Wet Willie is an American band from Mobile, Alabama, U.S. They were best known for their hit "Keep On Smilin'", but had a number of charted songs in the 1970s utilizing their soulful brand of Southern rock.
Drummer Lewis Ross assembled the musicians for a group called "Fox" in the summer of 1969, which a year later became known as "Wet Willie". Wet Willie was a versatile, high-energy Southern rock band that, from 1971 until 1978, produced an array of albums awash in good-time music, rollicking high-energy blues-rock, and white Southern soul, but racked up just one Top Ten hit and a lot of admirers.
The core members of the band during that period were Jimmy Hall, vocals, harmonica, saxophone; Jimmy's brother Jack Hall on bass; John Anthony on keyboards; Ricky Hirsch on guitar, and Lewis Ross on drums and percussion. The duo of girls singing background vocals dubbed "The Williettes" were staple of the classic Wet Willie sound, and always featured Jimmy & Jack's sister, Donna Hall. Keyboardist Mike Duke also joined from The Wetter The Better LP onwards. For a short period of time in 1974 UK singer Elkie Brooks joined the band as a backing singer, as did future Honkette Leslie Hawkins.
Wet Willie put out several albums on Capricorn Records between 1971 and 1977. Along with a "Greatest Hits" album released on Polydor Records, they also released 2 more final studio albums on Epic Records, although some hits collections and further live recordings have been released as recently as 2006. Perhaps their best-known LP is the 1973 live album, Drippin' Wet, but their main claim to fame is the hit single, "Keep On Smilin,'" which reached #10 on the Billboard singles chart. They also enjoyed some other Billboard-charted songs with "Country Side Of Life", "Everything That 'Cha Do" (Will Come Back To You), "Leona", and from their Epic Records period, "Street Corner Serenade" and "Weekend" from the LP's Manorisms and Which One's Willie? They toured and recorded extensively from 1969 through the early Eighties, and they still perform today.
They remain an active performing band in two distinct versions. With original singer Jimmy Hall in their lineup, they are billed as Wet Willie. Shows and recordings billed as The Wet Willie Band have Ric Seymour, a member of the band since 1992 as lead singer and guitarist.
On the Albums High Humidity (Live) and Playing Live Tonight: The Wet Willie Band Seymour, not Hall, sings.