Artists – W

Warren Smith

It’s astonishing the sheer amount of talent that was beating a path to Sam Phillips’ door in 1956 wanting a contract with Sun Records. Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley all got Phillips’ OK that year, but even premier rock ‘n’ roll wild men like The Burnette Brothers were turned down. The(…)

Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon was born in Chicago, the son of a Russian-Jewish boxer turned professional gambler. He spent most of his childhood in Arizona and California, before eventually leaving high school to become a folk singer in Greenwich Village, New York. He recorded a debut album, Wanted Dead or Alive – which even he admitted was best forgotten(…)

Warumpi Band, The

This Australian band was formed in 1980 by Neil Murray (a white Victorian working in the Papunya region of the Northern Territory as a schoolteacher and labourer), George Burarrwanga (an aboriginal from Elcho Island) and local aboriginal boys Gordon and Sammy Butcher. The band had many line-ups over the years, with Murray and Burarrwanga the(…)

Was (Not Was)

Was (Not Was) played contemporary R&B dance music, with lyrics that ranged from satire to completely bizarre. The group was led by Detroit-natives David Weiss (David Was) – who wrote those lyrics – and Don Fagenson (Don Was) but fronted at various times by many different singers, including big names like Ozzy Osbourne, Doug Fieger (from The(…)

Wasted Youth

Formed in the summer of 1979, this East London band forged a style with punk and psych roots. Their singles and albums were released on the Bridgehouse label, which was operated by bassist Darren Murphy’s dad, Terry, from his pub of the same name in Canning Town Wasted Youth broke up in December 1982. Darren Murphy passed(…)

Waterboys, The

Scottish singer/songwriter Mike Scott started his own punk fanzine, called Jungleland, in Edinburgh in 1977. Two years later he formed a group called Another Pretty Face but soon tired of being in a band and began recording music himself. The result was a five-track mini-album, The Waterboys, released in 1984 on his own label (Chicken(…)

Waylon Jennings

Following the break-up of The Crickets, Jennings played bass for Buddy Holly. During a particularly harsh winter in February 1958 while touring with Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, 21-year-old Jennings offered up his seat on a chartered light aircraft to a flu-ridden Big Bopper, volunteering to travel in the freezing tour bus in his place. As they(…)

Wayne County & The Electric Chairs

Georgia-born Wayne County first appeared in the New York club scene in the early 1970s though with little success. He dressed in full drag and sang campy, vulgar songs, suing a vibrator, a toilet seat – and worse – as props. Finding the British punk audience more sympathetic he moved briefly to England where he(…)

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

Wayne Fontana was born Glynn Ellis in Manchester, England, on 28 October 1945. He started his musical career at school with a skiffle group called The Velfins, and later formed a Rock & Roll outfit called The Jets, with whom he worked the pubs and clubs of Greater Manchester. In 1963 the group was spotted playing in(…)

Wayne Newton

Weather Girls, The

The Weather Girls, Martha Wash and Izora Armstead, started out in the gospel group NOW (News of the World) before becoming backup singers with Sylvester in the 70s. They formed the duo Two Tons of Fun, later changing their name to The Weather Girls and recording in the early 80s. The girls enjoyed a massive(…)

Weather Prophets, The

This Velvet Underground-inflected London band formed in 1985 around Pete Astor (vocals & guitar) and Dave Morgan (drums), who were joined by Oisin Little (guitar) and Greenwood Goulding (bass). Little left in 1988 and the band continued as a trio, until Astor went solo in 1990. Pete Astor Vocals, guitar Oisin Little Guitar Greenwood Goulding Bass(…)

Weather Report

Weather Report was among the earliest and most influential of all jazz-rock bands. The original unit was co-founded by Wayne Shorter (saxophone) and Josef Zawinul (keyboards) in 1970, and they remained the core nucleus with side-men coming and going. Shorter and Zawinul (who had emigrated to the United States in 1959) had learned from years of playing(…)

Wedding Present, The

This rapid-fire band of jangly punk/poppers formed in Leeds in 1984. Outside of the hermetic world of John Peel‘s Festive 50 (where they were forever kings), The Wedding Present rarely received their critical due in their late 80’s heydey. Snobbery dictated that they were routinely derided as grey, provincial and ordinaire, perennially churning out dirges about adolescent infatuations(…)

Weddings Parties Anything

Formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1985, Weddings Parties Anything were a gritty folk-rock band with distinct Pogues leanings and a very strong Australian colloquial flavour. Fronted by songwriter Michael Thomas, the band released their first single in 1986 – the independently released Go! Move! Shift! This was followed early in 1987 by the single Away, Away and their(…)

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