The world at large has been so focussed on the death of John Hughes this past week, that the passing of another iconic figure in Willy DeVille seemed to fall under the radar slightly. Both men died on the same day, but whilst we heard about the film director’s death almost immediately, it took practically a week for a few obituaries to eventually slip out for this legendary musician. Anyway, by all accounts Willy lived a colourful life (he was living next door to Johnny Thunders in New Orleans, when the great guitarist finally checked out) and was a true survivor, both musically and personally.
My own interest in Willy’s music began when I heard his brilliant contributions to the soundtrack of one of my favourite films, Cruising. When I later came across the eternal classic Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl on the excellent Jack Nitszche compilation Hearing Is Believing, I was hooked. What struck me instantly about his music was its heartfelt lyricism and romanticism, along with his steadfast allegiance to creating classic pop/rock, regardless of the prevailing musical trends of the time. Well, I’ll leave it to other, better informed people to discuss Willy DeVille’s life in more detail (there is a fascinating blog post about his equally colorful first wife Toots here), and will instead let some of his timelessly beautiful music do the talking.
“Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl” by Mink DeVille
“Spanish Stroll” by Mink DeVille
“It’s So Easy” by Willy DeVille (from the Cruising soundtrack)