The Waitresses – Live at Perkins Palace, Pasadena – February 27, 1982 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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The Waitresses to end the week. Live from Perkins Palace in Pasadena – recorded on February 27, 1982. If there was ever a band that was perfectly suited to the MTV and Rock Of The 80’s Audience who epitomized that decade, it was The Waitresses. Together a comparatively short time, and with two hits to their name along with two albums and two eps, The Waitresses managed to put a stamp on the 80s with the post-70s/post-disco/post-romantic anthem “I Know What Boys Like”, and they’ve been inextricably linked ever since.
The Waitresses were formed by guitarist-songwriter Chris Butler (formerly of the Numbers Band) in 1978 as a side project, while he was still a member of Tin Huey. He wrote and recorded “I Know What Boys Like” that year, with guest vocals by friend Patty Donahue (as “Patty Darling”) and saxophone from Tin Huey member Ralph Carney, although the song remained unreleased at the time. A debut single, In “Short Stack” (featuring the songs “Slide” and “Clones”), recorded solely by Butler, was issued by Clone Records in 1978. Both tracks from the single, plus another early song, “The Comb”, appeared that year on The Akron Compilation, issued by Stiff Records.
Butler moved to New York City and shopped “I Know What Boys Like”. The song landed him a deal with ZE Records (an affiliate of Antilles Records), who released the single in 1980. It was an underground hit, but did not chart.
With the deal in place, Butler put together an actual band lineup for the Waitresses, featuring lead vocalist Donahue, jazz saxophonist Mars Williams, former Television drummer Billy Ficca, keyboardist Dan Klayman, bassist Dave Hofstra and backing vocalist Ariel Warner. The Waitresses played their debut concert on New Year’s Eve 1980.
The Waitresses released their debut album, Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful? on January 11, 1982 on the Polydor label, licensed from ZE. “I Know What Boys Like” was included on the album, and when the song was re-released as a single in 1982, it peaked at No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 23 on Billboard’s Top Tracks chart, No. 14 on the Australian Singles Chart (Kent Music Report), and also charted in the UK.
During the recording sessions for the album, which peaked at No. 41 in the Billboard 200 chart, Warner left due to stage fright, and Hofstra departed before its release, to be replaced by Tracy Wormworth.
A Christmas song by the band, “Christmas Wrapping”, had originally been released on the ZE Records album A Christmas Record in 1981, and became a No. 45 hit in the United Kingdom in 1982. The song was subsequently covered by the Spice Girls in 1998, as the B-side of their single “Goodbye” and on the television show Glee sung by the character Brittany for their 2011 Christmas special.
The Waitresses recorded the theme song to the television program Square Pegs, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker, which aired during the 1982–1983 season, and the band appeared as themselves in the pilot episode. The song was issued by Polydor as a single in 1982, and was included (along with “Christmas Wrapping”) on the EP I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts that same year.
The band’s second album, Bruiseology, was released by Polydor in May 1983, followed by the Make the Weather EP in 1984.
Donahue left the band in summer 1984 and was briefly replaced by Holly Beth Vincent (formerly of Holly and the Italians). Vincent departed two weeks later and Donahue returned. The band finally split up in late 1984.
This concert comes right after the release of their debut album, which they were promoting and which was getting massive amounts of airplay on KROQ-FM.
As a reminder . . .