William Alexander Galison Galison was born and raised in New York City, New York. As a child, he started to study piano, but at the age of eight decided to switch to guitar having been inspired by The Beatles. He developed a love of jazz in high school and subsequently attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. He decided to change to the harmonica because "I was one of a million guitarists at Berklee" and it was easy to carry around. He became Berklee's only harmonica player. He toured extensively in Europe with Billy Leadbelly (Bill Gough from Hatfield UK). Among his role models at the time were Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder.
After Berklee, he studied further at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, then returned to New York in 1982. He swiftly developed a good reputation as a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist.
He performed at various New York venues including The Village Gate, The Blue Note and the Lone Star Cafe with legendary jazz musicians Jaco Pastorius and Jaki Byard. He also played with his own group at Preacher's Cafe in Greenwich Village.Galison has worked with a diverse range of artists including Carly Simon, Sting, Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee, Chaka Khan and Astrud Gilberto. He has performed Gordon Jacob's "Suite for Harmonica and Orchestra" and toured the USA in the Broadway musical, Big River. He has also recorded soundtracks for films, most notably Academy Award nominees The Untouchables andBagdad Café. His harmonica is also heard on the Sesame Street theme ("a great honor") and countless commercials. Other television work includes Oz and Saturday Night Live.
One of his major influences and role models, Toots Thielmans, once described him as "the most original and individual of the new generation of harmonica players".