Procol Harum
The Musicians' Olympus
Daily Telegraph

…so I was very fortunate the first weekend I came back (from the USA), and also certain nights since then, to work with Bill Eyden. I know he's working with Georgie Fame, and all that, but I've always thought of Bill Eyden as one of the best drummers around these parts. And, believe me, having worked with Albert Heath, Stan Levey, Colin Bailey, Mel Lewis and people like this in the last twelve months-I came back, and as much as I enjoyed working with Victor (Feldman). it was an equal pleasure to play with Terry Shannon, Jeff Clyne and Bill Eyden. I only wish I could use that rhythm section all the time. If I could, I'd really be happy. Tubby Hayes in 1965

William James 'Bill' Eyden, drummer
Born May 4th, 1930
Died October 15th, 2004

Bill played drums in the Hounslow Army Cadet Corps Band at age of thirteen, did some National Service in RAF (1948-50), afterwards took lessons from Max Abrams. He played some local gigs before working with Basil and Ivor Kirchin's Band in 1952, sharing the drum chair with Basil.

He then played with a great many small groups, including Ray Kirkwood in 1952 and Johnny Rogers in the summer of 1953. Did some television work with Steve Race (October to December 1953) and was in the house band at Studio 51, London with Terry Brown, Jimmy Skidmore, Joe Muddel and Lennie Metcalfe (late 1953 to summer 1954).

A spell with Roy Fox and back again with Johnny Rogers. He joined Harry Roy in late 1954 and Malcolm Mitchell's Big Band from April to June 1955. Then came an important period with Tubby Hayes 1955-56 and the Tubby Hayes-Ronnie Scott Jazz Couriers for two years from their April 1957 debut until July 1959. In this period he also worked in Jack Sharpe's Quintet.

Bill played with Pat Smythe, Vic Ash and Harry Klein in 1960. then again with Tubby Hayes in late 1960-61. In Terry Shannon's Trio (1962) and with pianist Maurice Alien's Trio at the Eve Club, London. With the Tubby Hayes—Bobby Breen Octet, Long John Baldry and Alexis Korner in the early 1960s. Then he took a three month tour of South America with Wee Willie Harris from late 1963.

When he returned to Britain, he worked with Georgie Fame from autumn 1964 until late 1965, then joined Stan Tracey's Trio, accompanying many visiting Americans; also worked with Dick Morrissey in the summer of 1966. Bill rejoined Tubby Hayes in the autumn of 1968.

From the 1970s onwards Eyden freelanced successfully in many varied line-ups. He played for various West End shows including Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Mitford Girls and Promises Promises. He appeared regularly with the Bebop Preservation Society through the 1980s, also worked in Spain in pianist lan Henry's Quartet in Charlie Watts' Big Band (1985-6). Bill continued to play regularly in the 1990s, working with Bill Le Sage, Bobby Wellins, etc. In the late 1970s he also taught percussion in various schools in the London area.

Information extracted from Who's Who of British Jazz by John Chilton. Used by permission