It made sense if you never saw them, since they were a house band at the place that many writers argue was the cradle of punk. However, their sound was more closer to Springsteen than it was to The Ramones. Mink Deville was a band that reimagined the sound of the 1950s. There were all the elements of the 1950s and early 1960s rock in their sound. Dion, Ben E. King and a little bit of rockabilly mixed in, fueled a fresh yet retro sound. The band Blondie was actually doing the same thing on their first two records but no one seemed to be able to look past the stage persona of Debbie Harry back then.
Mink Deville was one of the coolest bands of the late 1970s. The group was fronted by Willy Deville. In essence, Mink Deville was Willy Deville. The artist wrote all the songs and sang lead on every track. The name of the band actually used to confuse some people. Some actually thought that Mink Deville and Willy Deville were brothers. Nonetheless, the eight years period when Willy Deville recorded albums and fronted his band as Mink Deville stands as a unique time in Willy Deville’s musical career. After the release of the last Mink Deville album in 1985, Willy Deville began releasing albums under his own name. With that, his sound evolved and a new musical era had begun for the gifted artist.
Our top 10 Mink Deville songs list will cover the period from 1977 to 1985 when all the records were released under the Mink Deville name. We will cover Willy Deville’s second half of his career in another article. Sadly, Willy Deville passed away in 2009.
# 10 – Maybe Tomorrow
We open our Top 10 Mink Deville songs list with a great track from the critically heralded Coup De Grace album. Some will argue that this album was Willy Deville’s greatest artistic moment. The album was recorded in France in 1979. For anyone who has ever visited the city of Paris or any of the other breathtaking parts of France, one can not help but be inspired by the poetic cinematic landscapes and culture of France. Willy Deville’s surroundings in France played a significant role in the outcome of this breathtaking album.
# 9 – Just Your Friends
In 1978, Mink DeVille released the fabulous Return to Magenta album. Although critics were not kind to the record, we always thought it was a brilliant album and a fabulous testament to so many various styles of rock and roll. It was a romantic street album filled with great songs and mesmerizing vocals by Willy Deville. The wonderful song “Just Your Friends,” opened up the album’s second side. The song was written by Willy DeVille and Jack Nitzsche.
# 8 – She’s So Tough
The classic track “She’s So Tough,” was released on Mink Deville’s debut album in 1977. In the United States, the album was titled as simply Mink Deville. In the United Kingdom, the album was titled Cabretta. This is one of the coolest songs ever released by Mink DeVille
# 7 – Italian Shoes
The Mink Deville song “Italian Shoes,” was released on the final Mink Deville album entitled Sportin’ Life. The album was released in 1985. The song “Italian Shoes,” had commercial success in Europe but was barely noticed in the United States. In 1985, the music of Prince, Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Hall and Oates, and hair metal bands like Whitesnake, Ratt, Def Leppard,etc… so dominated the airwaves, a band like Mink Deville had little chance of getting anything played on the radio or even MTV in the United States during that time period.
# 6 – This Must Be The Night
“This Must Be The Night,” was released on the Le Chat Bleu album. The record was released in 1980. If you can’t already tell from the name, the album was recorded in Paris, France. It was an album that Willy Deville was very proud of. The only problem was Capitol Records in the U.S. hated the record and shelved it. Capitol then dropped Mink Deville from the label. However, EMI in Europe released the album and it became a big hit. The success of the album in Europe resulted in Mink Deville being signed by Atlantic Records in the U.S.
# 5 – Love and Emotion
Continuing with our top 10 Mink Deville songs list we turn to the Coup de Grâce album. The record was released in 1981. By the time the album was being recorded, there were no members left in the group from the original Mink Deville unit with the exception of course of Willy Deville. On an album of standout tracks, “Love and Emotion,” has always been one of our favorites.
# 4 – Each Word’s a Beat of My Heart
As we close in on the number one spot on this top 10 Mink Deville songs list, we can’t ignore the band’s wonderful album Where Angels Fear to Tread. It’s actually not really a band anymore as no one from the original group was on the record. It’s all Willy Deville and studio musicians at this point. Nonetheless, the results were stunning. The killer track “Each Word’s a Beat of My Heart,” was the album’s great single that did break the Billboard Top 100 in the United States in 1983.
# 3 – Cadillac Walk
The next two Mink Deville songs on this top 10 Mink Deville songs list both stem from the band’s great debut album Cabretta. The classic track “Cadillac Walk,” was written by John Martin who would gain recognition as the composer behind Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love.””Cadillac Walk,” was a perfect song for the band to cover defining in one song so many of the genes that the band crossed in their music.
# 2 – Spanish Stroll
“Spanish Stroll,” was Mink Devilles first hit record. The song was released on their debut album in 1977. The song was a top 20 hit in the United Kingdom. The song “Spanish Stroll,” was written by Willy Deville and produced by Jack Nitzsche.
# 1 – Guardian Angel
We close out our top 10 Mink DeVille songs list with the great opening track to the band’s second album. The record entitled Return to Magenta was released in 1978. The album was the first to feature strings that gave the record a wonderful cinematic quality. The beautiful song “Guardian Angel,” was an unheralded gem that somehow was overlooked by critics and the rest of the music industry. Since the first time we heard it in 1978, it has always been our favorite Mink Deville song.
Updated August 10, 2023
Top 10 Mink DeVille Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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