Patty Donahue

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Unknowingly or not, many radio stations pay their respects to the late Patty Donahue every December. It is during this time that DJs often wipe the dust from the Waitresses' 1981 yuletide classic "Christmas…
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Unknowingly or not, many radio stations pay their respects to the late Patty Donahue every December. It is during this time that DJs often wipe the dust from the Waitresses' 1981 yuletide classic "Christmas Wrapping," wherein Donahue sings blithely about finding love while shopping for turkey. Although the Waitresses' songs were written by guitarist Chris Butler, Donahue's droll, seemingly innocuous vocals gave Butler's feminist lyrical perspective much authenticity. Donahue was able to express a woman's inner strength without having to yell, a quality shared by '90s female singers such as Liz Phair, Juliana Hatfield, and Ani DiFranco. Originally calling herself Patty Darling, Donahue provided the vocals for a Waitresses track when the group was merely Butler's side project. She also appeared on Alice Cooper's Zipper Catches Skin LP. After dropping out of college, Donahue was asked to front the Waitresses because Butler needed to fulfill Antilles Records' request for a tour after hearing his demo for "I Know What Boys Like." Donahue recorded two albums with the Waitresses, Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? and Bruiseology. During the Bruiseology sessions, personal differences ripped the band apart. Donahue quit the group before the album was finished; Tracy Wormworth (bass) initially sang the title track, but Donahue did return to complete the song. After the disintegration of the Waitresses, Donahue landed an A&R job; no longer performing, she instead invested her time in discovering young talent. On December 9, 1996, Donahue passed away from lung cancer at the age of 40.