Winger Biography

This melodic US AOR/hard rock act was formed by experienced session musicians Kip Winger (22 May 1961; bass, vocals) and Paul Taylor (keyboards, guitar) following their work together on Alice Cooper’s Constrictor tour. Enlisting lead guitarist Reb Beach and drummer Rod Morgenstein (ex-Dixie Dregs), the quartet chose the name Sahara, but were forced to change to Winger at the last moment - the original name still appeared on a corner of the debut sleeve. Winger proved to be an immediate success, producing US Top 30 singles in ‘Seventeen’ (number 26, February 1989) and ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’ (number 19, June 1989), while the vocalist’s rugged good looks turned him into a major sex symbol. This rather worked against the band in press terms, and Winger were never really taken seriously by the UK rock press in particular, despite abilities which kept them in demand for musician-type magazines and a genuinely impressive debut. In The Heart Of The Young consolidated Winger’s US success, producing another enormous hit in ‘Miles Away’ (number 12, October 1990), and the band were well received on their debut European shows, but the heavy touring schedule proved too much for Taylor, who subsequently departed, later working with Steve Perry. The band adopted a heavier approach on the commendable Pull to compensate for the lack of keyboards, recruiting a second touring guitarist in John Roth, but were unable to swim against the grunge tide to emulate their earlier successes. After a lengthy US club tour, the band was put on ice while Winger pursued a solo career, debuting with Made By Hand in 1998. They re-formed following the release of a greatest hits album in 2001.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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