BILLY VERA AND THE BEATERS
Vocalist and guitarist Vera was raised in the New York City metropolitan area, absorbing the sounds of the city's extensive R&B scene. During the mid-60s he worked as a songwriter, with Rick Nelson and Barbara Lewis among the singers recording his songs. In 1967 he had a modest duet hit with Judy Clay, "Storybook Children" (number 20 R&B), a wonderfully evocative ballad that was never matched by his subsequent soul hits. "Country Girl-City Man", also with Clay (number 41 R&B), followed in 1968. A solo release, "With Pen In Hand", and an album of the same name did little upon release in late 1968. In 1979 Vera formed Billy And The Beaters, a 10-piece aggregation comprised of Los Angeles studio musicians including ex- Steely Dan / Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. Two of their singles, "I Can Take Care Of Myself" and "At This Moment", became moderate chart successes. The group disbanded in the early 80s, but Vera experienced a huge stroke of luck when, late in 1986, "At This Moment" was played on the US television sitcom Family Ties and went on to sell more than a million copies, reaching number 1 and remaining on the charts for 21 weeks. Vera is now a highly respected songwriter and record producer, in addition to working as a vintage soul and R&B album compiler. He has appeared in the movies Buckaroo Banzai and The Doors.