WOW (Wendy O. Williams album)

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WOW
Wendy O WIlliams - W.O.W cover.jpg
Studio album by Wendy O. Williams
Released June 1984
Recorded 1983
Studio Right Track Studios, New York City
Genre
Length 36:45
Label
Producer Gene Simmons
Wendy O. Williams chronology
WOW
(1984)
Kommander of Kaos
(1986)Kommander of Kaos1986
Singles from WOW
  1. "It's My Life"
    Released: 1984

WOW is the debut solo studio album by American singer Wendy O. Williams, released in 1984 by Passport Records. It is her first album appearance, to be credited to her after the success with The Plasmatics, which had gone on a hiatus during that time. After the release of the album, Coup d'État (1982) with The Plasmatics, the band opened for KISS on tour. By the end of the tour, The Plasmatics' recording contract with Capitol Records wasn't renewed and Gene Simmons approached Williams and Rod Swenson about producing an album. As to avoid legal issues with Capitol, they decided not to use The Plasmatics' name on the record in any way. Simmons also felt it would give more freedom to add additional musicians to the album. WOW is a hard rock album influenced by heavy metal, which marked a musical departure from Williams' previous material with The Plasmatics. Williams was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the album in 1985.

Band members from The Plasmatics appear on the album namely, Wes Beech and T.C. Tolliver on rhythm and lead guitar, and drums respectively. Simmons plays bass under the pseudonym-stage name of Reginald Van Helsing. Michael Ray was hired as lead guitarist for the album. Simmons also pulled in the guest-appearance talents of Ace Frehley on "Bump and Grind", Vinnie Vincent on "Ain't None Of Your Business", Paul Stanley on "Ready to Rock", and Eric Carr on "Legends Never Die".

"It's My Life" was released as the lead single from the album. It later appeared on the soundtrack to the film Reform School Girls (1986), in which Williams starred. KISS later released their version of the song, as well as "Thief in the Night".

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]

The reception to the album was heavily mixed, and remains so to this day. Fans received it with a fairly negative response. It was seen as a departure from the sound she had in her band The Plasmatics, and more akin to that of a KISS album. The album includes nearly all the members of KISS, while Gene Simmons producing and appearing as a writer on several songs. One reviewer stated, "In some ways, Williams' first solo venture amounts to a watered-down echo of the Plasmatics' own bid for mainstream success, Coup d'Etat (1982), minus the latter record's radical political bent. That's not surprising, with the ever-career-conscious Simmons manning the producer's chair. Despite his best efforts, however, Williams would stay a quintessential cult artist. While not a remarkable record, WOW offers a convincing enough glimpse of the stardom that should have been hers all along."[1]

Review copies were sent out to the various media outlets. Malcolm Dome, a reviewer for Kerrang! magazine, had picked the W.O.W. album as his album of the year. Wendy received in 1985 a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Female Rock Vocalist of the Year", won by Tina Turner.[2]

Additional facts[edit]

  • Williams lost her trademark Mohawk during this album.
  • This was the first time Gene Simmons ever played outside of KISS, playing bass under the pseudonym "Reginald Van Helsing"
  • "Legends Never Die" was originally from an unused song on KISS' own Creatures of the Night album called "When the Legend Dies" which is available as a demo. Wendy´s vocals replaced the original Gene Simmons vocals for this album.[3]
  • Despite the band official biography, manager Rod Swenson was quoted in Kerrang! magazine as stating "that it was Wendy's own LP", when responding to questions about the departure of Richie Stotts.
  • An analysis has been made that this should be considered a KISS album.[4]
  • The abbreviation W.O.W. can be seen in the Motörhead music video "Killed by Death", painted on the dune buggy in which Würzel and Phil Campbell are riding (in the scene where they all are mourning Lemmy's death), possibly due to Lemmy's and Wendy's earlier collaboration.

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."I Love Sex (And Rock and Roll)"3:47
2."It's My Life"
3:58
3."Priestess"
  • Beech
  • Swenson
  • Chris Romanelli
  • Stotts
3:23
4."Thief in the Night"
  • Simmons
  • Mitch Weissman
3:47
5."Opus in Cm7"
  • Swenson
  • Romanelli
4:20
6."Ready to Rock"
  • Swenson
  • Romanelli
  • Stotts
5:11
7."Bump and Grind"
  • Beech
  • Swenson
  • Romanelli
  • Tolliver
  • Stotts
4:27
8."Legends Never Die"4:25
9."Ain't None of Your Business"3:27
Total length:36:45

Personnel[edit]

Band members
Additional musicians
Production
  • Frank Filipetti, Tom Roberts - engineers
  • Billy Miranda, Tom Brick, Moira Marquis - assistant engineers
  • George Marino - mastering

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Heibutzki, Ralph. "Wendy O. Williams WOW review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  2. ^ "27th Grammy Awards - 1985". Rock on the Net.com. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  3. ^ http://www.kissasylum.com/vault/issue2.html
  4. ^ KISS Thought Vault: Issue #2

External links[edit]