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Wet Wet Wet

Wet Wet Wet
Background information
Genres Soft rock,[1][2] pop rock, soul, sophisti-pop
Years active 1982–present
Labels Mercury
Associated acts The Sleeping Giants, New Celeste
Website WetWetWet.co.uk
Members Marti Pellow
Tommy Cunningham
Graeme Clark
Neil Mitchell
Past members Stephen Toal

Wet Wet Wet are a Scottish soft rock band that formed in 1982. They scored a number of hits in the UK charts and around the world. The band is composed of Marti Pellow (lead vocals), Tommy Cunningham (drums, vocals), Graeme Clark (bass, vocals) and Neil Mitchell (keyboards, vocals). A fifth, unofficial member, Graeme Duffin (lead guitar, vocals), has been with them since 1983. The band were named Best British Newcomer at the 1988 Brit Awards.[3]

They are best known for their 1994 cover of The Troggs' 1960s hit "Love Is All Around", which was used on the soundtrack to the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was a huge international success and spent fifteen weeks atop the British charts. The week before it could have equalled the record for the longest-standing UK number-one single, held by Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You", it dropped to number two.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Formation and early years: 1982-1987 1.1
    • Commercial success: 1988-1996 1.2
    • Subsequent releases and break-up activities: 1997-2003 1.3
    • Reformation: 2004-present 1.4
  • Members 2
  • Discography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History

Formation and early years: 1982-1987

The quartet formed at Clydebank High School in Clydebank, Scotland, in 1982, under the name "Vortex Motion", mostly playing covers of The Clash and Magazine. "It was either crime, the dole, football, or music — and we chose music," said Tommy Cunningham.

Graeme Clark and Cunningham met on the school bus and became close friends. Mutual friend Neil Mitchell, prompted by his pals' positive attitude, promised to supply keyboards when he could scrape together enough money from his paper round. To complete the quartet, Clark approached Mark McLachlan, who at the time was training to be a painter and decorator. He said, "At break we all went behind the kitchen for a fly smoke, and there in the corner was this quiet kid who said very little, but when he sang, everyone listened."[4] It was sometime in 1983 that Graeme Duffin joined Wet Wet Wet. He was previously in a 1970s Glasgow-based band called "New Celeste", who produced three albums before they broke up. The band combined folk, rock and jazz players.[5]

"At the time it was Duran Duran, Talk Talk – double-barrelled names; we just added on another to confuse people. And we would look outside and see the rain coming down. It did seem quite relevant to Glasgow."

—Graeme Clark on how the band chose their name, March 1987[6]

With the line-up complete, rehearsals took place in Mrs. Clark's kitchen. They rehearsed for about two years, working on song producing and writing skills. They eventually made their live debut at Glasgow's Nightmoves venue. At this gig they met Elliot Davis, who would become the band's manager. The band name Wet Wet Wet was chosen from a line in the 1982 Scritti Politti song "Gettin' Havin' & Holdin'" ("it's tired of joking... wet, wet with tears"),[6] and McLachlan changed his name to stage name "Marti Pellow". Their first professional gig was a New Year's Eve show at Glasgow's Barrowland.[7]

David Bates signed the band to [8] The parent album, Popped In Souled Out, also became a hit and produced three more hit singles, namely "Sweet Little Mystery", "Temptation", and "Angel Eyes". They supported Lionel Richie on his UK tour.

Commercial success: 1988-1996

In 1988, Wet Wet Wet scored their first Number 1 hit with a cover version of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends", recorded for the charity ChildLine. Another Beatles song, "She's Leaving Home", was equally-billed on the flip side, performed by Billy Bragg. In the same year, an album - entitled The Memphis Sessions - was released from their spell in the USA prior to hitting the big time.

The following year the band released their third album, Holding Back the River (a follow-up to Popped In Souled Out), which was also a success and produced the hit single "Sweet Surrender". The album was well-received, relying more on strings and other classical arrangements. At the end of 1989, the band appeared on the Band Aid II charity single.

In 1992, the band released a fourth studio album, entitled High on the Happy Side, which spawned the Number 1 hit single "Goodnight Girl" - the only self-penned chart-topping single they have had to date. The song proved something of a saviour, as the previous two single releases from the album had failed in the singles charts, although the album sold well. In total, five singles were released from it. The following day saw the release of a special-edition album, Cloak & Dagger released under the alias "Maggie Pie & The Impostors". "Maggie Pie" was Marti Pellow, and the "impostors" were (on album cover, clockwise from top left) Neil Mitchell, Graeme Duffin, Tommy Cunningham, and Graeme Clark.

