W. G. Snuffy Walden

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W. G. Snuffy Walden
Walden in 2016
Walden in 2016
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Garrett Walden
Also known asSnuffy Walden, W. G. Walden
Born (1950-02-13) February 13, 1950 (age 74)
Louisiana, U.S.
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
Years active1973–present

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 other 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. He graduated from Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas 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.[4]

Walden's middle name was his mother's maiden name, and this was the origin of his nickname. Members of his mother's family had sometimes been called Snuffy after the Southern snuff manufacturer Levi Garrett. His family and schoolmates addressed him as Garrett, but Snuffy began to stick when he was away at summer camp and the name was preferred by fellow musicians as his career began.[5]


In the late 1960s, Walden dropped out of school, quit his job, and devoted his energies to the guitar full-time, picking up a bass player (Al Roberts) and drummer (Randy Reeder) to form a three-piece band named Aphrodite. They started touring and wound up in Denver, playing local clubs and opening for acts like Buddy Miles. It was in Denver that Emerson, Lake & Palmer's road manager, Neville Chesters, saw them in a club and offered them a recording contract with ELP's label, Manticore. In 1972, the group moved to England and was reformed, keeping Al Roberts and changing the name to Stray Dog. There, they were signed to Manticore and Greg Lake produced three songs from their first album Stray Dog. The new group toured with ELP as the opening act, but never really took flight, and eventually folded. Following the breakup of the band, 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'). He also played electric guitar in 1973, on the debut solo album Still by King Crimson lyricist, Peter Sinfield. In 1975, he joined The Eric Burdon Band and performed with them for a year.[2][4]

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 filled in 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][4]

Following his success as a touring and session musician and an Emmy nomination for the "Theme from Thirtysomething",[6] Walden scored numerous television series, including The Wonder Years, 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.[7]

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 July 2002, Tom Guerra conducted a comprehensive interview of Walden for Vintage Guitar Magazine.[4][8] In April 2008, Stephen J. Abramson interviewed Walden for a four-hour, multi-part video series for the Television Academy.[9]

Walden in 2014

In March 2018, Up to Snuff, a documentary film about Walden's career,[10] won the documentary competition in its premier at the Pasadena International Film Festival.[11][12]

In September 2018, Walden starred in a 1950s style cover of Africa by Toto along with the musical collective Postmodern Jukebox on YouTube.[13]

Awards and nominations[edit]




BMI Awards[edit]


Solo albums[edit]

  • Music by... W. G. Snuffy Walden (2001, Windham Hill Records)[29]

Stray Dog albums[edit]

  • Stray Dog (1973)[30]
  • Fasten Your Seat Belts (1973) [31]
  • While You're Down There (1974)[32]

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Rabbit (John "Rabbit" Bundrick) – Broken Arrows (1973, Island Records)
  • Rabbit (John "Rabbit" Bundrick) – Dark Saloon (1974, Island Records)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Still (1973, Peter Sinfield – Command Studios)
  • thirtysomething Soundtrack (1991, Geffen Records)
  • Babylon Minstrels (1992, Hollywood Records)
  • The Stand (1994, ABC Circle Music)
  • My So-Called Life Soundtrack (1995, Atlantic Records)
  • A Winter's Solstice VI (1997, Windham Hill Records)
  • Celtic Christmas III (1997, Windham Hill Records)
  • The Carols Of Christmas II (1997, Windham Hill Records)
  • Summer Solstice 2 (1998, Windham Hill Records)
  • Sounds Of Wood & Steel (1998, Windham Hill Records)
  • Celtic Christmas IV (1998, Windham Hill Records)
  • Touch – Windham Hill 25 Years of Guitar (2001, Windham Hill Records)
  • A Winter's Solstice, Vol. 1: Silver Anniversary Edition (2001, Windham Hill Records)
  • A Windham Hill Christmas (2002, Windham Hill Records)
  • Windham Hill Chill: Ambient Acoustic (2003, Windham Hill Records)
  • Windham Hill Chill 2 (2003, Windham Hill Records)
  • Friday Night Lights Vol. 2 (2010)
  • The West Wing (2017, Varèse Sarabande)


