Obituary

Mars Williams, Psychedelic Furs and Waitresses Saxophonist, Dies at 68

The influential musician died after a battle with ampullary cancer.

November 22, 2023

Chicago, IllinoisMars Williams, the renowned saxophonist who played with the Psychedelic Furs and the Waitresses, died on Monday at the age of 68. He had been diagnosed with ampullary cancer in December 2022.

Williams was born in Elmhurst, Illinois, in 1955. He began playing the clarinet as a child and switched to the saxophone in his teens. He was influenced by jazz greats like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, but he also loved new wave and punk rock.

Williams’ first major break came in 1980 when he joined the Waitresses, a new wave band from Buffalo, New York. He played on the band’s two albums, “Waitress” and “Bruiseology,” which featured such hit singles as “Christmas Wrapping” and “I Know What Boys Like.”

In 1984, Williams joined the Psychedelic Furs, a British rock band that had already achieved success with their debut album, “The Psychedelic Furs.” He played on the band’s next four albums, including the hits “Love My Way” and “Pretty in Pink.”

Williams continued to work with both bands throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He also released several solo albums and collaborated with a variety of other musicians, including Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, and the Violent Femmes.

Williams was a versatile and innovative saxophonist who helped to define the sound of new wave and punk rock. His death is a major loss for the music world.

Here are some of the key moments in Mars Williams’ career:

  • Born in Elmhurst, Illinois, in 1955
  • Begins playing the clarinet as a child, switches to the saxophone in his teens
  • Influenced by jazz greats like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, as well as new wave and punk rock
  • Joins the Waitresses in 1980, plays on the band’s two albums “Waitress” and “Bruiseology”
  • Joins the Psychedelic Furs in 1984, plays on the band’s next four albums
  • Releases several solo albums and collaborates with a variety of other musicians
  • Dies on November 20, 2023, at the age of 68

FAQ:

Q: What was Mars Williams’ cause of death?

A: Williams died of ampullary cancer, a rare form of cancer that affects the digestive system.

Q: What bands did Mars Williams play with?

A: Williams played with the Waitresses and the Psychedelic Furs. He also released several solo albums and collaborated with a variety of other musicians.

Q: What are some of Mars Williams’ most notable contributions to music?

A: Williams’ saxophone playing was a key part of the sound of the Waitresses and the Psychedelic Furs. He also helped to popularize the use of saxophone in new wave and punk rock music.

Q: How can I learn more about Mars Williams?

A: There are a number of resources available to learn more about Mars Williams. You can visit his website, read his biography, or listen to his music.

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