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The Waterboys

Led by the literate singer/songwriter Mike Scott, the group's sole constant member, the mercurial Waterboys formed in London in 1981. Born December 14, 1958, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Scott first became involved in music as the creator of the fanzine Jungleland and later played in a series of local punk outfits. After college, where he studied English and philosophy, Scott and his band, Another Pretty Face, moved to London; following the group's breakup, he formed the Waterboys, so named after a line in the Lou Reed song "The Kids" but wholly appropriate given Scott's recurring lyrical fascination with sea imagery.

A newspaper advertisement calling for musicians led to a response from multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thistlethwaite; along with drummer Kevin Wilkinson, the Waterboys issued their self-titled debut in 1983. Keyboardist Karl Wallinger and trumpeter Roddy Lorimer joined for the 1984 follow-up, A Pagan Place, which expanded the group's rich, dramatic sound while further exploring Scott's interest in spirituality. With 1985's This Is the Sea, the Waterboys reached an early peak; a majestic, ambitious record, it earned the group a significant hit with the single "The Whole of the Moon."

However, after the album's release, Wallinger departed to form World Party, which prompted Scott and Thistlethwaite to relocate to Ireland and begin with a clean slate. When the Waterboys returned in 1988 with the acclaimed Fisherman's Blues, they were joined by traditional Irish players like fiddler Steve Wickham, drummer Dave Ruffy, keyboardist Guy Chambers, and bassist Marco Weissman, resulting in a stripped-down, folky sound that was continued on 1990's Room to Roam.

In 1991, Scott moved to New York without Thistlethwaite or any other bandmembers; the release of 1993's Dream Harder, cut with session musicians, marked a return to an electric, more rock-oriented sound. Soon Scott moved back to Scotland, where he began a lengthy stay at a spiritual commune; there he recorded the folk-tinged Bring 'Em All In under his own name, apparently putting the Waterboys to rest for good.

On July 17, 1999, drummer Kevin Wilkinson committed suicide in his countryside home in Swindon, Wiltshire, England, just prior to jetting off on an American tour with Howard Jones. Wilkinson, who had also worked with Squeeze, China Crisis, Bonnie Raitt, and the Proclaimers, was a member of the Waterboys since their 1983 self-titled effort.

Good fortune was in the wings, for Mike Scott resurrected the Waterboys name in 2000. Rock in the Weary Land marked the band's first release in seven years. Thistlethwaite and Wickham would return to the group, and tours across the world would prove successful. Fisherman's Blues, Pt. 2, an album featuring previously unavailable material from the Fisherman's Blues sessions, appeared in summer 2002. Scott returned to the studio for 2003's Universal Hall, followed by Book of Lightning in 2007.

After a couple of years of touring and time off, Scott assembled and released a compilation of unreleased songs from the Waterboys This Is the Sea sessions entitled In a Special Place in 2011, and also published a book entitled, Kiss the Wind: A Waterboy's Adventures in Music. He and bassist Scott Arciero also assembled a new version of the Waterboys -- Wickham (fiddle), Katie Kim (vocals), James Hallawell (keyboards), Kate St John (sax, oboe), Blaise Margail (trombone), Ralph Salmins (drums), Sarah Allen (flute), and Joe Chester (guitar) -- who began performing together in late 2010 and early 2011. In March they entered a studio to commence recording a new album. An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, a collection of new songs whose lyrics were taken from the poems of William Butler Yeats. The sessions were completed in June. The album was released in Europe in the early fall on Proper, and in the United States in early 2012. In January of 2015, the Waterboys released Modern Blues. The album was recorded in Nashville, produced by Scott and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: An Appointment With Mr Yeats

