W. G. Snuffy Walden

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W. G. Snuffy Walden
Birth name William Garrett Walden
Also known as Snuffy Walden, W. G. Walden
Born (1950-02-13) February 13, 1950 (age 65)
Genres Instrumental
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1973–present
Associated acts Stray Dog
The Eric Burdon Band
Website www.snuffywalden.com

William Garrett Walden, known as W. G. Snuffy Walden (born February 13, 1950) is an American musician and composer of film and television soundtracks. Walden is an Emmy Award winner for the theme music to The West Wing (NBC),[1] has been nominated for numerous Emmys throughout his career, and has received 26 BMI Awards.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Walden was born in Louisiana on February 13, 1950, and raised in Houston, Texas.[4] He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston in 1967. In college he studied science and math, and he put himself through school working on a late-night radio show at KRBE in Houston and playing guitar in a strip club.[5]

Walden's nickname, Snuffy, derives from the similarly-named Southern snuff manufacturer, Levi Garrett. In episode 1, of a four-hour interview with the Archive of American Television, Walden explains that the nickname began to stick when he was away from home at summer camp, as his career began, fellow musicians preferred it over Garrett. His family and schoolmates address him as Garrett.[6]

Early music career[edit]

In the late 1960s, Walden dropped out of school, quit his job, and devoted his energies to the guitar full-time. In 1972, he formed the group Stray Dog, a blues-based rock trio, and together they moved to England. Following the breakup of Stray Dog, Walden supplanted the ailing Paul Kossoff by providing guitar tracks for Free's final album Heartbreaker, which was released in 1973 (Walden plays on 'Common Mortal Man', 'Easy on My Soul' and 'Seven Angels'). In 1975, he joined The Eric Burdon Band and performed with them for a year.[2][5]

In 1975, Walden moved to Los Angeles and spent the rest of the decade performing as a solo artist and supporting artists such as Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, and Eric Burdon. Notably, in 1975-6 he again depped for Paul Kossoff as a session musician on Back Street Crawler's Second Street album. By the mid-1980s, television agents and producers became aware of Walden through his local performances in Santa Monica. When approached to score a new television show, Walden had mixed feelings but accepted the offer. "I could see the handwriting on the wall for touring," he would later remember, "and it wasn't pretty. I kept envisioning Holiday Inn at age 60." The television show he was hired for was thirtysomething, which turned out to be a major hit television series and dramatically altered Walden's music career.[2][5]

Professional success[edit]

Following his successful debut as a television composer for thirtysomething, Walden was contacted by the producer on another new television show, The Wonder Years, which had the fortune of premiering right after Super Bowl XXII. Walden scored the pilot episode, and then went on to score the series, which also became a hit. For the end credits, he recorded a version of The Beatles' song "With a Little Help from My Friends".

Throughout the 1990s, Walden scored numerous television series, including Roseanne, Ellen, My So-Called Life, Felicity, Early Edition, Sports Night, The West Wing, George Lopez, I'll Fly Away, The Stand, Huff, Once and Again, Friday Night Lights and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

In the summer of 2001, Walden released a solo album of mainly acoustic guitar pieces titled Music by... W. G. Snuffy Walden. The album included expanded or full versions of many of Walden's themes, such as "Once and Again", "Eugene's Ragtop", "Thirtysomething (Revisited)", and "West Wing Suite".[3]

In 2002, Tom Guerra conducted a comprehensive interview of Walden for Vintage Guitar Magazine.[5] Walden announced that he would team up with a 60-piece orchestra to compose the film adaptation of The Umbrella Academy. This will be the first time he has scored a movie since Leaving Normal.

Walden is now working with YouTube artists, including Jake Coco, to help them to produce covers and original songs. Walden serves as an artistic advisor to the BMI Foundation.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Emmy Awards

BMI Awards


Solo albums

Stray Dog albums

  • While You're Down There (1974)
  • Fasten Your Seat Belts (1973)
  • Stray Dog (1973)

Compilation albums

  • Friday Night Lights Vol. 2 (2010)
  • Windham Hill Chill 2 (2003, Windham Hill Records)
  • Windham Hill Chill: Ambient Acoustic (2003, Windham Hill Records)
  • A Windham Hill Christmas (2002, Windham Hill Records)
  • A Winter's Solstice, Vol. 1: Silver Anniversary Edition (2001, Windham Hill Records)
  • Touch – Windham Hill 25 Years of Guitar (2001, Windham Hill Records)
  • Celtic Christmas IV (1998, Windham Hill Records)
  • Sounds Of Wood & Steel (1998, Windham Hill Records)
  • Summer Solstice 2 (1998, Windham Hill Records)
  • The Carols Of Christmas II (1997, Windham Hill Records)
  • Celtic Christmas III (1997, Windham Hill Records)
  • A Winter's Solstice VI (1997, Windham Hill Records)
  • My-So Called Life Soundtrack (1995, Atlantic Records)
  • The Stand (1994, ABC Circle Music)
  • Babylon Minstrels (1992, Hollywood Records)
  • thirtysomething Soundtrack (1991, Geffen Records)



  1. ^ a b "Emmys: Outstanding Main Theme Title Music". The West Wing. NBC. 2000. Retrieved October 21, 2012. "The West Wing" W. G. Snuffy Walden, Winner 
  2. ^ a b c "W. G. Snuffy Walden". Allmusic. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Grey, Hilarie (2001). "W. G. Snuffy Walden". Jazz Times. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "W. G. Snuffy Walden". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d "W.G. Snuffy Walden". Mambo Sons. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ Abramson, Stephen J. (April 10, 2008). "W.G. Snuffy Walden". W.G. Walden on his nickname "Snuffy". Archive of American Television. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Kidnapped. NBC. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Huff. Showtime. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Miracles. ABC. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". The West Wing. NBC. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Felicity. WB. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Early Edition. CBS. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". My So-Called Life. ABC. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Stephen King's The Stand. ABC. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". I'll Fly Away. NBC. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nomination". thirtysomething. ABC. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  17. ^ "W.G. Snuffy Walden" (PDF). GSA Music. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  18. ^ PESSELNICK, JILL (May 26, 2001). "Walden Wins BMI Prize". Billboard Magazine (Beverly Hills, California). Retrieved October 4, 2012. W.G. "Snuffy" Walden received the Richard Kirk Award for outstanding career achievement at BMI's Film and Television Awards. 
  19. ^ Shared with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Bennett Salvay
  20. ^ Shared with Allen Reynolds
  21. ^ Shared with John Lennon and Paul McCartney

External links[edit]