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Wachtel, Waddy (24th May 1947-Present)

He is a guitarist, composer and producer born Robert Wachtel in Jackson Heights, New York City who got his nickname “Waddy” from a band co-member when he was about 16.  He began playing the guitar when he was still a young child and from the time he was 9, and for the next five years, he had lessons where his teacher made him play which his right hand even though he was naturally left handed.  Later he would take further lessons with a jazz guitarist and also study harmony, rhythm and melody with Rudolph Schramm who was head of the NBC staff orchestra.

In his teen years he could be heard playing with bands such as The Orphans and Twice Nicely in New York and then around 1968 he relocated to Los Angeles where he took up the position of producer and musician for The Cowsills.  That same year he released his own single “You’re the One” and appeared on the soundtrack and on-stage in the film The Poseidon Adventure.  His appearance on the silver screen would be repeated several years later when he backed Linda Ronstadt in the movie FM.

In 1972 he worked on the first album by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham called Buckingham Nicks and also Warren Zevon had noticed him and taken him on to perform on an album recording with The Everly Brothers and subsequently tour.  Soon many producers and acts were seeking him to perform as a session guitarist and this led him to working with many acclaimed artists.

Some of the names he has worked with through the years include America, Big Mountain, Bon Jovi, Jackson Browne, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Roseanne Cash, Peter Cetera, Melissa Etheridge, Bryan Ferry, Fleetwood Mac, Don Henley, Michael Hutchence, Chris Izaak, Carole King, Bette Midler, The Motels, Maria Muldaur, Graham Nash, Aaron Neville, Randy Newman, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, The Pointer Sisters, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, David Sanborn, Feargal Sharkey, Carly Simon, Bonnie Tyler and Brian Wilson to name but a very few.

This has resulted in him appearing on countless recordings that amount into the hundreds.  A select few include Still Waters by Bee Gees, Matters of the Heart by Tracy Chapman, Heart of Stone by Cher, Christmas Album by Neil Diamond, Under the Red Sky by Bob Dylan, Stories We Could Tell by The Everly Brothers, All This and Heaven Too by Andrew Gold, Change of Season by Hall & Oates, Harbor Lights by Bruce Hornsby, Seduction by James Last, Bridges to Babylon by The Rolling Stones, Living in the U.S.A. by Linda Ronstadt, Street Life: 20 Greatest Hits by Roxy Music, Street Talk by Steve Perry, Force Behind the Power by Diana Ross, The Show Must Go On: The Anthology by Leo Sayer, Fire Inside by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, You’re Only Lonely by J.D. Souther, Time Takes Time by Ringo Starr, Vagabond Heart by Rod Stewart, In the Pocket by James Taylor, Bone Machine by Tom Waits, Confessor by Joe Walsh and Escapology by Robbie Williams.

As a composer he has written scores for movies that include Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, The Last Request, Strange Wilderness and Up in Smoke, the co-written song “Werewolves of London” with Warren Zevon, and also the music for the group Ronin, who he also performed with.  Warren Zevon, who he produced two albums for, included reference to him in the song “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead” and he is regularly mentioned in the book I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead about the life of Warren Zevon.

In recent years he has performed with his The Waddy Wachtel Band with regular guest musicians sitting in such as Blondie Chaplin, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Joe Walsh and Neil Young as just a few.

Linda Ronstadt recordings
Back in the U.S.A. (Chuck Berry)
Get Closer (Jonathan Carroll)
Asylum (7-69948-A)