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Blood, Sweat & Tears Saxophone Player Bill Tillman Dead at 65

Blood Sweat & Tears
Tom Copi, Getty Images

Blood, Sweat & Tears saxophone player Bill Tillman, who performed with the group for much of the ’70s, passed away in Houston Wednesday (Aug. 15) at age 65 after an early morning fall.

Dallas News reports that Tillman, whose horn work can be heard on the band’s cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ among many other songs, slipped in the bathroom and hit his head. He had been waiting for a kidney transplant and was in Houston for medical treatment at the time of the accident.

Tillman got his start playing with such acts as the Coasters, Chuck Berry, and the late Roy Orbison before taking a job as music director for Gladys Knight. In 1973, he joined Blood, Sweat & Tears and remained with the band through 1977.

He appeared on the albums ‘Mirror Image,’ ‘New City,’ ‘More Than Ever,’ and ‘Brand New Day’ before exiting the group. He also appeared on the 1978 concert release, ‘Live in Scandinavia.’ He then joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as a soloist and continued making music on his own, releasing three solo albums during the ’80s.

His son Anthony said of Tillman’s long career, “He played every grand ballroom of every hotel you can name. His legacy is a joy.” Tillman is survived by his mother, his son Anthony and five other children. He was 65.

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