Tom 'T-Bone' Wolk: Bass player and multi-instrumentalist known as 'the ampersand' in Hall & Oates

The multi-instrumentalist Tom "T-Bone" Wolk used to joke that he was best known for being "that guy with the hat" who played bass with the American soul duo Hall & Oates. Having joined them in 1981, just after they completed the Private Eyes album, he appeared in the video for the title track and became their longest-serving collaborator.

He provided the driving bass on their 1982 US chart-topper "Maneater", served as musical director and arranger, and co-produced the albums Ooh Yeah! (1988), Change of Season (1990), Our Kind of Soul (2004) and Home for Christmas (2006), as well as Daryl Hall's second solo album, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine (1986). Indeed, Wolk was such an integral part of the partnership both on stage and in the studio that Hall called him "the ampersand" in Hall & Oates.

Over the past three decades, Wolk was also an in-demand sideman on guitar, accordion, mandolin, mandocello, dulcimer and keyboards as well as bass, and made significant contributions to albums by, among others, Roseanne Cash, Shawn Colvin, Elvis Costello, Jewel, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Bette Midler, Harry Nilsson, Robert Palmer and Squeeze. Between 1986 and 1992, Wolk was a member of the Saturday Night Live house band led by the Hall & Oates guitarist G.E. Smith, and fulfilled many of his teenage dreams by backing musicians like Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson of The Band when they appeared on the satirical topical show.

Born in 1951 in Yonkers, New York state, he belonged to that generation whose lives and aspirations changed when the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Wolk, who played accordion as a child and had won a state-wide championship on the instrument the previous year, nagged his father until he bought him an electric guitar.

In his teens he played in various garage bands. After high school, he enrolled at Cooper Union school of art in New York, but dropped out to concentrate on gigging with Billy Vera, Lonnie Mack and Judy Collins, as well as recording advertising jingles. He also wrote a manual, Rock Riffs for Bass (1978). In 1980, he provided the distinctive bass line on "The Breaks" by hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow, which sold half a million copies. The following year, he successfully auditioned for Hall & Oates and played on such hits as "One on one", "Family man", "Say it isn't so", "Adult education", "Out of touch" and "Method of modern love", as well as the multi-million-selling albums HO (1982) and Big Bam Boom (1984). Wolk played guitar on Carly Simon's hit "Coming around again" and often worked with her, most notably as musical director on her Live From Martha's Vineyard HBO special in 1987.

On his website, Elvis Costello paid tribute to Wolk, who died of a heart attack: "One of T-Bone's most endearing qualities was the way in which he retained the perspective of the fan and student while being a master of his instruments. If you mentioned, say, Rick Danko or Paul McCartney with regard to the approach to a song, he could joyfully incorporate something of their style in his part, while remaining utterly his own man."

Pierre Perrone

Thomas Wolk, musician, producer, songwriter: born Yonkers, New York 24 December 1951; died New York 27 February 2010.



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there