatetic lifestyle, which included decamping to New Zealand at the age of 16, and travelling across America aged 17. Here, to avoid deportation, he married Chloe Dummar. Her brother, Melvin Dummar, claimed to be the “one sixteenth” beneficiary of the estate of Howard Hughes, until the case was thrown out in 1978. He returned to Scotland where he met Alan Rankine and in 1976 formed the Ascorbic Boys. They changed the name to The Associates in 1979.
The Associates big breakthrough came after the 1982 single “Party Fears Two” reached number 9 in the UK singles chart, with two more hits “Club Country” and “18 Carat Love Affair” following on and 5 studio albums including the utter classic ’Sulk’ (produced by Mike Hedges) Truly loved as a talent and a remarkable singer.
The Associates continued until 1990, after which Mackenzie embarked on a solo career. Mackenzie collaborated with more than a few artists during his career, including contributions to seminal Swiss outfit Yello’s “One Second” album in 1987. Mackenzie provided vocals and wrote lyrics for two tracks on that release, and one “The Rhythm Divine” became a hit European single when legendary diva Shirley Bassey was recruited for vocals (Billie’s original vocal track was no less powerful and saw release on the CD version of The Associates “Popera” compilation).
After hearing some incredible demos – Nude signed Billy in 1996 to release his second solo album “Beyond The Sun,” produced by ex Cocteau twin and Bella Union owner Simon Raymonde.
“Beyond The Sun” is darkly unnerving and beautifully bleak, the sound of a troubled man reaching deep inside himself to bare the elegant wasteland of his soul. It magnificently illuminates ten songs that bear all the hallmarks of greatness and the tear strains of tragedy. Truly a bittersweet symphony.

Sadly before the album was released Billy at 39 took his own life On January 22, 1997 .
Depression and the death of his mother are believed to have contributed to Mackenzie’s suicide. He overdosed on prescription drugs in his father’s garden shed in Auchterhouse, Scotland, United Kingdom He was 39 years old.