1. The Hosting Of The Shee

2. Song Of The Wandering Aengus

3. News For The Delphic Oracle

4. A Full Moon In March

5. Sweet Dancer

6. White Birds

7. The Lake Isle Of Innisfree

8. Mad As The Mist And Snow

9. Before The World Was Made

10. September 1913

11. An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

12. Politics

13. Let The Earth Bear Witness

14. The Faery's Last Song

x

Track List: In A Special Place

1. Don't Bang The Drum

2. Be My Enemy

3. All The Bright Horses

4. Custer's Blues

5. Beverly Penn

6. The Day I Ran Out Of People

7. The Pan Within

8. Winter In The Blood

9. The Woman In Me

10. Looking For Dickon

11. Paris In The Rain

12. Talk About Wings

13. The Whole Of The Moon

14. Old England

15. Trumpets (Headstrong Remix 2011)

x

Track List: Book Of Lightning

1. The Crash Of Angel Wings

2. Love Will Shoot You Down

3. Nobody's Baby Anymore

4. Strange Arrangement

5. She Tried To Hold Me

6. It's Gonna Rain

7. Sustain

8. You In The Sky

9. Everybody Takes A Tumble

10. The Man With The Wind At His Heels

x

Track List: Karma To Burn

1. Long Way To The Light

2. Peace Of Iona

3. Glastonbury Song

4. Medicine Bow

5. The Pan Within (Live)

6. Open

7. The Return Of Jimi Hendrix (Live)

8. My Dark Side

9. A Song For The Life (Live)

10. Bring 'Em All In

11. The Whole Of The Moon

12. Fisherman's Blues

13. Come Live With Me (Live)

x

Track List: Universal Hall

1. This Light Is For The World

2. The Christ In You

3. Silent Fellowship

4. Every Breath Is Yours

5. Peace Of Iona

6. Ain't No Words For The Things I'm Feeling

7. Seek The Light

8. I've Lived Here Before

9. Always Dancing, Never Getting Tired

10. The Dance At The Crossroads

11. E.B.O.L.

12. Universal Hall

x

Track List: Too Close To Heaven

Disc 1

1. On My Way To Heaven

2. Higher In Time

3. The Ladder

4. Too Close To Heaven

5. Good Man Gone

6. Blues For Your Baby

7. Custer's Blues

8. A Home In The Meadow

9. Tenderfootin'

10. Lonesome Old Wind

Disc 2

1. Higher In Time (2 Pianos Version)

2. Ain't Leavin, I'm Gone

3. Lonesome And A Long Way From Home

4. The Good Ship Sirius

5. Too Close To Heaven (Live)

x

Track List: A Rock In The Weary Land

1. Let It Happen

2. The Charlatan's Lament

3. Is She Conscious?

4. We Are Jonah

5. It's All Gone

6. My Love Is My Rock In The Weary Land

7. Lucky Day/ Bad Advice

8. His Word Is Not His Bond

9. Malediction

10. Dumbing Down The World

11. The Wind In The Wires

12. Night Falls On London

13. Crown

14. My Lord, What A Morning

x

Track List: The Whole Of The Moon

1. The Whole Of The Moon

2. Glastonbury Song

3. Medicine Bow

4. Fisherman's Blues

6. The Pan Within

9. Strange Boat

10. Red Army Blues

11. This Is The Sea

12. Higher In Time

13. The Return Of Pan

15. When Ye Go Away

x

Track List: Dream Harder

1. The New Life

2. Glastonbury Song

3. Preparing To Fly

4. The Return Of Pan

5. Corn Circles

6. Suffer

7. Winter Winter

8. Love And Death

9. Spiritual City

10. Wonders Of Lewis

11. The Return Of Jimi Hendrix

12. Good News

x

Track List: Fisherman's Blues

Disc 1

1. Fisherman's Blues

2. We Will Not Be Lovers

3. Strange Boat

4. World Party

5. Sweet Thing

6. Jimmy Hickey's Waltz

7. And A Bang On The Ear

8. Has Anybody Here Seen Hank?

9. When Will We Be Married

10. When Ye Go Away

11. Dunford's Fancy

12. The Stolen Child

13. This Land Is Your Land

Disc 2

1. Carolan's Welcome

2. Killing My Heart

3. You In The Sky

6. Fisherman's Blues

10. Rattle My Bones And Shiver My Soul

11. Let Me Feel Holy Again

12. Meet Me At The Station

14. Soon As I Get Home

x

Track List: This Is The Sea

1. Don't Bang The Drum

2. The Whole Of The Moon

3. Spirit

4. The Pan Within

