Admired by Our Bill, John is widely considered to be one of the most innovative and influential guitarists of the post-punk era. I'm certainly a big fan of his playing, and was fortunate enough to meet him on a number of occasions when he was playing with The Armoury Show in the mid 80s. On one occasion we were chatting about John's favourite guitarists and of course Bill's name came up - I asked if he was an influence and John replied "Obviously" (I know this because I wrote an account of the meeting, which took place at The Manor recording studio, so awestruck was I!).
There's been quite a bit of media coverage of the new book in the last few days, and I've noticed Bill's name cropping up now and then - usually in the context of 'fellow SG player', however it was interesting to hear John recall during our conversation back in 1984 (I think) that his famed use of the Yamaha SG guitar was as a result of Midge Ure's recommendation. Nevertheless, Bill is often cited in the same breath as John, and it's interesting to see whose radar he was on in the late 70s. The wonderful Johnny Marr has been a vocal supporter of Bill's work in the past and I've noticed a couple of nice quotes in the media recently:
From ultimate-guitar.com:"The main proponent of it who had kicked that off in the UK was Bill Nelson with Be Bop Deluxe, and his first couple of solo records with Red Noise. Bill Nelson was very respected. Be Bop Deluxe were pre-punk – around 1974/75.
"I saw Be Bop Deluxe a couple of times and he was great because he was doing flash stuff on guitar that all teenage boys like, but his songwriting and approach was not hoary old blues rock; he was doing this kind of glam art-rock thing."
And from guitarworld.com:“Andy Partridge was playing one in XTC for a while. Stuart Adamson was playing one with Skids. And also [Be-Bop Deluxe founder] Bill Nelson, who was very important to my generation. As good as those players were, when I left school, I wanted to do something of my own. Vintage guitars were the holy grail for me. So, I sidestepped the Yamaha.
And finally, from an article about Magazine in Mojo, another respected musician from the early 80s, Roddy Frame: