Bill Payne (born March 12, 1949) is an American pianist who, with Lowell George, co-founded the American rock band Little Feat.[1] He is considered by many other rock pianists, including Elton John,[2] to be one of the finest American piano rock and blues musicians. In addition to his trademark barrelhouse blues piano, he is noted for his work on the Hammond B3 organ. Payne is an accomplished songwriter whose credits include "Oh, Atlanta". Following the death of Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward on August 12, 2010, Payne is the only member of the group from the original four-piece line-up currently playing in the band.

Bill Payne
Bill Payne 2010.jpg
Payne with Little Feat at a benefit for Richie Hayward, Burlington, Vermont, January 14, 2010
Background information
Born (1949-03-12) March 12, 1949 (age 70)
Waco, Texas, U.S.
GenresRock, blues, swamp rock, Southern rock, funk, jazz rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards
Years active1969–present
LabelsHot Tomato Records
Associated actsLittle Feat, The Doobie Brothers, Phil Lesh and Friends, Leftover Salmon

Payne has worked and recorded with J. J. Cale, Doobie Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Bryan Adams, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Toto, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Helen Watson, Stevie Nicks, Shocking Edison, Robert Palmer, Richard Torrance and Stephen Bruton. He was a guest performer on Bonnie Raitt's album Sweet Forgiveness in 1977, and wrote its track, "Takin' My Time."

Paul Barrere and Bill Payne played several live concerts with Phil Lesh and Friends, from October 1999 through July 2000. Payne was a member of Boulder band Leftover Salmon [3] from 2014 until December 2015.

In August 2015, Payne was selected to play keyboards for The Doobie Brothers after their keyboardist Guy Allison was called to work on an album project in Japan. In the few weeks of touring with the Doobies, he was featured with the band and Michael McDonald on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Payne's temporary term ended in early September after the Doobies' concert at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey. However, in December 2015 Payne rejoined the Doobies as a touring member, officially taking the position previously held by Allison.[4]

Other workEdit

Payne was a pioneer in the development of online music communities. In the early 1990s, he contacted his fan base and enlisted the help of friend Jay Herbst to develop the Little Feat Grass-roots Movement. This model went on to be a template for many bands in the creation of their Street Teams, which enlist the help of fans for purposes of music and concert promotion. This method has proven to be an effective vehicle for bringing bands and fans closer together, and forging friendships between them.

Payne now also works as a commercial photographer.[5]

Songwriting (selected)Edit

Payne wrote or co-wrote many of the songs in Little Feat's catalogue, including the following:

  • "Snakes on Everything"
  • "Strawberry Flats"
  • "Truck-Stop Girl"
  • "Brides of Jesus"
  • "Tripe Face Boogie"
  • "Got No Shadow"
  • "Oh, Atlanta"
  • "Somebody's Leavin'"
  • "Time Loves a Hero"
  • "Gringo"
  • "Takin' My Time"
  • "Red Streamliner"



  • Cielo Norte (2005)


  1. ^ Skelly, Richard. "Biography: Bill Payne". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  2. ^ "Interview: Little Feat's Bill Payne". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bill Payne website

External linksEdit