Testimony of Bill Dunn



The music was pounding, the place was bopping, Bill Dunn had finally made it!  It would not be long before he was a super star!  Yet, as he looked across the packed hall of the large auditorium packed with teeny boppers and rockers who were waiting for an autograph, there was a void and an emptiness deep down inside him.

“Modern music has always had a big influence on my life.  I grew up in the east of the city of Belfast, not far from the once famous Belfast Ship yard and the now popular George Best City Airport. 

From my early years I was giving impressions of famous stage and film stars, mimicking their songs.  Later, just before I got into my teenage years, “skiffle music” became the whole rage across the UK and Northern Ireland.  It was then I took up the guitar and haven’t left it down since.  Skiffle groups quickly emerged but ‘skiffle’ went as quickly as it came due to a new style of music called “Rock 'n' Roll”.  On hearing the sound I was hooked immediately and with some friends, such as the legendary Van Morrison and George Jones, the popular DJ for radio U105, we formed small rock groups.  As I emerged deeper into my music, opportunities came to sing and play guitar for some of the popular Irish Show Bands of that era.  I was not then aware of the darkening shadows that were to overtake me; had I known, I would have avoided the pitfalls.  But, the love of music and it’s excitement lured me on. 

Life during this time became frantic and I found myself turning more and more to alcohol to help me keep up the pace.  Each time I went on stage I was blind drunk.  I had mood swings, going to the heights of ecstasy then plummeting to the depths of despair.  My life was heading for disaster.  In 1965 I was singing for a Rhythm 'n' Blues band named the “Gamblers”, who later changed their name to “Them” and went on “Top of the Pops” with the songs: “Here Comes the Night” and “Baby Please Don’t Go”.  When I left the group my old buddy Van Morrison stepped in to take my place as the fronting vocalist.  It was in that, after deep searching for the meaning of life, I met someone who shared the Gospel - the good news about Jesus Christ who came into this world from Heaven to seek and to save the lost.  I knew I was lost and if I died at that moment, I would go to Hell.  As the saying goes, I was already going through hell on earth, but I was astutely aware of what the Bible taught and what Jesus said, that there is a literal Hell for all who would not repent of their sins and who would not believe and receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour.  One evening after midnight, I knelt in the front room of the little house that had been my home for 22 years.  I asked God to forgive me and rid me of all my guilt feelings, and then asked Jesus Christ to save me and become my Lord.  The change was immediate; it was so realistic, it became the talking point in all the pubs and clubs in Belfast!” 

For Bill Dunn, the Rock 'n' Roll years were over, never to return.  Bill had encountered another rock, the Rock Jesus Christ, and on this rock his feet have been securely planted for many years.  He now lives to point others to that same rock, because “it is no secret what God can do, what He’s done for others He can do for you!” 

He turned his back on Rock 'n' Roll
When he began to think about his soul.
The music, drink and social mix
For a little while had given kicks.
But oh, the emptiness within,
All brought about because of sin,
Until that day Bill Dunn found Christ
And now he keeps that sacred tryst.

. . . M.E. McBride