Even at a young age, it was becoming clear that Bill was a talented singer and lyricist. During his teenage years, Bill, his brother, Bob and a group of friends formed a band called The Village Merchants that played regularly at legendary venues throughout the New York City area. Bill continued to perform and write music during his college years at NYU and ultimately formed the band Stillwater.
At age 27, Mercury Records offered Bill and the band a recording contract on the strength of a tape that they had recorded in the studio. Bowing to family pressures and a promising career in advertising, Bill reluctantly said no to the deal.