Willy DeVille: 1950-2009

An old friend and fellow musician informed me that one of our f

Mink DeVille’s founder and creative kingpin Willy DeVille passed away from pancreatic cancer on Aug. 6. He was 58. With a flourish of Spanish strings and clattering castanets, his band was often more reminiscent of West Side Story than the New York City punk band moniker it received during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Over three decades, DeVille’s distinctive voice and R&B sound evolved and refashioned with influences ranging from The Drifters to Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed while being delivered with an aristocracy accentuated by a villainous pencil-thin moustache. Receiving more acclaim in Europe than in the U.S., the band scored a minor hit with 1977’s “Spanish Stroll” from their debut album Cabretta. In 1987, DeVille’s “Story Book Love” from The Princess Bride earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

Related links:
YouTube: Willy DeVille - "Spanish Stroll"
Willy DeVille on MySpace

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