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Willie Nile

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Willie Nile (born Robert Anthony Noonan on June 7, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, and musician. In 1980 Nile released his self-titled debut album which according to one critic remains “one of the most thrilling post-Byrds folk-rock albums of all time”. His career was interrupted by legal problems with his record company, but he eventually returned to recording and performing in the US and Europe, establishing himself as a respected songwriter and live-wire rocker.

Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Nile came from a musical family—his grandfather was a vaudeville pianist who played with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Eddie Cantor; his uncles played boogie-woogie. His listened to the music of Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and Fats Domino, brought home by his older brothers. Nile himself began playing piano at age eight and took classical music lessons until he was a teenager, when he taught himself his first rock & roll song. He soon began to compose short songs and continued the habit into his college years, when during the summers he made trips into New York City to frequent hootenanny clubs like Folk City and the Gaslight.

Nile studied philosophy at the University at Buffalo where he received a BA in 1971, before heading for Greenwich Village. After graduation, Nile took an apartment in the heart of Greenwich Village; however, during his first winter in New York, he contracted pneumonia, which put him out of commission for about a year.

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