Be Bop Deluxe man Bill Nelson reunited with 'iconic' guitar after fans intervene

Bill Nelson with the Axe Victim guitar
Bill Nelson with the Axe Victim guitar (Image credit: Martin Bostock)

Former Be Bop Deluxe frontman Bill Nelson has been reunited with a guitar that featured on the sleeve of their album Axe Victim and which he hadn’t seen since the 1970s.

Nelson was pictured with the white Hoyer Les Paul lookalike on the rear cover of the band’s 1974 debut album, but he sold it soon after to a local musician in his hometown of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in the UK.

Now a group of fans have tracked the guitar down and, after paying what modest Nelson considers an inflated price, have returned it to him.

Nelson tells TeamRock: “The guitar originally went from me to Ada Wilson of the band Strangeways who then sold it to Stuart Adamson of The Skids.

“When I first worked with The Skids, Stuart wanted to give it back to me as he thought it had become iconic and that it should remain with me, but I told him he should keep it and look after it.

“It later went to someone in Scotland and that is the person I believe put it up for sale for quite a lot of money, especially considering it’s a Les Paul copy and not a genuine Gibson.

“But it seems some fans of mine saw it for sale and got together to contribute to a fund to buy it back for me, without my knowledge. I believe the plan was to surprise me with it at a gig, but as I’ve had to give up live performances due to my health, the main organiser of the plan was eventually deputised to give it to me at home, which was still a fabulous surprise.

“So, now it’s come full circle.”

Be Bop Deluxe split in 1978 following the release of their last album, Drastic Plastic.

Nelson’s latest solo album Special Metal is out now and can be ordered via his BandCamp page.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.