Year Type Role / notes Source
1979 Laverne & Shirley: The Fourth Annual Shotz Talent Show Episode guitarist [7]
1987 thirtysomething TV series Emmy nomination [1]
1988 Winnie Film composer (score) [7]
1988–1993 The Wonder Years TV series music by, theme composer [33]
1989 Roe vs. Wade TV movie composer (score) [7]
1990 The Outsiders TV series
1990 Working Girl TV series
1990 Burning Bridges Film composer (score) [7]
1990 Guess Who's Coming for Christmas? Film
1991 The Chase Film composer (score) [7]
1991 Shoot First: A Cop's Vengeance Film composer (score) [7]
1992 Leaving Normal Film composer (score) [7]
1991–1992 I'll Fly Away TV series Emmy nomination [1]
1992 Crossroads TV series
1992 Wild Card Film composer (score) [7][34]
1992 The Jackie Thomas Show TV series
1992 The Good Fight Film composer (score) [7]
1993 A Place to Be Loved Film
1993 I'll Fly Away TV series
1993–1997 Roseanne TV series music by, theme composer [33]
1994 Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story Film music by [35]
1994 Tom TV series
1994 The Stand miniseries Emmy nomination [1]
1994 Sweet Justice TV series
1994–1998 Ellen TV series musical score [33]
1995 Homage Film composer (score) [7]
1994–1995 My So-Called Life TV series Emmy nomination [1]
1995 The Monroes TV series
1996 A Friend's Betrayal Film
1996 Homecoming Film composer (score) [7]
1996 Ink TV series
1996–1997 Relativity TV series
1996–1998 Early Edition TV series Emmy nomination [1]
1997 413 Hope St. TV series
1998 Maggie Winters TV series composer (score) [7]
1998–1999 Cupid TV series composer (score) [7]
1998–2000 Sports Night TV series composer (score) [7]
1998–2002 Felicity TV series Emmy nomination [1]
1998–2003 The Drew Carey Show TV series music by [36]
1999 Norm TV series composer (score) [7]
1999–2000 Roswell TV series composer (score) [37]
1999–2001 It's Like, You Know... TV series composer (score) [7]
1999–2001 Providence TV series composer (score) [7]
1999–2002 Once and Again TV series composer (score) [7]
2000 The $treet TV series composer (score) [7]
2001 Rock & Roll Back to School Special Film
2001 Three Sisters TV series composer (score) [7]
2002 George Lopez TV series music composer [38]
2002 Hidden Hills TV series
2003 Mister Sterling TV series
2003 The Brotherhood of Poland TV series
2003 The Lyon's Den TV series
2003 Boomtown TV series
2003 Miracles TV series Emmy nomination [1]
2005, 2008 Quarterlife Film music composer [39]
2005–2007 The War at Home TV series composer (score) [7]
2005 Surface TV series composer (score) [7]
2006 The Book of Daniel TV series composer (score) [7]
1999–2006 The West Wing TV series Emmy award [1]
2006 Huff TV series Emmy nomination [1]
2006–2007 Kidnapped TV series composer (score) [7]
2007 Heartland TV series composer (score) [7]
2006–2007 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip TV series composer (score) [7]
2008–2009 Lipstick Jungle TV series composer (score) [7]
2008 In Plain Sight TV series composer (score) [7]
2009 A Marriage Film composer (score) [39]
2009 The Beast TV series composer (score) [39]
2009 Hawthorne TV series composer (score) [39]
2009–2010 Men of a Certain Age TV series composer (score) [39]
2010 Huge TV series composer (score) [39]
2011 In the Key of Eli Film composer (score) [39]
2011 Serving Live Film composer (score) [7]
2011 Friday Night Lights TV series composer (score) [39]
2011 A Gifted Man TV series composer (score) [39]
2012 Stetson, Street Dog of Park City Film composer (score) [40]
2013–2015 Under the Dome TV series music by [41]
2012–2013 Nashville TV series music by [42]
2014 Guilt By Association Film composer (score) [39]
2017 Seal Team TV series music by [43]
2018 Up To Snuff Film music by [11]


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  5. ^ "Nickname". Archive of American Television. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
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  11. ^ a b "Pasadena Now » Pasadena International Film Festival Wraps Up a Week of Celebrity Sightings, Screenings, World Premieres, and Golden Era Hollywood Film Parties". Pasadena.com. March 16, 2018. Archived from the original on March 17, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  12. ^ "Pasadena International Film Festival". Pasadena International Film Festival. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Postmodern Jukebox on YouTube". Postmodern Jukebox on YouTube. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
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  17. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Stephen King's The Stand. ABC. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  18. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". My So-Called Life. ABC. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Early Edition. CBS. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  20. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Felicity. WB. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  21. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". The West Wing. NBC. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  22. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Miracles. ABC. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  23. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Huff. Showtime. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  24. ^ "Emmys: Awards and Nominations". Kidnapped. NBC. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  25. ^ Shared with John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  26. ^ Shared with Allen Reynolds
  27. ^ Pesselnick, JILL (May 26, 2001). "Walden Wins BMI Prize". Billboard Magazine. Beverly Hills, California. Retrieved October 4, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ Shared with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Bennett Salvay
  29. ^ "Music by W.G. Snuffy Walden – W.G. Snuffy Walden – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  30. ^ "Stray Dog – Stray Dog – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  31. ^ "Fasten Your Seat Belts – Stray Dog – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  32. ^ "While You're Down There – Stray Dog – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  33. ^ a b c Smith, William Michael (February 25, 2009). "Houston-Born TV-Theme Composer W.G. "Snuffy" Walden Enjoys His Wonder Years". Houston Press. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  34. ^ Variety TV REV 1991–92 17. Variety Television Reviews Series. Taylor & Francis. 1994. p. 444. ISBN 978-0-8240-3796-3. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
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  37. ^ "W.G. Snuffy Walden". IMDb.
  38. ^ Muir, J.K. (2007). TV Year: The Prime Time 2005–2006 Season. TV Year. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 210. ISBN 978-1-55783-684-7. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
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  40. ^ "Stetson, Street Dog of Park City". Park City Film Music Festival. 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  41. ^ Lowry, Brian (June 20, 2013). "Under the Dome". Variety. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  42. ^ Parisi, Paula (October 8, 2016). "Nashville Tunes-Up for Season Five". MaxTheTrax. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  43. ^ "CBS' 'SEAL Team' to Feature Music by W.G. Snuffy Walden & Patrick Rose". Film Music Reporter. September 27, 2017.

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