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Loudon Snowden Wainwright III (born September 5, 1946) is an Americanmarker songwriter, folk singer, humorist, and actor. He is the father of musicians Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche, brother of Sloan Wainwright, and the former husband of folk singer Kate McGarrigle.


Early life

Wainwright was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolinamarker, the son of Martha Taylor, a yoga teacher, and Loudon Wainwright, Jr., a columnist and editor for Life magazine. Wainwright grew up in affluent Bedfordmarker, New Yorkmarker, in Westchester Countymarker. Among his sisters is Sloan Wainwright, also a singer. He graduated from St. Andrew's Schoolmarker in Delawaremarker. He is a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Director-General of New Netherland (present-day New York Statemarker).


Wainwright's career began in the late 1960s. He had played the guitar while in school, but would later sell it for yoga lessons while living in San Franciscomarker. Later, in Rhode Islandmarker, Wainwright's grandmother got him a job working in a boatyard. An old lobsterman named Edgar inspired him to borrow a friend's guitar and write his first song, "Edgar". Wainwright soon bought his own guitar and in about a year wrote nearly twenty songs. He went to Bostonmarker and New Yorkmarker to play in folk clubs and was eventually "discovered" by Milton Kramer who became his manager. He acquired a record deal with Atlantic Records, who released his first album in 1970.

Wainwright is perhaps best known for the 1972 novelty song hit, "Dead Skunk ", and for playing Captain Calvin Spalding (the "singing surgeon") on the American television show, M*A*S*H. His appearances spanned three episodes in its third season (1974-1975), including the episode "Rainbow Bridge". However, his musical reputation is much deeper. Using a witty, self-mocking style, Wainwright has recorded over twenty albums on eleven different labels. Two of his albums have been nominated for Grammy awards: I'm Alright (1985) and More Love Songs (1986).

Wainwright has also appeared in a number of films, including small parts in The Aviator, Big Fish, Elizabethtown, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and the television series, Undeclared. Wainwright came to the attention of many people in Britain for the first time when he appeared as the resident singer with comedian Jasper Carrott in his UK show, Carrott Confidential, in the late 1980s, and he has remained popular in the UK ever since.

He appeared a musical guest on Saturday Night Live on the 5th episode it was broadcast on November 15, 1975. He performed "Bicentennial" and "Unrequited to the Nth Degree" as a guest to Robert Klein.

Wainwright has claimed that, like many of his contemporaries, he was inspired musically by seeing Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1962. He was one of many young folksingers tagged as the "new Dylan" in the early 1970s, a fact that he later ruefully satirized in his song, "Talking New Bob Dylan", from History (1992).

Wainwright was also a judge for the 4th annual Independent Music Awards.

According to his own liner notes, Wainwright entered a period of deep depression following the death of his mother in 1997, and believed he could never write again. Retreating to his mother's cabin in the woods, he underwent therapy and gradually recovered, eventually recording the soul-baring Last Man on Earth in 2001. Since then his recording career has mostly returned to its previous frequency.

In September 2006, Wainwright and musician Joe Henry began composing the music to the Judd Apatow film, Knocked Up, which was released on June 1, 2007. In addition to composing the soundtrack, Wainwright appeared in the film in a supporting role as the protagonists' obstetrician. He has also composed music for the new theatre production of Carl Hiassen's Lucky You, which premiered at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Personal life

Wainwright's son, Rufus Wainwright, and daughter, Martha Wainwright, from his former wife Canadianmarker singer/songwriter Kate McGarrigle are both singer/songwriters as well. Rufus was the subject of two of Loudon's more famous songs, the breastfeeding ode "Rufus is a Tit Man" and the retrospective "A Father and a Son", while Martha entered the world to "Pretty Little Martha", turned five to the post-divorce child-rearing anthem "Five Years Old" and entered her teenage years with the brutally clinical "Hitting You". Rufus, in turn, has covered his father's "One Man Guy" and wrote "Dinner at Eight" about a family dispute, while Martha has covered her father's "Pretty Good Day" and wryly states that her song, "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole", is about her father. On the other hand, Martha and Loudon collaborated on the song "You Never Phone" on his 2003 album, So Damn Happy. Martha also duets with Loudon on 'Father Daughter Dialogue' from Grown Man (1995).

Loudon also has a daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, with singer Suzzy Roche, and a third daughter, Lexie Kelly. Loudon remarried in 2005.


Studio albums

Live albums


  • Fame and Wealth / I'm Alright (1991) - this combines both albums on one CD, but minus one track from each
  • One Man Guy: The Best of Loudon Wainwright III 1982-1986 (1994)


  • "Dead Skunk" / "Needless to Say" (1973) (U.S. Pop #16)
  • "Down Drinking at the Bar" / "I Am the Way" (1974)
  • "Five Years Old" / "Rambunctious" (1983, Demon)
  • "Five years old/The Grammy song, (1983, Rounder)
  • "Cardboard Boxes" / "Colours" (1985, Demon)
  • "Unhappy Anniversary" / "The Acid Song" (1986, Demon)
  • "Thank You, Girl" (John Hiatt) / "My Girl" (with John Hiatt) (1987)
  • "Your Mother and I" / "At the End of a Long Lonely Day" (with John Hiatt) (1987)
  • "T.S.D.H.A.V." / "Nice Guys" (1989, Silvertone)
  • "Jesse Don't Like It" (live) / "T.S.D.H.A.V." (live) (1990, Hannibal)
  • "Silent Night, Holy Night(Terry Callier) / The Little Drummer Boy (John Scofield & Loudon Wainwright) Verve records, 1999
  • "Y2K" (Rykodisc, 1999)
  • "Nanny" (Evangeline, 2005)

