Wendy Waldman



It isn't just bands that are under-appreciated; individual rock artists also slip through the cracks.   As an example, though Allmusic has considerable information on her, Wikipedia does not have so much as a stub on WENDY WALDMAN, a talented and experimental singer/songwriter who has released several well-regarded albums beginning in the 1970's.   Wendy Waldman is best known today as one of the songwriters behind the gorgeous Vanessa Williams hit song from 1991, "Save the Best for Last".

Wendy Waldman first gained success when Maria Muldaur ("Midnight at the Oasis") included several of Waldman's songs on her two 1974 albums. Waldman later became a close friend of Linda Ronstadt and also toured with her for a period of time in the late 1970's and early 1980's; they collaborated on a song, "I Want a Horse" for the 1980 Sesame Street LP, In Harmony.
My personal favorite among Wendy Waldman's albums is Strange Company, a 1978 release that has Waldman performing more as a rock bandleader than a singer/songwriter; "Long Hot Summer Nights" was a regional hit that still echoes in my interior playlist from time to time more than 30 years later.   Several of the other musicians on this album – who formed a band having the unfortunate name the Cretones – also backed Linda Ronstadt on her 1980 New Wave album, Mad Love.   Sadly, none of Waldman's albums has sold over 25,000 copies, but she has continued to tour and record ever since, both as a solo artist and as part of a band – most recently, the Refugees.

Along with Kenny Edwards, Andrew Gold and Karla Bonoff, Wendy Waldman was part of a band called Bryndle that formed in the late 1960's and was active on the L.A. scene for several years without making any records.   The four members of Bryndle have all had successful careers, and each had a close association with Linda Ronstadt later in the decade.   Kenny Edwards had been a founding member with her in the band Stone Poneys ("Different Drum") prior to the formation of Bryndle, and he later recorded and toured with Linda for about 10 years beginning in the mid-1970's.   Andrew Gold was also a key member of Ronstadt's backup band in the same time period; Gold had a mid-1970's hit as a solo artist,  "Lonely Boy"; and one of his songs, "Thank You for Being a Friend" was selected to be the theme song for the TV series Golden Girls.   Karla Bonoff was one of many songwriters that Linda Ronstadt introduced via the covers on her albums, notably "Someone to Lay Down Beside Me".   Bryndle eventually reformed in the early 1990's and ultimately released their debut album in 1995Bryndle 

More recently, in 2007, Wendy Waldman formed a band called the Refugees with two other music veterans, Cindy Bullens and Deborah Holland.  When it became clear that Sting would not be returning to the fold, the two remaining members of the Police, Stewart Copeland and, briefly, Andy Summers formed a band in 1987 with Deborah Holland and virtuoso bassist Stanley Clarke that was initially called Rush Hour; after Summers exited the group, the name was changed to Animal Logic.  Holland, however, supplied nearly all of the songwriting for the band.

Until I created a short article a couple of months ago, Cindy Bullens would have been a natural choice as an Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month, since she had also languished without any Wikipedia recognition.   Her 1978 debut album, Desire Wire is one of the great lost rock albums of the 1970's – and that is Allmusic's opinion as well as mine.   Bullens also contributed vocals on three songs to the soundtrack for the movie Grease, notably "It's Raining on Prom Night"; and she received a Grammy nomination for her efforts.
(January 2010)
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Items:    Wendy Waldman 
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Flashback:   The Under Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month for January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN 
Though I call my series the Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month, the second entry was not a band at all, but a wonderful singer-songwriter from the L.A. area.   Of all of the 26 bands and artists that I have written about, this one to me is the most surprising.   Most of them are utterly unknown even to most record collectors, never mind the general public.  I am no expert myself in this regard; typically I have stumbled onto the under-appreciated bands.   As an example, I was introduced to Beast (my first UARB, from December 2009) by a friend of a friend, and I managed to find a copy of both of their albums.   However, I have never seen another Beast album besides the two that I own, as far as I can remember; and that is pretty much the pattern for the other two dozen.   Offhand I would say that I had to mail-order the music that I have on the majority of them.  By contrast, if you haunted used record stores and cutout album bins in the 1970's and 1980's like I did (not that I have stopped!), you would have seen Wendy Waldman LP's all the time.   

