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Mr.Acker Bilk MBE passed away on Sunday 2nd November 2014 in the Bath Royal United Hospital. His wife Jean was him. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, Musicians and fans Worldwide.


28.01.29 –02.11.14

Bernard Stanley Bilk was born in Pensford in his beloved County of Somerset. Before becoming a world famous musician he had a go at working in a tobacco factory plus amateur boxing. He married his childhood sweetheart Jean. Whilst in the Royal Engineers in the Canal Zone, he borrowed a military clarinet and began copying recordings of famous jazz musicians. When demobbed, he formed his first band in Bristol, then moved to London and joined The Ken Colyer Jazz Band.   But, Acker hated London so returned to Somerset and formed the Bristol Paramount Jazz Band.  They got their first break playing for six weeks in Germany.

Once more Back in London the hits began – ‘Summer Set’ and ‘Creole Jazz’, then in 1961 he wrote a tune for his daughter entitled ‘Jenny’ which was taken up as the theme tune for a BBC series and the name was changed to “Stranger on the Shore” which was a worldwide hit and the rest is history.

Acker Bilk was synonymous with his goatee plus bowler hat and waistcoats which were with him until the end; as were many of his talented musicians and crews who stayed with him for many a year. Mr. Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band travelled the World and many more hits arrived, the last one being the beautiful “Aria”.

Acker was honoured many times, some of the lastest included 2001 -MBE for services to the Music Industry, 2005 -BBC Jazz Award and Honorary MA from Bristol University, 2008 -The Worshipful Company of Musicians Medal for Lifetime Achievement and 2012 - Lifetime Achievement Award at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. 

Acker Bilk was music. His famous velvety vibrato, low slightly breathy style of clarinet playing was unique and will remain so.   But, he is also remembered for his wicked sense of humour which always came out in his concerts and the audiences loved it.

Acker leaves behind his lovely wife, Jean and daughter and son, Jenny and Pete.

Pamela Frances Sutton
Personal Manager.

CONTACT : Pamela Frances Sutton - direct telephone line 020 7978 5885

53 Cambridge Mansions, Cambridge Road, London SW11 4RX, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7978 5885    Fax: +44 (0)20 7978 5882