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Sunday, December 31, 2000

Year in Review - 2000

In recent years, Wendy & Lisa have existed not only as a band, but as some of the most sought after sessionists in the business. The last year has proved no exception. After the excitement, shows and press surrounding 1998's critically acclaimed Girl Bros., Wendy & Lisa have returned to their places behind the scenes to create more of the best music you never knew they worked on. Here are highlights from the session work, scoring, press and other goodies that made up the Wendy and Lisa year.

Session Work

There were a number of appearances as Bramhall with frontman Doyle Bramhall II. Beginning on February 12, Austin City Limits began airing its Bramhall session. Taped in late 1999, the session featured four songs by the band, with Wendy & Lisa (and Susannah Melvoin, of course) in the lineup.

Wendy Melvoin, as always, proved herself as one of the hardest-working sessionists in the business. In April she was in the studios with Jonatha Brooke, working out song ideas for an upcoming Brooke album Steady Pull,, due for release on CD and DVD in February 2001. May saw the release of two albums featuring Wendy's session work. First came the bass and guitar work she did with Japanese artist Bonnie Pink, under the auspices of producer friend Mitchell Froom. Let Go featured Wendy's work on the track "Call My Name." Two weeks later, Pearl Jam released Binaural, featuring Wendy's work on percussion.

There were the family sessions with Susannah and Doyle Bramhall II on Riding With The King. The Eric Clapton and B. B. King collaboration featured "Marry You" and "I Wanna Be" from Bramhall's Jellycream, so naturally (at least some of) the band came along for the ride. Wendy and Susannah contributed backing vocals not only to those tracks but the majority of the album. And in family sessions of another variety, Wendy lent guitar licks to k. d. lang's Invincible Summer. Whew!

Wendy didn't have all the fun, though. Wendy & Lisa both flew down under over the summer to help out Neil Finn with some studio work for his second -- still untitled -- solo album. They also took part in a handful of live dates -- including a concert in September for the 2000 Olympics. On many of the live dates, Finn gave the duo time to display a few songs of their own, a small showcase from the Girl Bros. album. (You can check out a hint of Neil Finn live on the recently released Sessions at 54th St. DVD.)


With the television show Snoops cancelled, Wendy & Lisa had time to pick up other scoring work. They spent the first half of the year scoring the upcoming film The Third Wheel starring Ben Affleck. At last report, the film was due to be released in early 2001.

Late fall saw the (apparently very limited) release of Loving Jezebel, which Wendy & Lisa scored in 1999.


ROCKRGRL was all over Wendy & Lisa this year. First, they gave the duo kudos in their list of Rock's Greatest 50 Women of All Time, calling the duo an "underappreciated national treasure," while ranking them at place 27 in the list. Then they gave Wendy & Lisa a four page interview in their May/June 2000 issue. (If you missed it, don't worry -- they have back issues available at the website.) Last but not least, they invited Wendy & Lisa to be panelists at their Music Conference 2000 in November.

New Music Monthly demonstrated actually having a clue while commenting on Wendy Melvoin's contributions to the new Scritti Politti album Anomie & Bonhomie. Their coverage of the all star cast on the album included mention of "guitarist Wendy Melvoin of Wendy & Lisa fame." (Musiczone wishes that other members of the press would follow this lead, and remember Wendy & Lisa for things they've actually done in the last fifteen years!)

Not everyone was thrilled with Wendy & Lisa's session work, though. The Night Owl gave them mixed reviews for their work on Doyle Bramhall II's two albums, almost accusing them of stealing Bramhall away from his guitar roots. The review praised their influence on "Close to Heaven," but said that "Marry You" sounded like a "second-rate Wendy & Lisa tune." (Ow!)

Random Weirdness

While there were no new releases from Wendy & Lisa this year, there were a few visits from the ghosts of Wendy & Lisa past.

Two British hits compilation albums released in April featured Wendy & Lisa singles from the Eighties. Wild Angels features 1989's "Lolly Lolly," while companion album Modern Madonnas includes "Are You My Baby."

Adding to the slate of nearly obscure Wendy & Lisa cover songs, UK girl group Made in London released a cover of Wendy & Lisa's 1989 single "Satisfaction," on a four-track single Dirty Water, which also features a cover of Grace Jones' "Pull Up to the Bumper."

So . . . after all that work, did we still miss something? Send us your additions and corrections! And however you spend the New Year, enjoy!


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