Wah Wah Watson

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Wah Wah Watson
Birth nameMelvin M. Ragin
Born(1950-12-08)December 8, 1950
Richmond, Virginia
DiedOctober 24, 2018(2018-10-24) (aged 67)
Santa Monica, California
GenresR&B, soul, funk
Years active1968–2018

Melvin M. Ragin (December 8, 1950 – October 24, 2018), known professionally as "Wah Wah Watson", was an American guitarist who was a member of The Funk Brothers, the studio band for Motown Records.


A native of Richmond, Virginia, Melvin Ragin moved to Detroit and became a member of the Motown Records studio band The Funk Brothers, where he recorded with artists like The Temptations (his guitar work on "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" is particularly notable), The Jackson 5, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and The Supremes.[1] He played on numerous sessions in the 1970s and 1980s for many top soul, funk and disco acts, including Herbie Hancock; he both recorded and composed songs with the Pointer Sisters.

In 1977, Watson released his first solo album, Elementary, on Columbia Records. The album was co-produced by Watson and David Rubinson.

In 1994, Watson appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by Time magazine.

In the 2000s, Watson appeared on the albums Maxwell's Now (2001), Black Diamond (2000) by Angie Stone, the soundtrack to the film Shaft (2000), Damita Jo (2004) by Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys' Unplugged (2005), and The Element of Freedom (2009).


Watson died on October 24, 2018, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • Elementary (1976)

As sideman[edit]

With Herbie Hancock

With others


  1. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Wah-Wah Watson Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  2. ^ "In Memoriam: Motown guitarist Wah Wah Watson (1950-2018)". Digital Journal. October 25, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.

External links[edit]