What I’ve Been Listening To: Katrina And The Waves/Katrina And The Waves

Now here’s a blast from the past! The other day while driving in the car with my wife who likes ’80s music big time, we listened to some sampler of tunes from that decade. One of the songs was Walking On Sunshine, which became a huge hit for Katrina and The Waves in 1985. Unlike some of that sampler’s other tunes I dug at the time but now not so much, I thought Walking On Sunshine still sounds like a perfect summer song. This made me revisit the band’s album on which the tune appeared and realize I also still like most of the other tracks.

According to Wikipedia, Katrina and the Waves were a British-American band that emerged from a pop cover group called Mama’s Cookin’. Founded in 1978, that band from Feltwell, England featured American guitarist and vocalist Katrina Leskanich and Vince de la Cruz (vocals, lead guitar). In late 1980, Alex Cooper joined on drums. He brought in guitarist Kimberley Rew. Rounding out the five-piece was Bob Jaskins on bass. Subsequently, the band renamed themselves The Waves before finally becoming  Katrina and The Waves in August 1982.

Katrina and The Waves Poster
Katrina and The Waves in the ’80s (from left): Alex Cooper, Katrina Leskanich, Vince de la Cruz and Kimberley Rew

In early 1983, the band recorded their self-financed debut album Walking On Sunshine. Eventually, they got a deal with Canadian label Attic Records, which released the record in Canada only. The sophomore Katrina and The Waves 2 appeared in 1984, also in Canada only. The following year, the band signed an international deal with Capitol Records and recorded their third album. Titled Katrina and The Waves, it became their breakthrough, fueled by the single Walking On Sunshine. Interestingly, all tracks on that album were re-recorded, remixed or overdubbed tunes from the band’s two previous Canadian albums. Time for some music!

Let’s kick it off with the nice opener Red Wine And Whisky. Like all except two of the 10 tracks, the tune was written by Rew.

Here’s the excellent Cry For Me. I dig the nice soulful vibe and Leskanich’s strong lead vocals.

Next up, the above noted Walking On Sunshine. You could not switch on the radio in Germany at the time and not hear that tune. Though according to Wikipedia, it was more successful in other countries, especially in Ireland, Canada, U.K. and the U.S. where it reached no. 2, 3, 8 and 9, respectively on the corresponding singles charts. In Germany, it peaked at no. 28.

The last track I’d like to call out is the closer The Game Of Love. The tune features some nice Chuck Berry style guitar, as well as great brass work by Irish saxophonist John Earle.

While Katrina and The Waves continued to release six additional records through the remainder of the ’80s and most of the ’90s, they couldn’t repeat the success of the above album. In 1997, the band scored another hit single with Love Shine A Light, after they won the Eurovision Song Contest with it the same year. Let’s just say it’s quite different from the previously featured tunes. After the band broke up in 1999, Leskanich launched a solo career and has released various albums since then. Apparently, Rew also continued to write, record and release music.

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube

11 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Listening To: Katrina And The Waves/Katrina And The Waves”

    1. Dies ist wohl wahr. Ich denke Katrina and The Waves illustrieren ebenfalls, daß es neben Talent auch häufig etwas Glück bedarf.

      Zwar kenne ich lediglich dieses Album etwas besser, doch habe ich gerade aus Neugierde in den Nachfolger von 1986 hineingehört. Auch auf dieser Platte scheinen an paar ganz gute Stücke zu sein, die mich etwas an Huey Lewis and the News erinnern. Letztere Band war allerdings im Vergleich zu Katrina and The Waves wesentlich erfolgreicher.

      Nun ja, auf der anderen Seite kann man mit Sicherheit davon ausgehen, daß es zahlreiche Musikkünstler gibt, die trotz Talent nie den großen Erfolg hatten. Vermutlich hat “Walking On Sunshine,” welches zu einer Zeit herauskam, wo sich Platten noch gut verkauften, die ein oder andere Rechnung bezahlt!

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      1. Der Vergleich mit dem guten Huey Lewis der 80er Jahre ist nicht schlecht, aber trotz allem Charme der Sängerin war einfach nicht genügend Substanz in der Band. Ich fand Katrina & The Waves damals wirklich brav und nett, mehr auch nicht …

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      2. Naja, Du hast wohl schon recht, und ich werde mich sicherlich nicht plötzlich in einen großen Fan der Band umwandeln.

        Ich glaube ich war wohl in erster Linie überrascht darüber, daß neben “Walking On Sunshine” ein paar andere Stücke auf dem Album sind, die ich auch aus heutiger Sicht nicht schlecht finde.

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      1. I remember buying it on vinyl- discounted in the late 80’s- a band that deserved more success at least in the US than they got.

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  1. Great write-up, Christian. I had no interest when this album came out but I’ve always enjoyed the hit single. Until earlier this year I had never heard anything else from them, even though I worked at a record store when it was popular. I guess none of my coworkers liked them enough to play the album. Not sure what inspired me to check them out on Spotify a few months ago but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Then I found a copy on vinyl for $3 and decided it was good enough to add to my collection. Hopefully your post will inspire others who might have previously written them off to give them a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I believe I borrowed the album from a friend when it came out and taped it on music cassette – remember MCs?😀

      I remember I liked it then, and it wasn’t just because of “Walking On Sunshine.” But obviously you’re talking close to 34 years – yikes!

      Anyway, until a few days ago, I had completely forgotten about Katrina and The Waves – until I listened to that ‘80s sampler I mentioned in the post.

      When I then listened to the entire album again, I was surprised how many songs other than “Walking On Sunshine” I still thought were not bad – nothing super special, but fun to listen to, and certainly much better than some of the other stuff I liked in the ‘80s!😀

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  2. If a band – at least here in the US – could ever be characterized as a one-hit-wonder, Katrina and the Waves is that band. I never gave much thought to whether or not they had an album or anything else. I love “Walking on Sunshine.” Like “Waterloo,” it is a great slab of pop confection. I hear it all the time as it is on my iPod when I work out. Can’t beat it. You hear it so much on commercials that after your post I got to wondering how well it’s done. Quite well per the source of all truth, Wikipedia:

    “Royalties from airplay and advertisements of “Walking on Sunshine” have been extremely high. Katrina and the Waves kept the publishing rights and the royalties that typically go to the songwriter have been divided among the band members. Estimates are the song has earned $1 million per year for the ten years ending in 2010. According to a former employee of EMI, “Walking on Sunshine was the crown jewel in EMI’s catalog,” and that it was one of EMI’s biggest earners from advertisers.”

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    1. Wow, frankly, I didn’t realize the song made that kind of money! Of course, when you consider all the players in the business who get a piece, by the time the bucks get to band, most of the money is gone.

      Still, according to a Rolling Stone story from last August, music artists earn about 12% from revenue their music generates. Let’s make it 10% to keep it easy – I wasn’t exactly a math genius. So in Katrina’s case that’s $100k per year or $1m for ten years. If again for the sake of simplicity you assume the money was equally divided by four, this means about $250k per band member – certainly not too shabby.

      BTW, I also found another Rolling Stone story that breaks down how music artists earn money – makes your head spin!

      https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/how-musicians-make-money-or-dont-at-all-in-2018-706745/

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