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Friday, October 13, 2006

Willy DeVille: from the Bayou...

WDV002As a teenager, Willy DeVille had a band named Billy and the Kids. He moved to London looking to form a band, but was unsuccessful finding like-minded musicians. Eventually, he landed in San Francisco, where he formed a band with bassist Ruben Siguenza and drummer Tom "Manfred" Allen. The band played under the names Billy DeSade & the Marquis and the Lazy Eights before settling on the name Mink DeVille. Later, DeVille took the band to New York City, where they helped to pioneer punk rock music and were one of the original house bands at CBGB, the New York nighclub where punk rock music was born in the mid-1970s.

The typical DeVille song -- if any of his songs can be called "typical" -- is filled with romantic conviction and yearning. Latin rhythms, Blues riffs, and strains of country music can be heard in DeVille songs. "Spanish Stroll" was a hit in the U.S. and the UK in 1978; "Storybook Love" (nominated for an Academy Award in 1987) is the theme song of the movie The Princess Bride; DeVille's "Just to Walk that Little Girl Home" (co-authored with Doc Pomus) can be heard in the movie "The Pope of Greenwich Village"; and his "It's So Easy" can be heard in the movie "Cruising."WDV001

Why DeVille isn't as popular as, for example, Bruce Springsteen, and why DeVille isn't as popular in America as Europe, will always be a mystery to his fans. DeVille suffered from drug addiction for many years, which stifled his career. Among musicians and songwriters, he is highly respected. Songwriter Doc Pomus said about Deville, "He knows the truth of a city street and the courage in a ghetto love song."

Willy Deville – Live at Lowland 2006


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