Promotional discs
  • "Bell bottom pants-mono/Bell bottom pants-stereo, 1973, Columbia 45 rpm
  • "The Swimming song-stereo/ the Swimming song-mono, 1973 Columbia 45 rpm
  • "Bicentennial-mono/Bicentennial-stereo, 1976 Arista 45 rpm
  • "This year -one sided disc, 1988Silvertone 45 rpm
  • "Y2K" 6 track radio edits of the song "Y2K" Rykodisc
  • "History promo #1" Talking new Bob Dylan, Hitting you, People in love, Virgin, 1992
  • "History promo #2" The Doctor, When I'm at your house, So many songs, Men, Virgin, 1992
  • "History promo #3" People in love, Virgin, 1992
  • "Career moves" promo, Suddenly it's Christmas, Virgin, 1993
  • "Grown man" promo, 1994, IWIWAL (I wish I was a lesbian, Cobwebs, Grown man, Virgin, 1995
  • "Little ship" promo, Mr. Ambivalent, Virgin, 1997
  • "So Damn Happy promo #1, Something for nothing", Sanctuary, 2003
  • "So damn happy" promo #2, The Picture, The Shit song (Radio edit) You never phone, Sanctuary records, 2003
  • "Daughter" from Strange weirdos, Concord records, 2007


  • The New Age of Atlantic - "Motel Blues" (1972)
  • Earl Scruggs Review Anniversary Special, Volume One - "Swimming Song", "Gospel Ship" (1975)
  • Nyon Folk Festival - "The Waitress Song" (1979)
  • Feed the Folk - "Outsidey" (1985)
  • The Slugger's Wife Soundtrack - "Hey, Hey, My My" (with Rebecca De Mornay) (1985)
  • From Hell to Obscurity - "Colours", "At the End of a Long Lonely Day" (with John Hiatt), "My Girl" (with John Hiatt) (1989)
  • Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 10 - "Dead Skunk" (1990, Rhino)
  • 70s Greatest Rock, Vol. 10: Hitchin' a Ride - "Dead Skunk" (1991, Priority)
  • Dr. Demento Presents..., Vol. 4: The 1970s - "Dead Skunk"
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered - "Virgin 21" (1994, Virgin, UKmarker)
  • Life in the Folk Lane II - "Hard Day on the Planet" (1994, Diablo/Demon)
  • Beat the Retreat: Songs by Richard Thompson - "A Heart Needs a Home" (with Shawn Colvin) (1995, Capitolmarker)
  • Troubadours of Folk, Vol. 4: The '70s - "Old Friend" (1995, Rhino)
  • Golfs Greatest Hits - "Golfin' Blues" (1996, Teed Off Records, distributed by BMG)
  • The Best of Mountain Stage, Volume 1 - "Bill of Goods" (1996, Blue Plate Music)
  • Mellow Rock Hits of the '70s: Sundown - "Glad to See You've Got Religion" (1997, Rhino)
  • Soft Rock Classics - "Glad to See You've Got Religion" (1998, Rhino)
  • KBCO Studio C, Volume 4 - "Cardboard Boxes" (KBCO)
  • Family Album - "The Picture" (1998, Gadfly)
  • Best of the Cambridge Folk Festival, 1977-1997 - Medley: "The Swimming Song/Pretty Little Martha/Dump the Dog" (1998)
  • Welcome to High Sierra - "Primrose Hill" (1998, High Sierra)
  • Bleecker Street - "Pack Up Your Sorrows" (with Iris DeMent) (1999, Astor Place)
  • Live at the World Café - Volume 9 (1999) - "Sunday Times"
  • Seka - Sister, Volume 2 - "Pretty Good Day" (2000, Twah!)
  • Si Dolce - "I am the Way", "The Last Day", "Road Ode", "Five Years Old" (2000)
  • 28 Days Soundtrack - "Heaven and Mud", "Drinking Song", "White Winos", "Dreaming" (2000, Uni/Varèse Sarabande)
  • Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom (1950-1970) - "School Days" (2001, Rhino)
  • Love Songs For New York: Wish You Were Here - "No Sure Way" (2002, Megaforce)
  • 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin - Broadcasts Vol.10 (2002) - "No Sure Way"
  • The Aviator: Music From The Motion Picture - "After You've Gone" (2004) [Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax]
  • Golden Slumbers: A Father's Love - "Daughter" (2005, Rendezvous)
  • Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys - "Turkish Revelry", "Good Ship Venus" (2006, ANTI-)



  1. Loudon Wainwright, III Biography (1946-)
  2. - Loudon Wainwright III Retrieved October 6 2008
  3. Biography (Loudon Wainwright's Official Site) Retrieved October 6, 2008
  4. Independent Music Awards - Past Judges
  5. - Knocked Up Retrieved October 6, 2008
  6. The Guardian profile: The Wainwrights
Undeclared -TV Show(2001)

External links

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