I saw Linda Ronstadt perform in Raleigh, North Carolina during her Mad Love Tour in 1980, and Wendy was on-stage with her the whole time.   She was not exactly the opening act for Linda; but about halfway through, Wendy Waldman performed several songs of her own.  Linda introduced her as "one of my dearest friends".

Speaking of Mad Love Linda Ronstadt's new-wave album that featured several songs by Elvis Costello – a couple of years earlier, Wendy Waldman had recorded an album called Strange Company that represented a bit of a departure for her as well; she was even backed by several of the same musicians.   For all I know, Linda heard that album and came up with the idea for her own LP.   Strange Company is my favorite album of hers; the cover alone is a real hoot – it has the appearance of what the National Enquirer looked like back then, with several faux tabloid stories and photographs showing what Wendy had been up to and whom she had been seen with.

(January 2012)

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Flashback #1:   The Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month for January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN   
I forgot to include the YouTube links last month, so here they are.   A live acoustic version from 2004 of Vanessa Williams' signature song "Save the Best for Last", which Wendy Waldman co-wrote, is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoldrFVxPQ8 ; it is every bit as lovely as the hit version, "Save the Best for Last".   Her regional hit song "Long Hot Summer Nights" (from Strange Company) is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOuVNeMjBSQ  (no video to go with this one, though you do get to see the cool National Enquirer-style album cover).   It seems like every musician who sticks around a while comes up with a song about summer memories, but Wendy's is one of the few that doesn't focus on the Sun.   These are just the tip of the iceberg though – there are dozens more available.

(February 2012)

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 Photo Gallery:   The Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month for January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN
As I have said many times before, Wendy Waldman – only the second entry in this series that is now approaching a total of 40 – is the biggest surprise so far as to someone who has yet to get an article in Wikipedia.   If you type her name into Wikipedia, you are directed to Bryndle; they are a band composed of several well known LA musicians (at least by now) who were together in the late 1960's but didn't actually release an album until 1995.   By then, Wendy Waldman had already released 7 solo albums. 
Here are the four albums of hers that I have so far – Wendy WaldmanGypsy SymphonyThe Main Refrain,  and Strange Company – and they sure won't be the last.   Maybe that's enough of a photo gallery for now: 






(January 2013)
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A recent check found that the YouTube video given above for "Long Hot Summer Nights" by Wendy Waldman has been terminated.   Here is another:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOuVNeMjBSQ  .
(October 2013)
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It was about a year ago that I started my series on Under-Appreciated Rock Bands of the Month (including one Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month), to celebrate the more obscure albums and bands in my record collection that had not yet been profiled in Wikipedia.  The list shows a wide-ranging list of types of music I think: 
December 2009 – BEAST1960’s hippie-flavored rock band (2 albums) 
January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN, 1970’s singer-songwriter (6 albums) 
February 2010 – CYRUS ERIE1960’s garage rock band (single) 
March 2010 – BANG1970’s hard rock band (4 albums) 
April 2010 – THE BREAKAWAYS1970’s power pop rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
May 2010 – THE NOT QUITE1980’s psychedelic revival rock band (3 albums) 
June 2010 – WATERLILLIES1990’s electronica rock band (2 albums) 
July 2010 – THE EYES1970’s punk rock band (several singles) 
August 2010 – QUEEN ANNE’S LACE1960’s pop-psychedelic rock band (1 album) 
September 2010 – THE STILLROVEN1960’s garage rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
October 2010 – THE PILTDOWN MEN1960’s instrumental rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
November 2010 – SLOVENLY1980’s indie rock band (5 albums) 
(Year 1 Review)
Last edited: March 22, 2021