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In 1946, in New York, a British-born pianist who'd worked with some of America's best bands- among them,
Les Brown, the Dorsey Brothers, Raymond Scott- happened to meet a Pittsburgh singer about to embark on a network career.
The pianist Billy Rowland, and the singer, Perry Como, began what was to be a nearly two-decade association.
On this television show, Rowland had the opportunity to play for almost every Hollywood and Broadway star of the day:
Ginger Rogers (singing!), Ann Blyth, Esther Williams (singing!), Rudy Vallee, Claudette Colbert, the Everly Brothers and many others.

He got interested in piano after church choir training, and by the time he was a high school student on New York's Long Island,
he was busily booking a trio, composed of himself and neighborhood pals, Allan Reuss and
drummer Maurice Purtill, at social and fraternal weekend functions.

Allan Reuss later became a staff guitarist at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank and Rowland married Reuss' sister, Dolores.


Rowland was the staff pianist for Les Brown and his Band of Renown (a moniker Rowland claimed to have coined) from
1938 to 1943- the same time span that introduced Cincinnati's Doris Day as a Brown vocalist
(Doris used to babysit for Rowland's daughter, Leslie May). In 1942, he was in 'Seven Days' Leave"
with Victor Mature and Lucille Ball.

Billy Rowland was a CBS pianist at the time the chance to join the Como group came along.

Billy Rowland wrote the tune "Let Me Love You". He toured with
Margaret Whiting throughout Europe.
He also substituted for
Skitch Henderson on NBC-TV's Tonight Show in the sixties.

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He recorded many records under the pseudonym "Knuckles O'Toole", playing honky-tonk rags with thumbtacks stuck
into the hammers of the piano:
"Knuckles O'Toole Goes to Paris" (The Grand Award Record Label 33-337),
"Knuckles O'Toole Goes South of the Border" (The Grand Award Record Label 33-342),
"Ragtime Piano Hits - Knuckles O'Toole" (The Grand Award Record Label 33-373),
"Sing A Song with Knuckles O'Toole & Gang Volume 1 and Volume 2 -
Knuckles O'Toole (The Grand Award Record Label 33-398, 33-408).

Under his own name, he also recorded
"Filmdom's Famous Fifty" (Dot Records, DLP-3106),
"They All Laughed When I Sat Down", and "
Billy Rowland Plays Boogie Woogie" (The Grand Award Record Label 259 SD),
and "Cafe - Delightful Piano Mood Music performed by Billy Rowland and his Trio" (Waldorf Music Hall MH 33-160).

Rowland died in 1985 in Glen Cove, Long Island. His wife Dolores died in 2012, his daughter,
Leslie McCarthy, in 2009. His son,
Alan, a former advertising executive and a graphic artist, died on March 5th, 2014.