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David Wayne Perkins (born 1951 in Birmingham, Alabama) is a rock and R & B guitarist, singer, songwriter and session musician. He was the oldest of six children, a brother and four sisters. Both of his parents sang and played guitar. It was only natural for Perkins to pick up a guitar when he was six years old and teach himself to play. At age 15, Perkins played his first gig as a session musician, in Bob Grove's Prestige Recording Studio in Birmingham. At 16, he left school and started performing in local bands and released singles with a band called the Vikings with Charles Nettles.
In 1968, drummer Jasper Guarino helped Perkins land a steady job as a session guitarist in a studio owned by Quin Ivy called "Quinvy's" in Muscle Shoals. Perkins was salaried at $100 a week. This led to work at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with such names as David Porter and the Soul Children, Dave Crawford and Brad Shapiro, Dee Dee Warwick, Ronnie Milsap, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Jimmy Cliff, Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood and Marlin Greene. Perkins also provided lead guitar overdubs on three tracks on Catch a Fire, the 1973 album by Bob Marley and the Wailers: "Concrete Jungle," "Stir It Up," and "Baby We’ve Got a Date." "His contributions to the pioneering LP weren’t actually mentioned on the original liner notes — indeed most listeners assumed they were hearing Peter Tosh — but Perkins received credit later."
Perkins left session work to form a band called Smith, Perkins and Smith which recorded two albums and toured in England on the same bill with Free, Fairport Convention, Argent, Uriah Heep, Family and Vinegar Joe with Robert Palmer. While in Kingston in the Island Basing Street recording studios Perkins had been working on a second Smith Perkins Smith album for Island when Chris Blackwell stopped him. "He said there was a Wailer project he wanted me to play on" - the Wailers' album "Catch a Fire", which went platinum. When Perkins returned to the United States, he played with Leon Russell for two years, in the Gap Band and the Shelter People Band, and with Eric Clapton and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Clapton arranged for Perkins to audition with The Rolling Stones. As a result, Perkins was hired to play lead guitar on the album Black and Blue. The credits for the album list Perkins appearing on three tracks: "Hand of Fate", "Memory Motel" and "Fool to Cry". Following this, Perkins joined the Alabama Power Band (formed by his brother Dale), which became Crimson Tide and recorded two albums. In Nashville, Perkins wrote music for Catdaddy Music and co-wrote soundtracks with Emmy Award winning composer/producer/remixer Richard Wolf for films including The Karate Kid Part II and Back to School. Perkins later formed the band Problem Child with Robert Nix and Rick Christian, and played bass with Lonnie Mack. During his long career, Perkins played session guitar with artists including the Alabama State Troupers, Ben Atkins, Michael Bolton, Angela Bofill, the Everly Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ray Reach and many others.
In 1995, Perkins recorded his first solo album, Mendo Hotel, and in 2005, he released his latest, Ramblin' Heart.
