Remember Danny Wilson? Not that Danny Wilson, Danny Wilson the band… Just when was their second Summer of love, and did they make such a big mistake?
Gary Clark and Ged Grimes, both born in 1962, and Gary’s younger brother Kit (b.1964) formed the band Danny Wilson in their home town of Dundee, Scotland in 1984 after Gary and Ged’s band Perfect Strangers folded. They originally called themselves Spencer Tracy, after the Hollywood film star, and began playing pubs and venues around Scotland. Shortly before they signed to Virgin Records in 1986, news arrived that the family of Tracy objected to them using his name and so after much thought, they took their name from the title of a 1952 Frank Sinatra film, ‘Meet Danny Wilson’. They released their debut single, “Mary’s Prayer”, the following year, but this was not an initial success. Their first album, “Meet Danny Wilson”, followed soon after and likewise, was not a commercial success.
Further singles, “A Girl I Used To Know” and “Davy” were equally unsuccessful until Virgin released “Mary’s Prayer” in America in June and the band found it climbing to No.23 there. A reissue in the UK came to nothing, while “Meet Danny Wilson” peaked at No.79 Stateside. All was not lost as “Mary’s Prayer” would prove to be a very slow burner and eight months after its re-issue, the song finally entered the UK top 40 in March 1988, eventually reaching No.3! The band’s album would reach No.65 on home soil as Danny Wilson were already writing and recording its follow up. The first single, “Never Gonna Be The Same”, arrived in early 1989, but only managed to scrape inside the UK top 75, while the second, appropriately titled “The Second Summer Of Love”, gave the band a second top 40 hit when it reached No.23 in June. The album, “Bebop Moptop”, proved more successful than their first, charting at No.24 in the UK that Summer.
Danny Wilson scored a minor US hit with “If Everything You Said Was True” in 1989, but sadly due to internal disagreements, the trio split amicably in 1991 when they had reached a point where they had written too many songs for the third album and couldn’t agree on which ones would make the final release! An EP, “If You Really Love Me (Let Me Go)”, was issued that year along with a best of, and that was that. Or was it? Gary Clark would carve a career as a songwriter as well as recording his own solo material. He released the album “Ten Short Songs About Love” in 1993 before forming the band King L. Clark formed a songwriting partnership with Eric Pressly and mixed the song “Wishing I Was There”, which would become a hit for Natalie Imbruglia in 1998. Gary wrote and produced eight tracks for Natalie on her album, “White Lilies Island”. Gary’s list as a hitmaker is impressive, ranging from Demi Lovato, Delta Goodrem, British band Lawson and The Wanted.
Grimes is no less feted. he has written songs for Eddi Reader of Fairground Attraction, Simply Red and also Natalie Imbruglia. He has worked on film soundtracks and video games and in 2010, joined fellow Scottish group Simple Minds as a bass player. The three members of Danny Wilson have kept in touch and performed together on more than one occasion since 1991. Only two years later, they were on stage with former Bible lead single Boo Hewerdine for a concert in London. In 2014, Danny Wilson performed a one off show at a friend’s wedding in Dundee, while later that year, they played at the opening ceremony of the Ryder Cup in Glasgow. Although the trio maintain they will never get together to record, there is always hope that they will serve up a second, a third and a fourth Summer of love, even if it’s just for one day. Leave a light on in heaven, boys!
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