Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 2 Oct. '52, Princes Risborough, UK) Punk-era singer specialising in bizarre humour. Early partnership with guitarist Wild Willy Barrett. Cut flop tracks prod. by Pete Townshend '74, worked as dustman until punk explosion and endearing anarchy of "(Cor Baby That's) Really Free' (top 30 UK '77). Debut album John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett '77 incl. much mania, but also charming "Geneve'; the live act was a sensation, with Otway hurling himself around stage. Deep & Meaningless '78 incl. "Beware Of The Flowers (Cos I'm Sure They're Gonna Get You, Yeah)'; Way & Bar '80 had minor hit with electro-funk "DK50/80'; Gone With The Bin: The Best Of Otway & Barrett was a compilation as they split; disappointing solo Where Did I Go Right? '79 was prod. by Neil Innes; All Balls & No Willy '82 was an improvement, with a crazy cover of Roy Orbison's "In Dreams'. Deep Thought '80 was a USA release, compiled from three LPs and incl. two Townshed tracks from '74; a Stiff EP I Did It Otway incl. sendup of "Green Green Grass Of Homes', also incl. on John Otway's Greatest Hits '86, cleverly done up like an expensive Japanese import. He undertook TV adverts, fringe theatre; Barrett continued gigging with his own band, released Organic Bondage '86.