Dwight Twilley’s fourth solo album, and sixth release overall, Wild Dogs is a brilliant pop/rock album that never got a fair chance — until now. Twilley achieved a long-awaited breakthrough in 1984 when his single “Girls” (featuring his one-time Shelter labelmate and friend Tom Petty on support vocals) hit the Top 20. Parent album Jungle went Top 40. The stage was set for Twilley’s next album to put him over the top. Filled with inspiration and confidence, Dwight wrote one of his strongest, most commercial and most consistent batches of new songs for the album that would become Wild Dogs. Hit producer Val Garay (Linda Ronstadt, Kim Carnes, The Motels) was onboard, along with Twilley regulars Bill Pitcock IV (guitar), Susan Cowsill (harmony vocals) and a guest appearance from his Dwight Twilley Band partner Phil Seymour (backing vocals).
Twilley even had a new label strongly behind him, helmed by one of the top indie radio promoters of the era. But it all came crashing down when his label head was implicated in a major payola scandal (read Fredric Dannen’s book Hit Men) and the label collapsed on the eve of Wild Dogs‘ 1986 release. As Dwight ruefully put it, “He was later cleared from charges. Wild Dogs wasn’t.” Twilley was punted over to CBS Associated Records and Wild Dogs given a token release. But there was no music video, little promotion, not even a CD pressing, and Wild Dogs sank without a trace.
If ever an artist and album deserved better, it’s this one. For its first-ever CD release, Iconoclassic Records presents the original Wild Dogs album remastered, plus 9 bonus tracks that not only double the disc’s length but present Dwight’s original demos for the album. Longtime Twilley art director Zox has contributed never-before-seen photos from the cover shoot, and power pop authority Ken Sharp’s liner notes are based on 2022 interviews with Dwight Twilley, Val Garay, Susan Cowsill and Zox.
36 years after its botched original release, Wild Dogs finally gets the treatment it has always deserved. If you enjoy melodic, lush, dreamy, heartfelt, fun and playful pop/rock songwriting, any of Dwight Twilley’s previous records, or the mid-’80s music of Tom Petty, Lindsey Buckingham, Jeff Lynne or Marshall Crenshaw, you’re going to LOVE Wild Dogs.