Patty Donahue

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Patty Donahue
Patty Donahue (1956-1996) onstage 1982.jpg
Patty Donahue onstage, 1982
Background information
Birth namePatricia Jean Donahue
Born(1956-03-29)March 29, 1956
OriginCleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedDecember 9, 1996(1996-12-09) (aged 40)
New York, New York, U.S.
GenresNew wave
Years active1978-1996
Associated actsThe Waitresses

Patricia Jean "Patty" Donahue (March 29, 1956 – December 9, 1996) was the lead singer of the 1980s new wave group The Waitresses.


Donahue was a graduate of Kent State University.[1] In her early 20s, prior to singing with the band, she did work as a waitress.[1]

Although Chris Butler was the leader and songwriter, fans and music journalists often singled out Donahue as the band's primary asset. Butler wrote the lyrics but, as Rolling Stone asserted, "Donahue is no pop-band puppet",[1] she rejected the notion that she was simply singing another person's words: "I'm relating my experiences too" she told an interviewer; "He wrote the songs but I'm not just singing what he feels".[1]

During the recording of the second and final Waitresses' album Bruiseology, Donahue left the band and was replaced by Holly Beth Vincent. Donahue rejoined afterward.[2] After The Waitresses broke up, Donahue generally kept a low profile, though she is credited on Alice Cooper's Zipper Catches Skin with "vocals and sarcasm." She later worked for ABC in the Political Unit and then at MCA in the A&R department.


A flat gravestone with a bouquet of roses
Grave of Patty Donahue and her mother Joan

On December 9, 1996, Donahue, who had been a heavy smoker most of her adult life, died of lung cancer at the age of 40. A native of Cleveland, Donahue was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery, in nearby Brook Park.


  1. ^ a b c d Fricke, David (May 6, 1982). "Waitresses Finally Get Some Tips". Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. Rolling Stone. p. 61. Retrieved April 4, 2019 – via open access
  2. ^ Talevski, Nick (2007). Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries. Omnibus Press. p. 137. ISBN 1-84609-091-1.


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