Billy Ritchie

While not a high profile name like many of his contemporaries, Billy is acknowledged as having made huge contributions to what would be the “Progressive Rock” movement

While he played harmonica as a young child, Billy actually began playing piano at the age of 8, when neighbors threw out their old instrument and Billy’s parents took it in.

In 1960, he began playing electric organ in a local band which was unusual for the time as bands were mostly guitar oriented

He was the first rock keyboardist to take a leading role in on-stage performances. He put his Hohner Clavinet on stilts so that he could stand out front while playing instead of sitting, which was traditional for keyboard players at the time. With this innovation, he made keyboards a featured instrument. He paved the way for later artists like Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson who would take things to another level

In 1964, Ritchie formed a band called 1-2-3, in which he rewrote songs in a much heavier style that featured organ. It was a completely unique sound for the time, and this would be the blueprint for the new genre of progressive rock