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A 33-year-old clarinet player with a goatee, a bowler hat, and a background in Dixieland jazz would hardly seem like a likely candidate for international stardom. But Bernard Stanley Bilk, who used the stage name Acker Bilk, managed just that in 1962 when his song "Stranger on the Shore," a moody but romantic instrumental built around his low-register clarinet work, became a hit in England, Europe, and even the United States. Bilk's days as an American pop star were short-lived, but he enjoyed a long career in the U.K., where his interpretations of jazz standards, pop perennials, and easy listening favorites were regularly heard on TV and radio and in his nightclub engagements. Stranger on the Shore: The Best of Acker Bilk features a new 1996 recording of "Stranger on the Shore" as well as 22 other familiar melodies performed by Bilk in his trademark style.