Born: September 5, 1946 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Loudon Wainwright III grew up in the town of Bedford in wealthy Westchester County north of New York City, the son of Loudon S. Wainwright, Jr., a writer and editor at Life magazine and a direct descendant of colonial governor Peter Stuyvesant.
Wainwright became a folk singer/songwriter in the late '60s, singing humorous and nakedly honest autobiographical songs. Signed to Atlantic Records, he recorded Album I (1970) and Album II (1971), accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, before switching to Columbia Records, for which he made the folk-rock Album III (1972), which featured the Top 40 novelty hit Dead Skunk.
Attempted Mustache (1973) and the half-live Unrequited (1975) did not continue that commercial success, though Wainwright's humor and engaging stage persona made him a cult figure and a concert favorite.
Meanwhile, his songs were recorded by others, notably Kate (his wife, since divorced) and Anna McGarrigle, and Wainwright appeared in the off-Broadway show Pump Boys and Dinettes and played a featured role on the successful M*A*S*H television series.
He moved to Arista Records for T Shirt (1976) and Final Exam (1978), on which he was backed by a rock band, but departed the major labels for a more appropriate home on the folk-based indie Rounder for A Live One (1980) and Fame and Wealth (1983).
Wainwright began to gain more notice in England than in the U.S., and he moved to London in 1985. I'm Alright (1985) and More Love Songs (1986) were co-produced by British singer/guitarist Richard Thompson. Therapy (1989) found Wainwright on the major-label-distributed Silvertone imprint and back living in the U.S., and he signed to Virgin Records' Charisma subsidiary for History (1992) and the live Career Moves (1993). Grown Man, his 15th album, was released in 1995, followed three years later by Little Ship.
In 1999, there appeared a collection of topical, humorous songs Wainwright had been composing since the late '80s for National Public Radio, titled Social Studies; the following year, The BBC Sessions collected favorites and new compositions. The Last Man on Earth followed in 2001, and the live album So Damn Happy marked his debut for Sanctuary in 2003. Another studio album, Here Come the Choppers, was released in 2005. It was followed by Strange Weirdos: Music from and Inspired by the Film Knocked Up in 2007 and by Recovery in 2008.
THE GRAMMY AWARDS LOUDON WAINWRIGHT
High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project Loudon Wainwright III [2nd Story Sound Records] Grammy in the Best Traditional Folk category.
Wainwright, together with producer Dick Connette, has created one of the most ambitious projects of his career with the 2 CD set High Wide & Handsome - a grand gathering of songs, both old and original, revisiting the life, times and recorded legacy of legendary singer and banjo picker Charlie Poole (1892-1931).
The music ranges from old-timey to dixieland, from parlor songs to acapella gospel, a compendium of the strains that have created and continue to create American popular music. Greil Marcus wrote in his notes for the project, Poole might have been waiting all these years for someone to talk back to him so completely in his own language; Wainwright might have been waiting since he first heard Charlie Poole to get up the nerve to do it. Guests on the album include Martha Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright, Sloan Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche, the Roches, and Chris Thile.
Source: William Ruhlmann
Loudon Wainwright III (1970)
Album II (1971)
Album III (1972)
Attempted Mustache (1973)
T Shirt (1976)
Final Exam (1978)
Fame and Wealth (1983)
I'm Alright (1985)
More Love Songs (1986)
Grown Man (1995)
Little Ship (1997)
The BBC Sessions (1998)
Social Studies (1999)
Last Man on Earth (2001)
Here Come the Choppers (2005)
Strange Weirdos (2007)
High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (2009)
A Live One (1979)
Career Moves (1993)
So Damn Happy (2003)
Fame and Wealth / I'm Alright (1991)
One Man Guy: The Best of Loudon Wainwright III 1982-1986 (1994)
"Dead Skunk" / "Needless to Say" (1973) (U.S. Pop #16)
"Down Drinking at the Bar" / "I Am the Way" (1974)
"Five Years Old" / "Rambunctious" (1983, Demon)
"Five years old/The Grammy song, (1983, Rounder)
"Cardboard Boxes" / "Colours" (1985, Demon)
"Unhappy Anniversary" / "The Acid Song" (1986, Demon)
"Thank You, Girl" (John Hiatt) / "My Girl" (with John Hiatt) (1987)
"Your Mother and I" / "At the End of a Long Lonely Day" (with John Hiatt) (1987)
"T.S.D.H.A.V." / "Nice Guys" (1989, Silvertone)
"Jesse Don't Like It" (live) / "T.S.D.H.A.V." (live) (1990, Hannibal)
"Silent Night, Holy Night(Terry Callier) / The Little Drummer Boy (John Scofield & Loudon Wainwright) Verve records, 1999
"Y2K" (Rykodisc, 1999)
"Nanny" (Evangeline, 2005)
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