W. G. Snuffy Walden

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W. G. Snuffy Walden
W. G. Snuffy Walden 06-11-2016 -7 (27688658501) (cropped).jpg
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Garrett Walden
Also known asSnuffy Walden, W. G. Walden
Born (1950-02-13) February 13, 1950 (age 70)
Genres Instrumental
Years active1973–present
Associated acts Stray Dog
The Eric Burdon Band
Website www.snuffywalden.com

William Garrett Walden, known as W. G. Snuffy Walden (born February 13, 1950), is an American musician and composer of film and television soundtracks. Walden is an Emmy Award winner for the theme music to The West Wing (NBC), [1] has been nominated for numerous Emmys throughout his career, and has received 26 BMI Awards. [2] [3]


Early life

Walden was born in Louisiana on February 13, 1950, and raised in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston in 1967. In college he studied science and math, and he put himself through school working on a late-night radio show at KRBE in Houston and playing guitar in a strip club. [4]

Walden's middle name was his mother's maiden name, and this was the origin of his nickname. Members of his mother's family had sometimes been called Snuffy after the Southern snuff manufacturer Levi Garrett. His family and schoolmates addressed him as Garrett, but Snuffy began to stick when he was away at summer camp and the name was preferred by fellow musicians as his career began. [5]

Musical career

In the late 1960s, Walden dropped out of school, quit his job, and devoted his energies to the guitar full-time, picking up a bass player (Al Roberts) and drummer (Randy Reeder) to form a three-piece band named Aphrodite. They started touring and wound up in Denver, playing local clubs and opening for acts like Buddy Miles. It was in Denver that Emerson, Lake & Palmer's manager, Neville Chesters, saw them in a club and offered them a recording contract with ELP's label, Manticore. In 1972, the group moved to England and was reformed, keeping Al Roberts and changing the name to Stray Dog. There, they were signed to Manticore and Greg Lake produced three songs from their first album Stray Dog. The new group toured with ELP as the opening act, but never really took flight, and eventually folded. Following the breakup of the band, Walden supplanted the ailing Paul Kossoff by providing guitar tracks for Free's final album Heartbreaker, which was released in 1973 (Walden plays on 'Common Mortal Man', 'Easy on My Soul' and 'Seven Angels'). He also played electric guitar in 1973, on the debut solo album Still by King Crimson lyricist, Peter Sinfield. In 1975, he joined The Eric Burdon Band and performed with them for a year. [2] [4]

In 1975, Walden moved to Los Angeles and spent the rest of the decade performing as a solo artist and supporting artists such as Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, and Eric Burdon. Notably, in 1975-6 he again filled in for Paul Kossoff as a session musician on Back Street Crawler's Second Street album. By the mid-1980s, television agents and producers became aware of Walden through his local performances in Santa Monica. When approached to score a new television show, Walden had mixed feelings but accepted the offer. "I could see the handwriting on the wall for touring," he would later remember, "and it wasn't pretty. I kept envisioning Holiday Inn at age 60." The television show he was hired for was thirtysomething , which turned out to be a major hit television series and dramatically altered Walden's music career. [2] [4]

Following his success as a touring and session musician and an Emmy nomination for the "Theme from Thirtysomething", [6] Walden scored numerous television series, including Roseanne , Ellen , My So-Called Life , Felicity , Early Edition , Sports Night , The West Wing , George Lopez , I'll Fly Away , The Stand , Huff , Once and Again , Friday Night Lights and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip . [7]

In the summer of 2001, Walden released a solo album of mainly acoustic guitar pieces titled Music by... W. G. Snuffy Walden. The album included expanded or full versions of many of Walden's themes, such as "Once and Again", "Eugene's Ragtop", "Thirtysomething (Revisited)", and "West Wing Suite". [3]

In July 2002, Tom Guerra conducted a comprehensive interview of Walden for Vintage Guitar Magazine. [4] [8] In April 2008, Stephen J. Abramson interviewed Walden for a four-hour, multi-part video series for the Television Academy. [9]

In March 2018, Up to Snuff , a documentary film about Walden's career, [10] won the documentary competition in its premier at the Pasadena International Film Festival. [11] [12]

