Wladimir (Wally) Tax (Amsterdam, February 14, 1948 Amsterdam, April 10, 2005) was a Dutch singer and composer.
Tax was born the son of a Dutch father and a Ukranian mother who met in a German labour camp of the Arbeitseinsatz . He started as a singer of the Amsterdam band The Outsiders, which he founded at the age of 12. The first single You mistreat me came out in 1965. The band members of the first hour were, beside Tax: Ronny Splinter, Tom Krabbendam, Appie Rammers and Leendert Busch.
The band had it's break through by the time they did the support act of The Rolling Stones. The Outsiders signed a record deal at Willem Duys' label Relax and had several hits in a row: Lying all the time, Keep on Trying and Touch all achieved a top 10 listing. In 1967 Tax and his band scored hit after hit, like with A Quotation. Monkey on your Back and Summer is Here reached the top 10. In that year Wally Tax also scored two solo hits with I Sat and Thought and Wondered Why (6 weeks Top 40) and Lets Forget What I Said (8 weeks Top 40).
Almost all the hits of The Outsiders are sung in an equally smooth as unique Mokum-English (Amsterdam-English). In 1968 it went downhill with the band. Tax and the other band members were unable to agree on how the band had to develop musically and in 1969 the band split up. Tax co-founded the band Taxfree with Leendert Busch, but that cooperation was short-lived. In 1971 they already parted ways.
In 1973 Tax went solo definitively. He scored four hits in 1974, including Miss Wonderful and It Ain't no Use. That year Tax received the Silver Harp. The last hit he had as a performing musician was in 1977 with Let's Dance . From that moment on Tax was active as a writer for among others: Lee Towers (Its Raining in my Heart) and the band Champagne (Rock 'n Roll Star, Oh Me Oh My Goodbye and Valentino).
Tax was the companion of writer Laurie Langenbach, who died of cervical cancer in 1984. In the last years of her life she was hooked on the macrobiotic guru Adelbert Nelissen, director of the Kushi Institute. After Roel van Duijn had filed a criminal complaint against Nelissen, who would have kept away Van Duijn's late wife of mainstream medicine, Tax still filed a complaint on October 20, 1998.
After the death of Langenbach it went downhill with Tax. He was asked in a cheese-and-wineshop in De Pijp if he desired a small or a big bottle. Tax, who caused such a stir in the seventies with his silver costumes in the tram that the inspector was too bewildered to check his ticket to Mars, answered: Ah, ever I was big and now...?
In the 90s the former members of The Outsiders were estranged from each other and maintained no contact. The project of Jerome Blanes to write an official biography has brought the band members back together. Simultaneously with the expenditure of the biography The Outsiders undertook a large-scale reunion tour 1997. An English translation of the biography is expected in 2008.
Tax died at the age of 57 in his house in Amsterdam. After his death a local resident told AT5 (TV Amsterdam) that Tax frequently borrowed a small amount of money. Never a round sum, but always the exact amount he came short to be able to buy a beer. The local residents had become used to this form of artist tax and spoke mutually of the Wally-taks.
Tax has been buried on the Oosterbegraafplaats in Amsterdam. After a collection and a benefit concert in Paradiso exactly a year after Tax' death, a sepulchre monument could be placed. It is manufactured by Meinbert van Soest and it exists of a monumental stone block with Outsider on the left side and Entertainer to the right.