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We mourn Windy Bill Collins, original Riders member

Sep 22 | Posted by: Riders In The Sky

Windy Bill Collins, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, band mate, all around funny guy, and co-founder of Riders In The Sky passed away yesterday, 9/21/15 in Vero Beach, FL.

"So shocking and sad," said Riders' Too Slim. "We were corresponding just two weeks ago about some sides we cut with Dickey Lee in the 70s, pre-Riders. Collins had a strong, clear voice and a raucous, rock and roll guitar feel. We shared a sense of humor--a Mad Magazine, absurdist, irreverent 1960s take. He was an important part of the zany stage antics of the first Riders shows."

"We were both working for Dickey, and when it came time to decide between Riders and the Pal, he went with the Pal and I went with Riders."

"Amazingly enough, Ranger Doug knew Bill, or Willie as most folks knew him, when they were kids. Willie hung out with the Ranger's younger brother. Ranger Doug's dad called him 'Cool Collins,' which fit him to a T. Our trails crossed in Nashville, and he became Windy Bill in his cowboy incarnation."

"It's a sad day on Harmony Ranch. When one of our heroes passed away, I'd get an email from Willie with the news and then: 'Sigh.' Rest in peace, Windy Bill."

Sigh.

We send sympathy and love to Marilyn and all of Willie's family. 

Check out Dickey Lee's "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" to hear Windy Bill and Too Slim's background vocals. You can hear Willie's distinctive voice on lots of Dickey's hit records from the 70s. He was also the Pal's band leader. Also check out Collins and Wakeman's great single "Everybody Wants To Know Her."

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