RICCI, DESI & BILLY
The idea for this group came at a benefit for the late Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, which was held at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles on October 18, 1998. Desi and Billy performed a song which Desi had written called "My Old Friend" in honor of their friend and partner, Dean Paul Martin (Dino) who died in a plane crash while flying for The California Air National Guard in 1987. Ricci performed his hit single "Stop, Look Around" from his critically acclaimed album Beached, co-produced by Carl Wilson and Billy Hinsche. There was such a powerful, magical feeling that night, that Ricci, Desi and Billy decided to form a trio.
After extensive rehearsals at Desi's newly acquired Boulder Theater (Boulder City, NV), Ricci, Desi & Billy performed their first show at this year's event at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, CA to benefit The Carl Wilson Foundation. They are in the process of recording a CD together which will be entitled My Old Friend, Now and Then which will feature 10 new original songs from all three artists as well as five previously unreleased songs from the Dino, Desi & Billy tape archives.
Ricci Martin is Dean Martin's youngest son who has recorded as a solo artist for Epic Records, starred with Lisa Hartman in the movie "Maui," has been a television vee-jay and is a successful record producer. Ricci is also the owner of River Ranch Recording Studio in Kamas, Utah. He is the piano player and vocalist for Ricci, Desi & Billy.
Let's go back 35 years when Dino, Desi & Billy began their recording career in 1965. Their first hit was "I'm A Fool." All three were adept at their respective instruments at an early age. Growing more proficient in their talents, they began writing or co-writing and producing their own songs. Billy played lead guitar; Dino, son of Dean Martin, played bass and Desi played drums. Desi is the son of the most famous TV icons in the world -- Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz ("I Love Lucy").
Dino Martin, Desi Arnaz, Jr. and Billy Hinsche were the preteen heartthrobs of the middle to late '60s. Although the fact that their parents were famous did help them get started, it was their talent that kept them going.
DD&B's songs were tight, tuneful and topical to the 60s world and new sounds. Their producers, arrangers, engineers and back-up musicians were the cream of the crop. They included Jimmy Bowen, Lee Hazelwood, Billy Strange, Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, James Burton, Jim Gordon, Al Casey and Bones Howe. They were the youngest group ever to have hit records. They were also the only group to have a Filipino/American boy (Billy) as a teen heartthrob.
With the best back-up musicians in the business, Frank Sinatra signing them to his Reprise label, their mini-Beatle haircuts, their 60s clothes, Beatle boots, their guitars, drums and most important, their songs, they couldn't miss. They recorded four albums for Reprise, toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada and appeared on all the popular television shows of the era including the Ed Sullivan show. "I'm A Fool" was just the beginning. The song is hip, cool, well-sung and the instrumental parts are right on target. The record buyers -- young girls, ate it up and bought them up. The record climbed to the top 10 on the Billboard charts. Their second hit, "Not The Lovin' Kind" written by Lee Hazelwood, opened with a jingle jangle guitar reminiscent of The Byrds. DD&B's uniqueness gleaned the best characteristics of the best British Invasion and '60s groups and fused these sounds into their own original sound. At such a young age, it was quite a feat. They were doing exactly what other groups were doing: taking the new sounds, tweaking them and incorporating their own style and music. As if that weren't enough, they were also featured monthly in 16 Magazine, the teen girls' bible.
DD&B's last charted hit, "Tell Someone You Love Them," was written by Billy, a song he patterned after The Beach Boys' hit "Darlin'." Billy had a special affinity for The Beach Boys not only because DD&B had toured as the opening act for the famous California band, but his sister Annie married Carl Wilson. Billy went on to become a Beach Boys band member for over 25 years. Carl Wilson was subsequently married to Dino's sister, Gina.
Desi has starred in many television shows, plays and movies, including The Mambo Kings, in which he portrayed his father. He and wife, Aimee, own and operate the non-profit Boulder City Ballet Company which stages a variety of musical and community productions.
Over the years, Desi and Billy have continued to write and record songs together. They have also performed as a duet for many charitable organizations like Wings (for battered women) and The Caring Program For Children (Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Utah).
Billy is currently performing as the Musical Director for Al Jardine's Family & Friends Beach Band.
Return to Billy's home page.