The Waitresses released “I Know What Boys Like” in 1980; however, it didn’t chart until 1982, when it peaked at #62 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song was a cult sensation and featured on their debut album, Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?
The Waitresses got their start on the Akron/Cleveland music scene.
Chris Butler was the leader of The Waitresses and wrote most of their songs from a female perspective, because he found it funny and stupid and cool and different. In 2005, he unknowingly bought the childhood home of Jeffrey Dahmer. He had originally written “I Know What Boys Like” and recorded all the instruments for the track, before asking his friend Patty Donahue to record the vocals as Patty Darling. He borrowed the name The Waitresses from a favorite t-shirt of a friend. After settling into New York, Butler scored a record deal with “I Know What Boys Like” and scrambled to find members for his imaginary band.
Patty Donahue was the lead singer for The Waitresses. She quite the band in 1984, then returned until the band broke up at the end of that year. Afterwards, she worked for ABC in the Political Unit and the A&R department at MCA Records. She died of lung cancer in 1996.
Drummer Billy Ficca also played drums for legendary punk band Television, Nona Hendryx & Zero Cool, among many other bands.
Saxophonist Mars Williams went on to play with The Psychedelic Furs, Billy Idol, Robert Palmer, Billy Squier, Power Station, Ministry, and many others.
Bass guitarist Tracy Wormworth went on to tour with The B-52s for 20 years. She was also a member of the house band on the Rosie O’Donnell Show.
I Know What Boys Like 3’11
I Know What Boys Like 3’20
The music video showcases The Waitresses performing “I Know What Boys Like” in a studio, with some animated segments. Lead singer Patty Donahue flirts playfully with the camera, while the rest of the band provides additional comic relief. The video seems amateur by today’s standards; however, it has a certain charm reminiscent of the early days of MTV that I miss so much.
“I Know What Boys Like” by The Waitresses reminds me of my older sister, Vicki. She played the radio as she put her makeup on in the morning before school and when she got ready to go out for the weekend, as well as giving me a lift to school. I always enjoyed the catchy guitar riff and the monotonous melody of this song, not mention the wicked sense of humor. I was still fairly naive, so I’m not sure I really understood what boys liked yet.
What are your memories of “I Know What Boys Like” by The Waitresses?