The Aussie pop world – and plenty of former 1980s teens – are mourning today, following the upsetting news that Wa Wa Nee frontman Paul Gray has suddenly passed away, aged just 54.
The star, whose battle with myeloma was not widely known by fans, will be remembered for a string of hits from the mid to late eighties.
Wa Wa Nee were a massive sensation when they broke through the Aussie music scene in 1986. With local music then dominated by pub rock sounds, they went against the grain with dance and funk-spired hits like Stimulation (which reached number 2) and I Could Make You Love Me (which hit number 5).
American success followed, with their Aussie top 10 favourite, Sugar Free, breaking into the US top 40 - a task few other Australian bands of the time achieved.
Their sometimes sexually-charged image created a stir, when the very raunchy video for So Good was briefly pulled from Richard Wilkins’ late night MTV show for its hearty embrace of nudity.
After the band’s chart success faded, Paul continued to work very successfully behind the scenes of the music industry, with such names as Tina Arena, Kate Ceberano and reality TV sensations, Bardot. He recently toured with Belinda Carlisle, with fans lapping up his retro hits.
RIP Paul, thanks for the good times.