The band's first greatest-hits package, End of Part One, was released towards the end of 1993. The eighteen-song selection included "Shed a Tear" and "Cold Cold Heart", which were recorded with Nile Rodgers in New York City especially for the album and released as singles.

In 1994, Wet Wet Wet had their biggest hit, a cover version of

In 1995, they became the shirt sponsors of their hometown football club, Clydebank F.C..[10]

Subsequent releases and break-up activities: 1997-2003

During the rest of the 1990s the band maintained a strong UK following, although success in the singles charts became more sporadic. Their seventh studio album, 1997's Ten, celebrated the group's decade at the top.

After the tour in support of 10, things turned sour over a dispute about royalty-sharing. Revenue from the group's songwriting had been a four-way equal split. Cunningham turned up for a routine band meeting, only to discover that the other three members wanted to revise the policy, paying the drummer a lesser amount. Cunningham instantly quit the group saying that the band had run its course and that the band was no longer a healthy place to be.

In 1999 Pellow also quit the band, to focus on getting himself healthy again after succumbing to a debilitating alcohol and drug addiction.[11] Pellow succeeded in kicking his habits, and returned to the public eye in 2001 with his debut solo album, Smile.

Reformation: 2004-present

In March 2004, the band cautiously reformed in order to work on an eighth album. A single entitled "All I Want" was released in November 2004 from the band's second Greatest Hits, released a week later. They undertook a successful tour of the UK the following month.

In July 2005, Wet Wet Wet played at the Summer Weekender festival in England, and were one of the headline acts at Live 8 Edinburgh in Scotland. On 31 December 2006, Wet Wet Wet were the headline act for Aberdeen's Hogmanay celebrations when the celebrations in all other Scottish cities was held off because of strong winds and heavy rain.[12] They performed thirteen songs in an hour-long set.

A single, "Too Many People", was released on 5 November 2007, and its parent album, Timeless, on 12 November. These preceded a sold-out December tour, a taste of which was given at their Newmarket concert in August. In preparation for the tour, the band also announced that they will be playing two intimate dates at zavvi stores in Glasgow and London in November.[13] "Weightless", the second single from the album, was released on 4 February and charted at Number 10, giving them their first top-ten hit in eleven years.

In March 2012, it was announced that the band would perform its first concert in over five years, at Glasgow Green on 20 July, to celebrate their 25th anniversary of the release of their debut album, Popped In, Souled Out.

In May 2013, UK music promoter Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Live confirmed a ten date UK tour for Wet Wet Wet commencing in December 2013.[14]

On 8 October 2013, Wet Wet Wet announced via their Twitter page that they would be releasing a new Greatest Hits album, Step by Step: The Greatest Hits, on 25 November 2013. The album features three new tracks as well as songs from their back catalogue.

Members

Discography

References

  1. ^ """Wet Wet Wet: "We're all coming up to 50 now and no-one's died!. Cambridge News. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "A night at the races with Wet Wet Wet". ITV News. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "1988 Brit Awards - Winners". Brits.co.uk. Retrieved 26 January 2014
  4. ^ End of Part One: Their Greatest Hits liner notes
  5. ^ "Graeme Duffin". Monique van Spellen. Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Snow, Mat (14 March 1987). "I can't stand the rain".  
  7. ^ Behind The Smile documentary, 2004
  8. ^ "Chippie made me a super star". Sunday Mail. Retrieved 29 December 2006. 
  9. ^ VH1 to One, 2001
  10. ^ Lindsay, Clive (15 July 2002). "Well dries for the Bankies". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 December 2006. 
  11. ^ "Pellow quits Wet Wet Wet". BBC News. 11 May 1999. Retrieved 15 January 2007. 
  12. ^ "Fire ceremony marks start of 2007". BBC Online. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2007. 
  13. ^ Lyons, Beverley (9 November 2007). "Wets To Play Intimate Gig". Daily Record (Glasgow). Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Wet Wet Wet UK Tour Dates Kilimanjaro Live

External links

  • Official website
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