Wagner, Dick

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Wagner, Dick Gender: M
Richard Allen Wagner
born on 14 December 1942 at 10:50 (= 10:50 AM )
Place Oelwein, Iowa, 42n40, 91w55
Timezone CWT h5w (is war time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 22°02' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 21°02 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 25°32'


American rock music guitarist, songwriter and author best known for his work with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, and Kiss. He also fronted his own Michigan-based bands, The Bossmen (1960s) and The Frost (1968-1970). One of the best-known songs written by Wagner is "Only Women Bleed" (1975).

His first band, called the Bossmen, was a favorite in the Detroit area and scored radio play with the Wagner-penned composition "Baby Boy", "You're the Girl for Me" and others. Wagner formed his next band, the Frost, with Donny Hartman, Bobby Rigg and Gordy Garris, in the late 1960s and built up a substantial following in the Michigan area. The band featured the dual lead guitars of Wagner and Hartman. The band released three albums during their tenure together on Vanguard Records, Frost Music and Rock and Roll Music (both 1969), plus Through the Eyes of Love (1970). Wagner was the principal songwriter, arranger and lead singer of The Frost. Their live appearances brought out large crowds of young fans throughout the region.

In 1972, Wagner moved to New York and formed the short-lived group "Ursa Major". The original line-up included Billy Joel on keyboards and Rick Mangone on drums. As Billy Joel had to leave the band for personal reasons, Wagner replaced him with former Amboy Dukes bassist Greg Arama. They released one seminal, acclaimed self-titled album as a power trio. The band toured nationally with Jeff Beck and then with Alice Cooper.

In 1973, Wagner was recruited by producer Bob Ezrin for Lou Reed's band along with Steve Hunter. Wagner and Hunter were featured guitarists on Lou Reed's dark and controversial 1973 studio album, Berlin. Soon after, Wagner and Hunter were joined by Prakash John, Pentti "Whitey" Glan and Ray Colcord for Lou Reed's Rock 'n' Roll Animal Tour. As band leader and arranger, Wagner took the early Lou Reed songs that had been recorded by the Velvet Underground and rearranged them for the concert stage. The new arrangements left behind the laid back feeling that had been established by the prior Reed band and won Reed his first gold album. The band toured internationally with Reed, culminating in the Rock 'n' Roll Animal album, recorded live at the New York Academy of Music in December 1973.

Wagner had already been featured on the Alice Cooper band's School's Out album, notably for playing the memorable guitar solo on the track "My Stars". Wagner continued to play lead guitar (sometimes uncredited) on every Alice Cooper Group album that followed, through the break up of the original group.

When the members of the original Alice Cooper group parted ways in 1974, Wagner officially teamed up with Cooper and became his principal co-writer, lead guitarist and band director. Together they wrote their first concept album, Welcome to My Nightmare, released in 1975. The Nightmare Tour became the largest and longest touring rock show of the time. The live show also featured the dueling lead guitars of Wagner and Steve Hunter in a guitar battle captured in the film of the same name. The film became a TV special and was later released on home video in 1976. The world tour covered more than 120 cities over an eighteen-month period. Wagner continued to co-write songs and play lead guitar on additional Cooper albums.

Wagner contributed guitar tracks to the highly successful 1976 Kiss album Destroyer – the first Kiss album to prominently feature outside musicians. Though uncredited, Wagner replaced Ace Frehley as lead guitarist for the tracks "Flaming Youth" and "Sweet Pain", while also playing the acoustic guitar found on the ballad "Beth".

Wagner produced and co-wrote songs for Mark Farner's solo début and a pair of albums for the star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry.

In 2007, Wagner suffered a massive heart attack and stroke. He spent two weeks in a coma, awakening with a paralyzed left arm. While recovering from his heart attack, Wagner continued to write songs and began writing his memoirs, which ultimately became his book, Not Only Women Bleed.

In 2011, Wagner was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), a type of dementia which affects, among other things, fine motor skills and gait. In late 2011, after successful surgery at Barrow Neurological Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, Wagner was able to make a significant recovery, regaining almost all of the dexterity which had been lost over the course of the disorder's progression.

In 2012, Wagner's memoirs, Not Only Women Bleed, Vignettes from the Heart of a Rock Musician, were released to tremendous acclaim, spending more than two weeks at No. 1 on Amazon.com's Hot New Releases in Biographies & Memoirs of Entertainers. His book has won five international book awards.

His book tour for Not Only Women Bleed took him to more than 40 states. Wagner died on 30 July 2014 of respiratory failure at the age of 71.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Cooper, Alice (born 4 February 1948). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Curry, Tim (born 19 April 1946). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Joel, Billy (born 9 May 1949). Notes: Members of Ursa Major
  • associate relationship with Reed, Lou (born 2 March 1942). Notes: Music collaborators


  • Health : Acute illness 2007 (Massive heart attack and stroke)
  • Health : Medical diagnosis 2011 (Normal pressure hydrocephalus)
  • Health : Medical procedure 2011 (Successful surgery for NPH)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 2012 (Memoir, "Not Only Women Bleed")
  • Death by Disease 30 July 2014 (Respiratory failure, age 71)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Birth certificate in hand from Sy Scholfield, copy on file.


  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Heart disease/attack
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Stroke
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Other Major diseases (Normal pressure hydrocephalus)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work (Concert tours)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Live Stage (Concerts)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Composer/ Arranger
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Group/ Duo (The Frost; The Bossmen)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Guitarist)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Song writer
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Other Entertain/Music (Producer)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer (Memoir, "Not Only Women Bleed")