By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
Love is strange, the Everly Brothers once sang but the music business can be even stranger.
The line between fame and obscurity is incredibly thin, often dependent as much on luck as talent.
When Harrogate’s impressive 70s prog-folk-country rock band Wally reformed for a few special shows a couple of years ago, part of the driving force was fans’ wish to see this brilliant band gain the recognition they didn’t quite achieve in their heyday on Atlantic Records.
It’s ironic, therefore, that one of the reasons why it’s tricky bringing the band back together in the immediate future is the current success of its individual members.
One in particular is doing phenomenally well. Wally violinist Pete Sage has come a long way since his teenage days at Ripon Grammar School , a longway from playing lead guitar in local bands in the very early 70s such as Growth of Herbs, Future Passed and Blues Garden and a long way since joining Wally.*
At the same time as those stand-alone reunion shows MC-ed by BBC Radio’s Bob Harris were taking place in 2010 and 2011 in Harrogate, the multi-talented Pete’s career was about to reach a new peak in his adopted Germany.
Having sound engineered for bands like Boney M, his own group Santiano went double platinium with one album in 2012, then hit the top spot with the follow-up.
As a result, Pete and Santiano performed to a million people at the Brandenberg Gate party in Berlin, and they will now represent Germany at this year’s Eurovision Song contest.
Will Wally ever get the chance to play together again?
*Thanks to reader Malcolm Sweet for providing much of this information.