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Born and raised under the Central California sun, William has fond memories of summers in the 1970s playing Atari and listening to the Beatles, ELO, Styx, Supertramp, and Cheap Trick.
William began writing songs and performing music in his late teens. Feeling the need to branch out musically and spiritually, he moved to San Francisco when he was 25.
William quickly became a fixture on the Bay Area music scene with The Happy Regrets. The band released two power-pop albums, toured regionally, and won the hearts of fans and critics. After the band broke up in 2000, William decided to take a much-needed break from music to finish college and figure out his next move.
In 2005, he co-founded the Oakland-based Bye Bye Blackbirds, releasing Honeymoon in 2006, followed by Apology Accepted (American Dust), and Houses and Homes (American Dust) in 2008. Boosted by college and mainstream radio airplay, all three albums were well received, and the live shows and touring continued until William left the band in 2009.
In 2005, William expanded his songwriting and production chops on his first solo record, the lo-fi, experimental gem The Ghost That Would Not Be. His song craft really came into its own with the 2010 release of The Sunrise and the Night (Kool Kat), and the critically acclaimed Dark Beautiful Sun (Familiar).
Celebrating the melodic drive of the Jayhawks, the jangle of Big Star, and the dedication to structure and harmony of the Beach Boys, William Duke continues his journey through psychedelic Americana on his fourth album, Quatro (Familiar). Produced by Adam Symons, Quatro relies less on ‘70s melancholy production and incorporates songwriting sensibilities and inspiration from the best of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
The Dark Beautiful Sun
“The psychedelic Americana of The Dark Beautiful Sun frequently combines, or moves effortlessly between beauty and sadness, melancholy and joy, and darkness and light. Beach Boys, Big Star, Teenage Fanclub fans rejoice!” – Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover
The Sunrise and the Night
”You’re not likely to find a recent pop album played with such an android mastery of the paradigm. The former Bye Bye Blackbirds solo effort practically leaps Teenage Fanclub’s latest in terms of songwriting finesse and craft.” – Alex Green, Caught In The Carousel
“A hauntingly beautiful album that gets every track right.” – PowerPopaholic
“William Duke’s latest nicely veers between the chiming, good-timing feel of Petty, and the close-harmony melancholia of prime-era Beach Boys.” – Bill Kopp, Musoscribe
The Ghost That Would Not Be
“It’s got an earnest emotiveness and boyish charm that we dig. Sweet backing vocal harmonies and warm keyboards sooth and smile their way around the comparatively snarlin’ gritty electric guitar and occasional quirky synth lines.” – Aquarius Records, San Francisco
Caroline and the Silver Screen – From Quatro, 2018
The Dark Beautiful Sun – From The Dark Beautiful Sun, 2015
Cue Up The Memories – From Quatro, 2018