Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ursa Major - S/T 1972

Dick Wagner is an American guitar player, author, and songwriter best known for his work with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, and Kiss. He also fronted his Michigan based bands The Frost and The Bossmen. In 1972, Wagner moved to New York and formed the group Ursa Major. The original lineup included Billy Joel on keyboards and Rick Mangone on drums. As Billy Joel had to leave the band for personal reasons, Wagner replaced him with former Amboy Dukes bass player Greg Arama. They released one seminal acclaimed self titled album as a power trio. The band toured regularly with Jeff Beck and Alice Cooper. Wagner, along with Steve Hunter as a guitar duo were featured on Lou Reed's "Berlin" and as band leader and arranger, he arranged songs from Lou's Velvet Underground days for the stage and appeared on "Rock and Roll Animal."
It was during Wagner's days with the Frost that he first met Alice Cooper, Wagner had already appeared on Cooper's "Schools Out" album, and pretty much played all the lead guitar and solos on the earlier Alice Cooper records. Sometimes uncredited. After the break up of the original Alice Cooper Group, Wagner beacme Alice's lead guitar player, song writer, and band arranger. (in fact you can hear music from "Wish you were Here" off the "Goes to Hell" album on this release). Wagner co-wrote and played lead on the Alice Cooper albums "Welcome to My Nightmare", "Goes to Hell", "The Alice Cooper Show", "Lace and Whiskey", From the Inside, "Zipper Catches Skin", and DADA among others.
Wagner played on Kiss' "Destroyer", Aerosmith's "Get you Wings" as well as albums by Hall & Oats, Nills Lofgren, Peter Gabriel, Air Supply, Tina Turner, Guns & Roses, Lita Ford, Tim Curry, Mark Farner, and even appeared on the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" soundtrack.
One Hell of a guitar player and nothing proves it more than this album.
On July 30, 2014 Wagner died of respiratory failure.

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