At age 15, