Top 40 radio developed a brief crush on Danny Wilson in the late ’80s. Formed in Dundee, Scotland, Danny Wilson shared the same pop sensibilities as compatriots the Big Dish, the Blue Nile, and Deacon Blue. Singer Gary Clark‘s breathy, yearning vocals on 1987’s ‘Mary’s Prayer’ earned the group its first — and only — hit stateside, but the band slowly amassed a cult following that usually develops with artists possessing timeless songwriting abilities. Formed by Clark, his brother Kit Clark, and percussionist Ged Grimes, Danny Wilson was signed to Virgin Records in 1985. Two years later, the group released their debut LP, Meet Danny Wilson. The single ‘Mary’s Prayer’ peaked at number three in the U.K. in 1988, and it was a surprise success in America as well.
Named after the 1952 Frank Sinatra film Meet Danny Wilson, Danny Wilson was obviously enamored of ’60s soul and Steely Dan‘s cool, sophisticated arrangements. Consequently, the band’s retro sound never fit in with the U.K. rock scene of the late ’80s, although they were often compared to Prefab Sprout, another group that defied contemporary trends and featured a singer with a velvety voice. ‘Second Summer of Love’ also landed on the British charts in 1989; however, after their follow-up album Bebop Moptop, Danny Wilson broke up and Gary Clark went solo.
In 1993, Clark recorded Ten Short Songs About Love. He then formed the short-lived King L, releasing Great Day for Gravity in 1995. Clark joined former King L member Eric Pressly (bass) and female singer Keeley Hawkes in Transister, creating a completely different sound with hard-edged guitars and samples on their 1997 self-titled album. But, by 2000, he was no longer with them. In 2001, Clark co-wrote and produced tracks on Natalie Imbruglia‘s White Lilies Island.