Katrina & The Waves

Katrina And The Waves were a successful, female-fronted, four piece rock band during the 1980s and 90s, built around the infectiously melodic, sixties-influenced songs of Kimberly Rew (former guitarist for The Soft Boys) and the distinctively powerful vocals of Katrina Leskanich. The group were best known for their evergreen, step-lightening 1985 hit single "Walking on Sunshine" and their landslide 1997 Eurovision Song Contest victory with the song "Love Shine a Light". The band's earliest incarnation was as the Waves, a group that played in and around Cambridge, England from 1975-77 and featured guitarist Kimberley Rew and drummer Alex Cooper. This line up of the Waves never issued any recordings, and broke up when Rew left to join The Soft Boys, who left their mark as a twin guitar-led psychedelic rock quartet who in their short, commercially unsuccessful but influential existence managed to create an idiosyncratic canon, essentially two albums, A Can of Bees and Underwater Moonlight , based around the charmingly off-kilter songwriting of frontman Robyn Hitchcock, a whimsical Englishman in the Syd Barrett/Kevin Ayres mould, but out of step with the prevalent pub rock and punk of the time. ...show more

Katrina And The Waves were a successful, female-fronted, four piece rock band during the 1980s and 90s, built around the infectiously melodic, sixties-influenced songs of Kimberly Rew (former guitarist for The Soft Boys) and the distinctively powerful vocals of Katrina Leskanich. The group were best known for their evergreen, step-lightening 1985 hit single "Walking on Sunshine" and their landslide 1997 Eurovision Song Contest victory with the song "Love Shine a Light". The band's earliest incarnation was as the Waves, a group that played in and around Cambridge, England from 1975-77 and featured guitarist Kimberley Rew and drummer Alex Cooper. This line up of the Waves never issued any recordings, and broke up when Rew left to join The Soft Boys, who left their mark as a twin guitar-led psychedelic rock quartet who in their short, commercially unsuccessful but influential existence managed to create an idiosyncratic canon, essentially two albums, A Can of Bees and Underwater Moonlight , based around the charmingly off-kilter songwriting of frontman Robyn Hitchcock, a whimsical Englishman in the Syd Barrett/Kevin Ayres mould, but out of step with the prevalent pub rock and punk of the time.

Hitchcock has gone on to enjoy a cult solo career of steadily building success and now records and tours with the Minus Three, featuring REM's Peter Buck. The Waves folded when Cooper joined pop/soul cover band Mama's Cookin' in 1979. This band featured American Katrina Leskanich on vocals and guitar; her then-boyfriend Vince de la Cruz on guitar (both self-confessed "US airforce brats"), Cooper on drums and Bob Jakins on bass. Mama's Cookin' gigged steadily across England over the next two years, developing their chops on the US military bases circuit, where their trademark covers of classic American Sixties R&B, Motown and Spector-helmed hits and Seventies rock went down particularly well and served their arrangement skills well for the future.

After the demise of the Soft Boys in 1981, Rew renewed relations with Cooper, who convinced Rew to join Mama's Cookin', which was shortly re-named the Waves after the pair's original combo. The Waves were initially a five piece, fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist Rew, who brought a wealth of original material to the band. Leskanich was temporarily sidelined, backing Rew's vocals and singing lead on only the Waves' repertoire of covers, but gradually Rew recognised the power and quality of Leskanich's voice and began writing songs specifically for her to sing and by the end of The Waves' first year, Leskanich was the band's main vocalist. In 1982 The Waves released debut single Nightmare with B-side Hey, War Pig! Both tracks were collected later that year on Rew's The Bible Of Bop solo album; the latter cited by Velvet Crush's Ric Menc as "the greatest protest song ever" followed by the Waves' debut Shock Horror EP. ...show less