The Waitresses were a pop-rock band from Akron, Ohio that was formed by guitarist\songwriter Chris Butler (born Christopher Butler on May 22, 1949 in Ohio)
The original line-up of the band consisted of lead singer Patty Donahue (born Patricia Jean Donahue on March 29, 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio), jazz saxophonist Mars Williams (born on May 29, 1955 in Elmhurst, Illinois), drummer Billy Ficca (born William Joseph Ficca on February 15, 1950 in Delaware), keyboardist Dan Klayman, bassist Dave Hofstra and back-up singer Ariel Warner.
Chris formed the band in 1977 as a side project to his main work, playing in bands such as Tin Huey & the Numbers Band around the Akron area. In 1978, he wrote the song “I Know What Boys Like”. While forming the band, he enlisted Patty Donahue to sing a few of his songs at Tin Huey Shows.
Chris later relocated to New York City where he shopped around “I Know What Boys Like” which landed him a record deal at ZE Records. The song was released a single in 1980, but it didn’t make the charts. After Chris put the band together, they played in their debut concert on New Year’s Eve.
In January of 1982, the Waitresses released their debut album “Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?” which managed to peak at #41 on the Billboard 200 chart.
During the recording of the album, Ariel Warner left the band due to stage fright while David Hofstra left before the Waitresses’ debut album was released and he was replaced by Tracy Wormworth.
“I Know What Boys Like” became their biggest (and one of their well-known) hit songs to date, peaking at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100, #23 on Billboard’s Top Tracks chart and #74 on the Cash Box singles chart. It also managed to chart in Australia (at #14) in 1982.
In November of that same year, the band released the EP “I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts.”
One of the tracks from the EP “Square Pegs” became the theme song of the short-lived 1982-83 TV series “Square Pegs” (that starred actress Sarah Jessica Parker) and the band even appeared in the pilot episode of the series.
Another one of the Waitresses’ song “Christmas Wrapping” (which was originally featured on ZE Records’ holiday compliation album ” A Christmas Record” in 1981) managed to peak at #45 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The song received positive reception from critics and has been described as one of “the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded” (according to AllMusic.com).
In May of 1983, the Waitresses released their sophomore album “Bruiseology” which failed to make any impact on the charts at all.
The two singles released from the album “Make the Weather” and “Bread and Butter” also failed to make any impact on the charts as well.
In the summer of 1984, Patty Donahue left the band and was briefly replaced by singer Holly Beth Vincent (born in Chicago, Illinois), but Holly Beth ended up leaving the band two weeks later & Patty returned to the band. By late 1984, the Waitresses had disbanded.
These days, Chris Butler continues to work in the music business as a producer along with playing in various bands.
After the Waitresses’ disbanded, lead singer Patty Donahue went on to work for ABC in the Political Unit and then worked in the A&R department at MCA. On December 9, 1996, she died of lung cancer at the age of 40.
The other past members of the band have or currently work in the music business, working on various projects.
To see the music video for “I Know What Boys Like,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “Christmas Wrapping,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “Square Pegs,” go to:
To see the music video for “Make the Weather,” go to: