He is a singer-songwriter, producer and actor born in Baltimore, Maryland who was a member of groups such as Long Dynasty and The Tempos in the late ‘60s/early 1970s and took over the lead vocals of The Miracles after Smoky Robinson left the group in 1972. He saw success with them first in 1973 with the No. 13 hit “Do It Baby” and after writing the bulk of the album City of Angels with his Miracles co-member Pete Moore in 1975, their song “Love Machine” became a Platinum selling chart topping hit in the US and a No. 3 hit in the UK. This would turn out to be the The Miracles’ most successful hit.
After the group went to Columbia Records in 1976 he remained with them for another couple of albums and then Pete Moore and he went off on their own to concentrate on songwriting.
In 1982 he went back to recording as a solo artist and released his debut album Be With Me, which produced the UK hit single “Hold Me Tighter in the Rain”. A year later he released Respect and once again he had a hit with the single “Serious”. Another album was released and he moved to Atlantic Records but after only releasing one album and one single with them he lost his contract. At the end of the 1980s he released “First in Line” on Motorcity Records but his album Technicolour was never released due to the winding up of the label.
He joined back up with The Miracles to re-record “Love Machine” for their reunion and in 1996 the compilation Best of Billy Griffin – The Very Best of the Motorcity Recordings was released.
His songwriting and co-producing with Ian Levine was much in demand though and he continued to see success by co-producing the successful debut album by Take That and writing hits for groups such as The Pasadenas.
Featuring with many artists as a backing vocalist, producer and/or songwriter, he has worked with Gerald Albright, Herb Alpert, Lamont Dozier, The Emotions, The Fantastic Four, Aretha Franklin, Rodney Franklin, Thelma Houston, Ronald Isley, Jigsaw, Evelyn Champagne King, Teena Marie, The O’Jays, The Originals, Freda Payne, Edwin Starr, The Supremes, Jody Watley and Wham! to name just a few.
His compositions have also appeared on several movie and TV soundtracks such as Ally McBeal, Be Be’s Kids, Donny Brasco, Chicken Run and Friends. Outside of music he has appeared in several American soap operas during the course of his career. In the 2000s he was still working as a solo artist and released his Like Water in 2006.
In 2009 he was honoured with the other members of The Miracles when he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He is the co-owner of Grimora Records with Pete Moore of The Miracles.
The Miracles recordings
Love Machine (Part 1)/Love Machine (Part 2) (UK 45)
Tamla Motown TMG 1015
Here’s his “Hold Me Tighter In The Rain”….