Billy Osborne

R&B, Jazz, Producer, Composer


Coming soon…

Members of the Historical Archive Committee of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame are researching and documenting the career of this great Ocean State musician. When work is completed, we will be posting an in-depth biography and complete discography on this page. In the meantime, please enjoy this introduction to Billy’s career and a mini-documentary about his induction into the Hall of Fame produced and directed by our friends Norm Grant and Dr. Tom Shaker at Pete & Buster Films.

Photo Credit: Bobby Holland, MPTV Images

by Rick Bellaire

When 16 year old Providence drummer Billy Osborne arrived in Manhattan in 1959 to join the Jimmy Giuffre Quartet, his impact on the heart of the Modern Jazz scene was immediate. He was named Metronome magazine’s Best New Drummer before his first recording session and spent a decade performing with the legends of the era including Wes Montgomery, Archie Shepp and was one of John Coltrane’s favorite drummers. In 1969, he moved to L.A. establishing himself in the R&B field as musical director for The Friends of Distinction, as a keyboard player, and as the composer of “Check It Out,” the first hit for his Rhode Island pals Tavares. In 1974, his brother Jeffrey’s band, Love Men Ltd., joined Billy in L.A. where they combined forces to become L.T.D. with Billy on keyboards, Jeffrey on drums and the two sharing lead vocals. By 1976, they were at the top of the Billboard charts with “Love Ballad” (#1 R&B, #20 Hot 100). After moving Jeffrey out front, L.T.D. mined Gold and Platinum for the next four years with a string of hits including two more #1 singles, “Back In Love Again” and “Holding On.” In 1980, Billy moved into production and helped launch Jeffrey’s solo career. In 1990, he signed with Ray Charles and became his right-hand man, writing, arranging and producing for “The Genius” until Ray’s passing in 2004.