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Was (Not Was)

Was (Not Was) play contemporary R&B dance music, with lyrics that range from the satiric to the bizarre. The group is led by Detroit natives David Weiss (David Was), who plays flute and writes those lyrics, and Don Fagenson (Don Was), who plays bass and writes music, but the group is fronted by singers Harry Bowens and Sweet Pea Atkinson. Was (Not Was) first gained notice for a dance single called "Wheel Me Out" in 1980. Their first album, Was (Not Was) (1981), did not reach the charts, but its follow-up, Born to Laugh at Tornados (1983), did. Then little was heard from the group for five years. They returned in 1988 with What Up, Dog?, which featured the number 16 hit "Spy in the House of Love" and the number seven hit "Walk the Dinosaur." (During this period, Don Was had become a prominent record producer, handling the board for Bonnie Raitt's Grammy-winning Nick of Time, among many other mainstream pop records.) The fourth Was (Not Was) album, Are You Okay?, appeared in 1990. Are You Okay? wasn't as commercially successful as the previous What Up, Dog? After the album's release, Don Was continued to pursue his production career, which began to increase tensions between Don and David. In 1993, they parted ways but returned 15 years later with Boo!, an album featuring several Was (Not Was) vets, including Bowens, Atkinson, Wayne Kramer, David McMurray, and Luis Resto.

Was (Not Was) is an eccentric pop group founded by David Weiss (a.k.a. David Was) and Don Fagenson (a.k.a. Don Was). They gained popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Weiss and Fagenson were childhood friends who grew up together in suburban Detroit. Partly due to Fagenson's poverty they decided to form Was (Not Was) in 1979. The name of the band was derived from Fagenson's son Zane, who enjoyed contradicting words such as "Blue" with "Not Blue". Their first recording was "Wheel Me Out", a 12-inch dance record for the avant-garde ZE Records.
In 1997, Steve Winwood released a tune which borrowed not just the title of Was (Not Was)'s single "Spy in the House of Love" but also the bass line and other elements. However, no lawsuits ensued (or were settled out of court).

 

80's Hits

Walk The Dinosaur

Members of this Group


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