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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Rewind: Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful - The Waitresses (1982)

 Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful - The Waitresses
Produced by Chris Butler and Kurt Munkacsi 
Released 11th January 1982
US Chart #41

Playlist above is missing Heat Night which is the second track on Side 2 of the album.

Side 1
Side 2

    Patty Donahue – vocals
    Mars Williams – reeds
    Tracy Wormworth – bass
    David Hofstra – bass
    Billy Ficca – drums
    Dan Klayman – keyboards
    Chris Butler – guitar
    Ariel Warner - backing vocals

    Ralph Carney - saxophone on "No Guilt" and "I Know What Boys Like"
    Don Christensen - drums on "No Guilt"
    Rick Dailey - piano on "I Know What Boys Like"
    Stuart Austin - drums on "I Know What Boys Like"

Single On Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful

(UK 7" Picture Sleeve)

I Know What Boys Like / It's My Car
February 1982
US Chart #62

The song had actually been released back in 1980 and 1981 on a smaller label and featured a different B-Side and Picture Sleeve (though when it was released in France in 1982 it retained the old artwork)

I Know What Boys Like / No Guilt
Did Not Chart


The Waitresses, hailing from that Post-Punk haven of Akron, Ohio are  probably best known for the songs Christmas Wrapping and I Know What Boys Like. They were intially started as a side project by Chris Butler who was also a member of Akron band Tin Huey.

Their Debut recording release had been a single on Clone Records entitled In "Short Stack" (Slide / Clones) released in March 1978. Those two songs and also another early track called The Comb were also issued on The Akron Compilation released by Stiff Records in June 1978 (though Clones was unlisted on the cover and the label and was a hidden track).

The album also included Jane Aire and The Belvederes, Tin Huey, Rachel Sweet, The Bizzaros, Rubber City Rebels, Sniper, Idiots Convention, Terraplane and Chi Pig

In those days The Waitresses were pretty much just Chris Butler and he had actually recorded the song I Know What Boys Like back in 1977 with Patty Donahue on guest vocals but it remained unreleased until 1980 after he had moved to New York City and got a deal on the strength of the song. With that he began to put an actual band together, drafted in Patty Donahue on vocals, jazz saxophonist Mars Williams, former Television drummer Billy Ficca, keyboardist Dan Klayman, bassist Dave Hofstra and backing vocalist Ariel Warner. The Waitresses played their debut concert on New Year's Eve 1980.

In 1981 they released Christmas Wrapping for the first time on A Christmas Record by ZE Records.

During the recording of the debut album Ariel Warner left due to stage fright Dave Hofstra also left and was replaced by Tracy Wormworth (it is her bass line on Christmas Wrapping that is one of her crown glories. Though saying that she would go on to record and tour as a member of The B-52s and with Sting and many others).

With the album just peaking outside the Top 40 and the single I Know What Boys Like crawling to a halt at #62 (VH1 named the song as the 82nd Greatest One-Hit Wonder of All Time in 2002 as well as the 34th Greatest One-Hit Wonder of the 1980s in 2009) later in October 1982 Christmas Wrapping was released as a single and hit at #45 in the UK. It is regarded as one of the great holdiay songs.

After one more album (Bruiseology in 1983), recorded amid great turmoil within the band, they broke up in late 1984. This was after a period when Patty Donahue left, was replaced by Holly Beth Vincent (who had released records as part of  Holly & The Italians , solo and had recorded a duet with Joey Ramone)  but returned two weeks later after Vincent departed! Holly Beth Vincent did manage in her short time to make it to a band promo photo:

Patty Donahue died in 1996 due to Lung Cancer. Chris Butler is still making music with his band Half Cleveland (he has two residences these days one in Jersey City, NJ and the other in Cleveland, Ohio) and still writing and recording songs and has also done a number of Spoken Word performances.

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