The Waterboys are a hugely successful and influential band whose career has seen several changes in musical direction between rock and Celtic folk.
Their members come from Ireland, Scotland and England and their classic song, The Whole of the Moon is famous all over the world.
Many of the band’s songs explore the spirituality of their main songwriter, Mike Scott and they are also heavily influenced by literary powerhouses such as poet, W.B.Yeats.
In turn, The Waterboys have been an influence on bands such as The Wonderstuff, Feeder and The Decemberists.
Another Pretty Face and The Red and the Black
Scott had already had his first taste of the music business before he formed The Waterboys after releasing an album called Another Pretty Face in 1981.
He met saxophone player, Anthony Thistlethwaite and they formed a band, The Red and the Black. Thistlethwaire’s drummer friend, Kevin Wilkinson joined soon after.
In 1983, they formed The Waterboys after Scott had decided to form a band rather than release a solo album. They got their name from a line in Lou Reed’s song, The Kids.
They added keyboard player Karl Wallinger to their ranks and made their first television appearance on BBC2’s Old Grey Whistle Test.
The Waterboys and A Pagan Place
Their first album, The Waterboys was released in 1983. It has been described by Allmusic as a mix between Van Morrison and U2. It contained the song, A Girl Called Johnny which was a tribute to Patti Smith.
The band added new members, Roddy Lorimer on trumpets and Martyn Swain on bass and went on tour to promote the album.
They released their second album, A Pagan Place a year later. Much of the album had been recorded before their debut had even been released. Karl Wallinger joined the group after the first album and he took part in the second recording sessions for the A Pagan Place album.
The Waterboys release hit single The Whole of the Moon