By 1960, after a brief spell of military service, ending with Williamson's discharge for violence to a commanding officer, the musician had embraced electrified music, leaving Memphis and crossing over into widespread success throughout America, attracting audiences both black and white to his intense live appearances. Refusing labels, Williamson soon shed his blues roots, newly influenced by genres ranging from Brazilian samba to contemporary classical music to early electronica. Recordings during the period following 1965 are hailed by many historians as vital in the development of punk music. After various experiments, including a space-themed concept album, a three-LP set of electronic noise collages, and a civil rights album following his induction into the Black Panther Movement, Williamson retired to Cuba in 1970, remaining there alone for five years.
He would return to the United States in 1975, recording the traditional rhythm-and-blues based "I'm Back" with a new band of Mississippi folk musicians. Failing to find success in this new era, Williamson would only record sporadically over the next fifteen years, to little fanfare. Dissatisfied with the state of the music industry, Williamson found God and joined the clergy in the late 1980s, releasing gospel-influenced music to universal condemnation. Rejecting religion in 2005, Williamson has finally rekindled his music career, moving to London, England in 2009, where he produces and records new music, and contributes to his official blog.
As of 2011, Williamson is working on a sample-based electronica album, a rarities collection, a set of memoirs, and an English doctorate at University College London. A documentary about his life "Standing Tall And Straight: The B.C. Williamson Story", is currently in production. Read more on Last.fm.
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