Band names that caused the opposite type of confusion in the 1980s included the like of Sade and Toyah: there was no question of which one was Sade or Toyah because they were assumed to be solo artistes, whereas in fact Sade Adu and Toyah Willcox were the front-women of otherwise all-male bands. (In the latter’s case there was further confusion when in the second half of the 80s Willcox did indeed launch a solo career, using her forename only.)
Then there were bands named after people who didn’t feature in the line-up. Two such acts were Matt Bianco and Danny Wilson, both names referring to fictitious figures and not to their singers. Matt Bianco’s only permanent member over the years has been Mark Reilly, often assumed to be the Matt in the group’s name; in fact, it was the name given to a James Bond/spy character invented by Reilly and others in the early 80s which inspired some of the lyric writing on their first album. Danny Wilson was the name of Frank Sinatra’s impulsive character in the 1952 movie ‘Meet Danny Wilson’, a title they used for their debut LP. Originally, this trio of musicians from Dundee (Ged Grimes and bothers Kit and Gary Clark) wanted to call themselves Spencer Tracy, after the very much real but deceased actor, but his estate apparently objected to the use of his name and so they used the name of a fictional character instead.
All three members of Danny Wilson sang, all were multi-instrumentalists, all contributed to songwriting, and all took credit for producing their own recordings from their second album Bebop Moptop onwards. (Second Summer Of Love was taken from that collection.) The most likely candidate to be mistaken for being Danny Wilson himself was Gary Clark, because he sang the lead on most of their hits, but his brother also sang lead on many tracks; Grimes contributed backing vocals. Between the three of them they were credited as playing piano and other keyboards, guitars, bass guitar and double bass and accordion on their records. Grimes also played various percussion instruments but they used guests and session musicians for some parts such as drums, and of course had touring members for live dates to reproduce their rich studio sound on stage.
The collective nature of the band might have contributed to its eventual dissolution early in the 1990s. They had all written material they wanted to include on the next album and couldn’t agree which should be the priority tracks. As there was no actual ‘Danny Wilson’ to give the casting vote, they agreed to go their separate ways. They remained on good terms though, as all appeared on Gary Clark’s debut solo album.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jun. 5
Kirsty MACCOLL There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis (Polydor POSP250)
The PROFESSIONALS Join The Professionals (Virgin VS426)
SPLODGENESSABOUNDS Cowpunk Medlum (Deram BUM3)
THOMPSON TWINS Animal Laugh (T TEE2)
DANNY WILSON Second Summer Of Love (Virgin VS1186)
Samantha FOX I Wanna Have Some Fun (Jive FOXY12)
Holly JOHNSON Atomic City (MCA MCA1342)