In September 2018, Walden starred in a 1950s style cover of Africa by Toto along with the musical collective Postmodern Jukebox on YouTube. [13]

Awards and nominations




BMI Awards


Solo albums

Stray Dog albums

Compilation albums


YearTitleTypeRole / notesSource
1979Laverne & Shirley: The Fourth Annual Shotz Talent Show Episodeguitarist [7]
1987 thirtysomething TV seriesEmmy nomination [1]
1988WinnieFilmcomposer (score) [7]
19881993 The Wonder Years TV seriesmusic by, theme composer [33]
1989 Roe vs. Wade TV moviecomposer (score) [7]
1990 The Outsiders TV series
1990 Working Girl TV series
1990Burning BridgesFilmcomposer (score) [7]
1990Guess Who's Coming for Christmas?Film
1991The ChaseFilmcomposer (score) [7]
1991Shoot First: A Cop's VengeanceFilmcomposer (score) [7]
1992 Leaving Normal Filmcomposer (score) [7]
19911992 I'll Fly Away TV seriesEmmy nomination [1]
1992 Crossroads TV series
1992Wild CardFilmcomposer (score) [7] [34]
1992 The Jackie Thomas Show TV series
1992The Good FightFilmcomposer (score) [7]
1993 A Place to Be Loved Film
1993 I'll Fly Away TV series
19931997 Roseanne TV seriesmusic by, theme composer [33]
1994Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd StoryFilmmusic by [35]
1994 Tom TV series
1994 The Stand miniseriesEmmy nomination [1]
1994 Sweet Justice TV series
19941998 Ellen TV seriesmusical score [33]
1995HomageFilmcomposer (score) [7]
19941995 My So-Called Life TV seriesEmmy nomination [1]
1995 The Monroes TV series
1996 A Friend's Betrayal Film
1996 Homecoming Filmcomposer (score) [7]
1996 Ink TV series
19961997 Relativity TV series
19961998 Early Edition TV seriesEmmy nomination [1]
1997 413 Hope St. TV series
1998 Maggie Winters TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
19981999 Cupid TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
19982000 Sports Night TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
19982002 Felicity TV seriesEmmy nomination [1]
19982003 The Drew Carey Show TV seriesmusic by [36]
1999 Norm TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
19992001 It's Like, You Know... TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
19992001 Providence TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
19992002 Once and Again TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2000 The $treet TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2001 Rock & Roll Back to School Special Film
2001 Three Sisters TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2002 George Lopez TV seriesmusic composer [37]
2002 Hidden Hills TV series
2003 Mister Sterling TV series
2003 The Brotherhood of Poland TV series
2003 The Lyon's Den TV series
2003 Boomtown TV series
2003 Miracles TV seriesEmmy nomination [1]
2005, 2008 Quarterlife Filmmusic composer [38]
20052007 The War at Home TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2005 Surface TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2006 The Book of Daniel TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
19992006 The West Wing TV seriesEmmy award [1]
2006 Huff TV seriesEmmy nomination [1]
20062007 Kidnapped TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2007 Heartland TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
20062007 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
20082009 Lipstick Jungle TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2008 In Plain Sight TV seriescomposer (score) [7]
2009A MarriageFilmcomposer (score) [38]
2009 The Beast TV seriescomposer (score) [38]
2009 Hawthorne TV seriescomposer (score) [38]
20092010 Men of a Certain Age TV seriescomposer (score) [38]
2010 Huge TV seriescomposer (score) [38]
2011In the Key of EliFilmcomposer (score) [38]
2011Serving LiveFilmcomposer (score) [7]
2011 Friday Night Lights TV seriescomposer (score) [38]
2011 A Gifted Man TV seriescomposer (score) [38]
2012 Stetson, Street Dog of Park City Filmcomposer (score) [39]
20132015 Under the Dome TV seriesmusic by [40]
20122013 Nashville TV seriesmusic by [41]
2014Guilt By AssociationFilmcomposer (score) [38]
2017Seal TeamTV seriesmusic by [42]
2018Up To SnuffFilmmusic by [11]

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