Billy recalls, "All these songs that were hits were really so on their own strength, in comparison to my later days with Jive, where people were actually working the records to create hits. But one of the things 'Nights' did is really help me in the U.S. market. They invited me to Paradise Garage, and I did very well. It wasn't from scratch, because I was over here in Europe doing a lot of club dates. I really wasn't getting a lot of money for them, but it was a great period, because it was experience. So, when 'Nights' took off in America, I was ready. I was nervous, but I didn't have any rust. I was really at the top of my trade." Today , the song remains a classic crowd-pleaser as a regular part of Billy's shows.
It's said that the third time is the charm, and that was arguably the case with many of the same songs from Billy's City Limit LP that were covered by the aforementioned artists. With the sudden success of "Nights," Epic's U.S. division commissioned a full-length album. Pressed to get it out in a timely manner, Billy re-cut those tunes (initially produced by Ken Gold) with producer Nigel Martinez. The result was the nine-track Nights (Feel Like Getting Down) album, released in 1981. "I recorded the whole thing in something like 11 days. If you look at the City Limit album as, 'This is a demo of what it should be like,' then it didn't seem like starting from scratch. Nigel had enough to go on to produce and create his own idea of what it should be."
Unfortunately, the full-length didn't get all the attention it was entitled to, with Epic throwing out only one further single (the beautifully funky "Another Day Won't Matter") and then dropping the ball. Shortly thereafter, Billy recorded what was to be his last album with Epic: 1982's masterful Inner Feelings. The first single was a sort of take-off on "Nights" with authentic Caribbean influences integrated into the funkiness — "Calypso Funkin'." Chart positions weren't as lofty this time around, and the subsequent single releases fizzled without notice.
But a major turning point was shortly around the corner. Signing with Clive Calder's Jive Records in 1983, Billy finally found a label home where he could work on his craft while being supported by the company's infrastructure to get it product out in a far more noticeable manner. "What can I say? It's almost as if it was something that I was working towards, and all of a sudden, my time had come. Jive promised they would send me to America. All of the promises that they made, they kept. I was working with people like 'Mutt' Lange, Barry Eastmond, and very talented people. Barry was Lena Horne's musical director when he was 18. Wayne Brathwaite was working with Herbie Hancock as a bass player. And the nice thing about all of these people, except for Mutt Lange, is that they were unknown producers. We found success together. It was a very creative period. I have to say thanks to Clive Calder, who has to be the greatest record man in the world. He really knew how to put teams together. He knew what he wanted for the label, and for the artist. I had a lot of artistic freedom. I was working one-on-one with him, so it was a very good relationship."