Dick Wagner

Dick Wagner

Original Name Richard Allen
Birth
Oelwein, Fayette County, Iowa, USA
Death 30 Jul 2014 (aged 71)
Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 133574578 · View Source
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American Guitarist, Songwriter and Author. He was best known for his work with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, and KISS. He also fronted his own Michigan-based bands, the Frost and the Bossmen. Born in Oelwein, Iowa, Wagner grew up in the Saginaw, Michigan, area. His first band, called the Bossmen, was a favorite in the Detroit area and scored radio play with the Wagner-penned composition "Baby Boy", "You're The Girl For Me", and others. Wagner formed his next band, the Frost, with Donny Hartman, Bobby Rigg, and Gordy Garris, in the late 1960s and built up a substantial following in the Michigan area. The band featured Wagner and Hartman on guitars, and power background vocals. The band released three albums during their tenure together on Vanguard Records: 1969's Frost Music and Rock and Roll Music, plus 1970's Through the Eyes of Love. Wagner was the principal songwriter, arranger and lead singer of The Frost. Their live appearances brought out large crowds of young fans throughout the region. In 1972, Wagner moved to New York and formed the short-lived group "Ursa Major". The original lineup included Billy Joel on keyboards, and Rick Mangone on drums. As Billy Joel had to leave the band for personal reasons, Wagner replaced him with former Amboy Dukes bassist Greg Arama. They released one seminal, acclaimed self-titled album as a power trio. The band toured nationally with Jeff Beck and then with Alice Cooper. In 1973, Wagner was recruited by producer Bob Ezrin for Lou Reed's band along with Steve Hunter. Wagner and Hunter were featured guitarists on Lou Reed's dark and controversial 1973 studio album, Berlin. Soon after, Wagner and Hunter were joined by Prakash John, Whitey 'Pentti' Glan, and Ray Colcord for Lou Reed's Rock N Roll Animal Tour. As band leader and arranger, Wagner took the early Lou Reed songs that had been recorded by the Velvet Underground and rearranged them into a majestic, orchestral sound for the concert stage. The new arrangements left behind the laid back feeling that had been established by the prior Reed band and won Reed his first gold album. The band toured internationally with Reed, culminating in the Rock N Roll Animal album, recorded live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 1973. It was during Wagner's days with The Frost, that he first met Alice Cooper. Producer Bob Ezrin brought both Wagner and Steve Hunter into the studio to play guitar on the early Alice Cooper albums. Wagner had already featured on the band's School's Out album, notably for playing the memorable guitar solo on the track My Stars. Wagner continued to play lead guitar (sometimes uncredited) on every Alice Cooper Group album that followed, through the break up of the original group. When the members of the original Alice Cooper group parted ways in 1974, Wagner officially teamed up with Alice Cooper and became his principal co-writer, lead guitarist and band director. Together they wrote their first concept album, Welcome to My Nightmare. Produced by Bob Ezrin, the album was released in 1975. The Nightmare Tour became the largest and longest touring rock show of the time. The live show also featured the dueling lead guitars of Wagner and Hunter in a guitar battle captured on the film of the same name. The film became a TV special and was released on home video in 1976. The world tour covered more than 120 cities over an eighteen month period. Wagner continued to co-write songs and play lead guitar on additional Cooper albums, including: Goes To Hell, The Alice Cooper Show Live, Lace and Whiskey, From the Inside (written by the team of Alice Cooper, Dick Wagner and Bernie Taupin), Zipper Catches Skin, DaDa, and Hey Stoopid among others. In 1978, Wagner released a solo LP called Richard Wagner, produced by Bob Ezrin, and released on Atlantic Records. The album title confused both record stores and disc jockeys who relegated the record to the classical music bin, assuming it was a classical music record composed by the 19th century classical composer with the same name. As one of renowned producer Bob Ezrin`s hired guns throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s, Wagner has lent his playing (and in some cases, songwriting) talents to albums including KISS' Destroyer, Revenge, Peter Gabriel's self-titled solo debut (1977), Air Supply Hall & Oates' Along the Red Ledge, Burton Cummings' Dream of a Child. Wagner produced and co-wrote albums for Mark Farner's solo debut and a pair of albums for the star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry, and more. One of the best-known songs written by Wagner is "Only Women Bleed". Written during Wagner's days with The Frost, Wagner was initially unhappy with his lyrics and did not release it. Once his collaboration with Alice Cooper started, Wagner played the song for him. Alice had a title for a song he had been wanting to write. Cooper and Wagner penned new lyrics and recorded it for Cooper's album Welcome to My Nightmare. The song delivered a message against domestic abuse. Since its initial release in 1975 "Only Women Bleed" has since been covered by more than 30 artists, including Tina Turner, Etta James, Guns N' Roses, Lita Ford, Carmen McRae, and Tori Amos. Following "Only Women Bleed", Wagner co-wrote a series of hit power ballads with Alice Cooper, including "I Never Cry", "You And Me", and "How You Gonna See Me Now". (The latter written by Cooper, Wagner, and Bernie Taupin.) Other songs co-written by Wagner brought him public recognition as a songwriting talent. First "Shine Silently" with Nils Lofgren, who performed it originally on his 1979 album Nils, then as part of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band's 1990 eponymous first album. "Just As I Am", written by Wagner with Rob Hegel, was a hit record for Air Supply. At the behest of producer Bob Ezrin, Wagner flew to Toronto and recorded seven tracks of guitars on the Air Supply record. Another power ballad, "I Might As Well Be on Mars", again with Alice Cooper, was featured on Cooper's 1991 album Hey Stoopid. One of the songs Wagner is most proud of is "Remember The Child", a song he wrote to address the issue of child abuse. Written from the point of view of a child, the lyrics and sing song melody deliver a powerful and poignant message to adults that a child will forever remember the love or abuse of their childhood. New York Times best selling author, John Bradshaw, selected "Remember The Child" as the theme song for his award winning PBS television special, "Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child. Bradshaw invited Wagner to join him on his nationwide tour to perform the song as a cathartic and healing piece of music to the thousands who attended Mr. Bradshaw's lectures and seminars. Embraced by psychiatrists and psychologists in their practices, the song has been used as a tool to evoke emotion from patients who are unable to express feelings. In 1996, Wagner was invited by Leo Najar, conductor of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra to perform a two and a half hour concert of his songs with the symphony. Wagner entitled the concert, "The Remember The Child Concert", raising funds for child abuse agencies in central Michigan through his "Remember The Child Foundation".

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  • Created by: A.J.
  • Added: 30 Jul 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 133574578
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dick Wagner (14 Dec 1942–30 Jul 2014), Find A Grave Memorial no. 133574578, ; Maintained by A.J. (contributor 1003) Unknown.