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Willy DeVille

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Willy DeVille (born William Paul Borsey Jr. in Stamford, Connecticut, on August 25, 1950; died in New York City on August 6, 2009) was an American singer and songwriter. During his thirty-five year career, first with his band Mink DeVille (1974–1986) and later on his own, Deville created original songs rooted in various American musical styles. He worked with collaborators from across the spectrum of contemporary music, including Jack Nitzsche, Doc Pomus, Dr. John, Mark Knopfler, Allen Toussaint, and Eddie Bo. A wide range of styles, including latin rhythms, blues riffs, doo-wop, Cajun music, strains of French cabaret, and echoes of early-1960s uptown soul, can be heard in DeVille’s work.

As a teenager, DeVille had a band named Billy and the Kids. He moved to London looking to form a band, but was unsuccessful in finding like-minded musicians. Eventually he landed in San Francisco where he formed a band with bassist Ruben Siguenza and drummer Tom “Manfred” Allen. The band played under the names Billy DeSade & the Marquis and the Lazy Eights before settling on the name Mink DeVille. Later, DeVille took the band to New York City, where they helped to pioneer punk rock music and were one of the original house bands at CBGB, the New York nighclub where punk rock music was born in the mid-1970s.

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