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Wa Wa Nee

Wa Wa Nee broke the Australian tradition of pub rock in the mid-'80s with a combination of expertly packaged funk-pop, designed for a mass audience. Songwriting duo Paul Gray and Steve Williams fronted the band, signing a deal with CBS Records in late 1985. In January 1986 they put together a full lineup consisting of Geoff Lundren (bass), Elizabeth Lord (keyboards, backing vocals), and Chris Sweeney (drums). Later, Gray's younger brother Mark replaced Lundren on bass, and keyboardist Phil Witchett joined the lineup. Wa Wa Nee's ascent of the Australian charts began with the April 1986 release of the single "Stimulation," which peaked nationally at number two. Three further singles also made the Australian Top 20 and their self-titled debut album yielded platinum sales of over 70,000. A national tour of Australia followed, along with a promotional tour of the U.S., where "Sugar Free" had made the Top 30. A new single, "Can't Control Myself," was released in November 1988, peaking at number 17 in Australia and forming part of their final album Blush. Two more singles, "So Good" and "I Want You," were released to less interest, and Wa Wa Nee disbanded in the same year.
© Brendan Swift /TiVo

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