- 1971 Hills of Indiana Lonnie Mack ; Living by the Days Don Nix ; Lovejoy Albert King; Mary Called Jeanie Greene; Ronnie Milsap Ronnie Milsap
- 1972 Alabama State Troupers Road Show Alabama State Troupers; Dinnertime Alex Taylor; Catch a Fire Bob Marley & The Wailers; John David Souther John David Souther; Raised on Records P.F. Sloan; Smith Perkins Smith Smith Perkins Smith; Smokestack Lighting Mike Harrison; Stories We Could Tell The Everly Brothers; Tiptoe Past the Dragon Marlin Greene
- 1973 Last Stage for Silverworld Kenny Young; October Claire Hamill
- 1973 Catch a Fire, Bob Marley and the Wailers. Lead guitar overdubs on "Concrete Jungle", "Stir It Up", and "Baby We’ve Got a Date"
- 1974 Court and Spark Joni Mitchell; Hobos Heroes & Street Corner Clowns Don Nix; Monkey Grip Bill Wyman
- 1975 Michael Bolton Michael Bolton
- 1976 As Long as You Love Me Mickey Thomas; Black and Blue The Rolling Stones; Diggin' It Dunn & Rubini; Glass Heart Allan Rich
- 1978 Levon Helm Levon Helm; Skynyrd's First and...Last Lynyrd Skynyrd
- 1979 Next Song Is... Keith Herman
- 1980 I Had to Say It Millie Jackson; McGuinn-Hillman Roger McGuinn with Chris Hillman; Storm Windows John Prine
- 1981 Gimme You Billy Burnette; Mean Streets McGuinn & Hillman; Plain from the Heart Delbert McClinton; Reunion Jerry Jeff Walker; Tattoo You The Rolling Stones
- 1982 Night After Night Steve Cropper; No Fun Aloud Glenn Frey; Old Enough Lou Ann Barton
- 1983 American Made The Oak Ridge Boys; E.S.P. (Extra Sexual Persuasion) Millie Jackson
- 1984 Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 The Oak Ridge Boys
- 1985 Home Again The Everly Brothers; Step on Out The Oak Ridge Boys
- 1986 Back to School Original Soundtrack
- 1991 Early Years Michael Bolton; Loner Prince Phillip Mitchell
- 1992 Songs of Freedom Bob Marley & The Wailers
- 1993 Mr. President Ray Reach and Various Artists. A song, produced by Ray Reach, performed by Alabama talent, benefitting the homeless in the Birmingham, Alabama area. Artists and studios who donated their time and efforts to make this record include: choral students from Jefferson County schools, Chuck Leavell (Keyboards), Charlie Hayward (Bass), Chuck Tilley (Drums), Kelley O'Neal (Sax), Wayne Perkins (Guitar), Front Row Productions and Airwave Productions Group.
- 1993 Jump Back: The Best of the Rolling Stones 1971-1993 The Rolling Stones; Ultimate Collection Albert King
- 1994 Classics, Vol. 2: Plain from the Heart Delbert McClinton; Classics, Volume 1 Delbert McClinton; Heartaches & Harmonies [Box Set] The Everly Brothers
- 1995 Mendo Hotel Wayne Perkins; Soul Children - Best of Two Worlds The Soul Children
- 1996 So I Can Love You-Untouched The Emotions
- 1997 Count On Me James Clark, Produced by Ray Reach
- 1998 At Home in Muscle Shoals Bobby Womack; House Rent Party Various Artists; Skynyrd's First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Album Lynyrd Skynyrd
- 2001 Catch a Fire [Bonus Tracks] Bob Marley & The Wailers; Catch a Fire [Deluxe Edition] Bob Marley & The Wailers; Jealous Kind/Plain from the Heart Delbert McClinton
- 2002 Forty Licks The Rolling Stones; Patchouli Ben Atkins
- 2003 Babylon by Bus/Catch a Fire/Burnin' [Deluxe Editions] Bob Marley; Rockin' Memphis: 1960s-1970s, Vol. 1 Various Artists; Thyrty: The 30th Anniversary Collection Lynyrd Skynyrd; Uprising/Kaya/Catch a Fire [Deluxe Editions] Bob Marley; Every Little Lie Ken Valdez
- 2005 Even More Good Whiskey: A Collection of Contemporary Various Artists; Greatest Hits Lynyrd Skynyrd; Levon Helm [Bonus Track] Levon Helm; Ramblin' Heart Wayne Perkins
- 2006 Monkey Grip [Bonus Tracks] Bill Wyman; Ronnie Milsap [Bonus Track] Ronnie Milsap; Stax Profiles Albert King
- The Stories Behind Every Bob Marley Song 1962-1981 Soul Rebel Maureen Sheridan
- Shuster, Fred (1996-01-19). "No Strings Attached: Session man Wayne Perkins now playing with own band". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19.
- Hicks, Tony (2002-11-08). "Almost A Stone: No Regrets for Guitarist Who Lost Out". Contra Costa Times. p. 37.
- Matsumoto, Jon (1994-08-11). "The Rolling Stones "Black and Blue" (1976) / Virgin". Los Angeles Times.