5. Medicine Bow

6. Old England

7. Be My Enemy

9. This Is The Sea

x

Track List: A Pagan Place

1. Church Not Made With Hands

2. All The Things She Gave Me

3. The Thrill Is Gone

4. Rags

5. Some Of My Best Friends Are Trains

6. Somebody Might Wave Back

7. The Big Music

8. Red Army Blues

9. A Pagan Place

10. The Late Train To Heaven (Rockfield Mix)

11. Love That Kills (Instrumental)

12. The Madness Is Here Again

13. Cathy

14. Down Through The Dark Streets

x

Track List: The Waterboys

1. December

2. A Girl Called Johnny

3. The Three Day Man

4. Gala

5. Where Are You Now When I Need You?

6. I Will Not Follow

7. It Should Have Been You

8. The Girl In The Swing

9. Savage Earth Heart

10. Something Fantastic

11. Ready For The Monkeyhouse

12. Another Kind Of Circus

13. A Boy In Black Leather

14. December (Original 8-Track Mix)

15. Jack Of Diamonds

x

Track List: Modern Blues

1. Destinies Entwined

2. November Tale

3. Still A Freak

4. I Can See Elvis

5. The Girl Who Slept For Scotland

6. Rosalind (You Married The Wrong Guy)

7. Beautiful Now

8. Nearest Thing To Hip

9. Long Strange Golden Road

x

Track List: Sweet Dancer (Single)

1. Sweet Dancer

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Mike Scott can come to my Alaskan cove whenever he wants....
Report as inappropriate
Mmmmmmm(k??m m ? m m ? k k k m m m k k m
Report as inappropriate
mike and his waterboys live are soul healing.... and many of mike's song will endure the test of time and waves and planetary squirms
Report as inappropriate
Meh, not feeling it
Report as inappropriate
few bands have a channel to what makes us who we are and Mike Scott is a minstrel of the soul/spirit. . .for me it,s my Celtic ancestors, who Scott seems to know well and connects us.
Report as inappropriate
the music bring me close to my girlfriend from Glasgow scottland, as she lives in ca. now . the waterboys are a great band thanks for sharing your songs with us Steve
Report as inappropriate
All time favorites,fr o m the first time I heard them in 83
Report as inappropriate
Whoever compiles these lyrics needs to dig the wax out. Your eyes are like tortures???? The word is torches!
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Glastonbury. . . r e l i g i o u s fever!
Report as inappropriate
Only been a fan since 1999...and forever will stay with me. ''We will not be lovers' tops all mi' charts!
Report as inappropriate
kroper68
they are at alternate times moving fun and provoking. I love them and have since This is the Sea. Mike Scott rocks, he is underrated to the twentieth degree. The Waterboys as a band must be seen to be believed.
Report as inappropriate
edward_cruz
Just visited London and heard a favorite Waterboys song played in the pub. So very cool, good music, now a station on my Pandora
Report as inappropriate
Don't Bang the Drum is so stunning!
Report as inappropriate
Fisherman's Blues = Best Song Ever...
Report as inappropriate
Beautiful music this is, that even a life long heavy metal rivet head has loved and appreciated for oh so many years. "I pictured a rainbow...yo u held it in your hands"...mov i n g indeed.
Report as inappropriate
1stcityking
Love playing these guys,sitting on my deck watching the ocean roll by
Report as inappropriate
lbjdirect4
Please come play in southern California, been fans a lonnnngggg time!
Report as inappropriate
These guys rock!
Report as inappropriate
And I wish someone could tell me why that 'with light in my head, and you in my arms' is so moving? 'Raggle-Tagg l e Gypsy' is another gem by these guys.
Report as inappropriate
I wish I was a Fisherman... ; ) a great song, makes me so melancholic.

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