William Morris "Billy" Nicholls Jr (born 15 February 1949) is an English singer, songwriter, composer, record producer, and musical director. He was born into a musical family, his father Billy Nicholls (Sr.) being a double bassist and big band singer, performing with such groups as The Squadronairs. Nicholls first gained fame in the 1960s while still a teenager with his Pet Sounds-influenced album, Would You Believe, originally released on Immediate Records.
Nicholls' compositions have been covered by many artists. His first success came in 1977 when Leo Sayer covered "I Can't Stop Loving You (Though I Try)"; it rose to No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart. Nicholls wrote several of the tracks for the film McVicar (starring Roger Daltrey) including "Without Your Love", which was a success in the United States.
An American southern rock group, the Outlaws, recorded "I Can't Stop Loving You" on their 1980 release Ghost Riders. More recently, Phil Collins also recorded "I Can't Stop Loving You" and it proved successful as a U.S. single, appearing on several of his albums, and Collins included it in his last world tour.
A longtime acquaintance and occasional collaborator with Pete Townshend, Nicholls toured with The Who in 1989 and 1996–1997, serving as backup singer and music director; he also provided backing vocals for the band's version of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting", which appeared on the tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.
In 2003, Nicholls received an ASCAP award for "I Can't Stop Loving You". Keith Urban recorded the song in 2006 on his fifth studio album, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing.
In 2009 a promotional copy of Would You Believe was sold on eBay for £7,312.
Nicholls set up Southwest Records in 1998 and has released seven albums featuring his own work. He has contributed backing vocals for many friends and artists over the years, including uncredited backing vocals on The Nice's 1967 debut single "The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack".
He is the father of musician Morgan Nicholls and singer songwriter Amy Fay Nicholls.