BILLY BARNES was affectionately known as "The Revue Master of Hollywood." Born and raised in Los Angeles, he started playing piano at the age of three and his parents encouraged his interest in the entertainment business. As a child, Billy was a Meglin's Kitty where he learned to sing and dance as well as perform.
Billy attended Dorsey High School in Los Angeles. While in high school he started writing musicals and revues.
When he graduated from high school he spent two years in the Navy. When he was discharged from the service he enrolled in the music program at UCLA. There he he became an assertive composer and skillful pianist. He also met two people who became very important to him personally and professionally.
Bob Rodgers became the person who wrote scripts and skits to Billy's music. Joyce Jamison became Billy's musical muse and eventually his first spouse. These partnerships lead to many successful stage shows which included: "The Billy Barnes Revue," "Billy Barnes' People," "The Billy Barnes Revue 1963," "Billy Barnes' L.A.," "Billy Barnes' Party," "Billy Barnes Hollywood," and "The Best of Billy Barnes." Additional revues included "Blame It On The Movies I and II" written with David Galligan and "Movie Star" written and produced with Ray Argeon and Bob Mackie.
Billy's revues helped launch the careers of many, many stars: Ken Berry, Bert Convy, Joyce Jameson, Jackie Joseph, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Charles Nelson Reilly, JoAnne Worley, Eileen Barnett and many others. "The Billy Barnes Revue" was part of the 1959 Broadway season playing at both The Golden and Lyceum Theatres.
Today "(Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair" and "Something Cool" - both written while Billy was in college at UCLA - are considered American standards and are considered apart of the Great American Songbook. His songs have been recorded by Barbra Streisand, Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Sue Rainey, Tierney Sutton and June Christie.
His special material has appeared on all 144 episodes of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." He wrote special material for "The Danny Kaye Show," "The Gisele MacKenzie Show," "The Hanna Barbera Happy Hour," "The Judy Garland Show," "The Dean Martin Show," "The Dinah Shore Show," "The Mac Davis Show," "The Carol Burnett Show," "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour," "The Hudson Brother's Razzle Dazzle Show," and "The Cher Show." TV Specials included: "The Bing Crosby Show," "Pure Goldie," "Pinocchio" starring Danny Kaye and Sandy Duncan, "The Opening of Walt Disney World" in Florida, "Like HEP" starring Dinah Shore and Lucille Ball, "GIT On Broadway" starring Diana Ross, "...And Debbie Make Six" starring Debbie Reynolds and "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special." Billy also wrote the openers for the 44th (Angela Lansbury) and 45th (Joel Grey) Academy Awards.
For his efforts Mr. Barnes received six Emmy Award nominations all for his musical contributions to television.
Always reinventing himself, Billy wrote the music for Ann-Margaret's Las Vegas Act, Bert Convey's Nightclub Act, Jane A. Johnstons Nightclub Act and a CD full of special material for his "Diva's."
In his later years he returned to acting and appeared on "Touched by an Angel" as Debbie Reynold's boyfriend and he made several appearances on "Mad About You" as "Mr. Edlin."
For a full listing of recordings, please see the recordings tab. For a full list of sheet music please see the sheet music tab.
His compositions and contribution to the arts continues to make an impact on entertainment and music today and will for generations to come.