One of the most famous faces to hail from Scotland, the Big Yin turns 75 years young today (24 November). His quick wit, charm and tales of growing up in Glasgow have made him a comedic icon across the world.
So much of an icon, this year the city of Glasgow paid homage to Sir Billy with three murals to the star. You can’t complain with three 50-foot murals created by three famous home-grown artists as a birthday present. We can’t compete, so instead we’ll take a moment to appreciate the Big Yin’s life.
- Before starting out as a comedian Billy worked as a welder. Working at the legendary Glasgow shipyards Billy gave up this work to focus on becoming a folk singer in The Humblebums.
- Billy and his pal Gerry Rafferty were in The Humblebums together until 1971 when Billy decided to pursue a solo career. We’re blooming happy he made that decision.
- Known for his creative flare and whimsical nature, Billy decided he wanted to be a comedian when he was 12. Although, at a young age Billy thought he wouldn’t fit in the comedic mould as he wasn’t windswept and interesting. Oh if only he knew.
- Despite his funny streak, Billy is also a clever cookie. Aged 15 Billy left school with two engineering qualifications – it turns out he collected an extra one by mistake.
- The Big Yin is a nickname that has followed Billy since his youth with people using the term to differentiate between him and his father.
- There is a world of lived experiences in Billy’s history, including a stint working on an oil platform in Biafra, Nigeria. There has to be a catalogue of jokes in there.
- It is well known that some of the funniest people have troubled pasts – Billy is no exception. After years of abuse as a child, Billy became an alcoholic. He became teetotal on New Year’s Eve 1985 with the help of his wife, Pamela Stephenson and actor Michael Caine.
- Being a big Celtic FC fan, it is only right that Billy has a seat for life at the club’s Celtic Park stadium. Only Billy and Rod Stewart have this honour.
- In 2014 Billy, whose grandfather was an Irish immigrant, discovered that he has roots in India thanks to the show Who Do You Think You Are?
- An avid motorcyclist, Billy is also the patron of the National Association for Bikers with a Disability.