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Billy Cox

Billy Cox was born on 18 October 1941 in Wheeling, West Virginia. His full birth name was William Cox. Cox was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 1961 Cox was serving with the US army at Fort Campbell and met Jimi Hendrix. He was in the bathroom, during a rainstorm and he heard a guitar playing outside. Cox introduced himself to Hendrix, telling him that he played bass and they started to jam soon afterwards, becoming good friends. When they left the army they started to play at clubs around Clarksville, Tennessee, before moving to Nashville. There they formed a group called the King Kasuals. They played at various Nashville clubs and further afield on what was known as the Chitlin' circuit. Cox and Hendrix would also be int he backing band for Marion James. Hendrix left Nashville to play in various bands around the US before being spotted by Chas Chandler, who would bring him to England. Hendrix asked Cox to join him, but Cox turned him down as he didn't have the money to travel.
Cox would play bass on pioneering R&B tv shows "Night Train" and "The!!!! Beat", also working closely with Hoss Allen and John Richbourg of WLAC Radio. He backed or recorded sessions for artists such as Sam Cooke, Slim Harpo, Joe Simon, Charlie Daniels, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Lou Rawls, Etta James, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard.
In 1969 Hendrix called Cox to join him in New York as a studio bassist. A few months later Noel Redding left the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cox joined Hendrix's new group known as Gypsy Sun and Rainbows. They would play Woodstock and two gigs in New York before they disbanded. Hendrix, Cox and Buddy Miles would then form the Band of Gypsys. Band of Gypsys would record one eponymous album before they disbanded. Afterwards Hendrix, Cox and Mitch Mitchell would form the group the New Experience, which was originally called The Cry of Love. They would continue to tour up till Hendrix's death in 1970.
In 1971 Cox released a solo album called "Nitro Function" with Char Vinnedge, Robert Tarrant and Jim Dant.
Through the rest of the seventies and eighties Cox would do session work, live gigs and play alongside artists such as the Charlie Daniels Band. He would also continue to record for posthumous Hendrix recordings.
In 1995 Cox joined Mitchell, Redding and Miles in a series of Hendrix tributes and tours.
In 1999 Cox appeared on Bruce Cameron's album "Midnight Daydream". The album also included Mitchell, Miles and Jack Bruce amongst others. Cox would also join Mitchell and guitarist Gary Serkin in the Gypsy Sun Experience, a Hendrix tribute band.
Cox has been the guest speaker at a number of University music seminars.
In 2004 Cox joined Buddy Miles again to re-record songs from the Band of Gypsys album as new album titled "The Band of Gypsys Return" featuring Eric Gales, Kenny Olsen, Sheldon Reynolds, Andy Aledort and Gary Serkin.
In 2009 he was inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame. He also released the album "Last Gypsy Standing".
In 2010 he recieved The Founders Award and in 2011 was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
In 2011 he released the album "Old School Blue Blues". Also that year he released the single "Run" with Marlon Alarm.
In 2014 he released the album "Unfiltered". He continues to perform as part of The Experience Hendrix Tour.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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