Born William Borsey in Stamford, CT , Willy DeVille spent his teen years in the West Village neighbourhood of New York City. It was here that he was exposed to much of the music that would influence his own career – such as Fred Neil, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.
In 1977, he formed the group Mink DeVille with bassist Ruben Siguenza and drummer T.R. “Manfred” Allen Jr. Mink DeVille became the house band at the legendary CBGB’s, playing alongside such punk icons as Blondie and The Ramones. In that same year their debut album, Cabretta, was released to critical acclaim. Rolling Stone deemed it one of the best albums of that year. DeVille’s recordings reflected his love of music across genres. From rockabilly to Piaf, salsa to zydeco, punk to blues; they were all ingredients in his musical creations.
Willy and Mark Knopfler worked together on the 1987 album Miracle, which Mark produced, and which featured what may be DeVille’s most well known song. “Storybook Love” was also used on Mark’s soundtrack for The Princess Bride, and was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Song.
After about 15 years away, Willy returned to New York, and continued to record and tour regularly. His 16th and final release, Pistola, came out in 2008. He was due to go out on the road for a tour in 2009, but was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, causing those plans to be cancelled. Sadly, while undergoing preparations for Hepatitis C treatment, DeVille’s doctors discovered he also had pancreatic cancer. Willy DeVille succumbed to his illnesses on August 6, 2009. To read more about Willy DeVille, please visit his official site.
Sources: WillyDeVilleMusic.com, Wikipedia, AllMusic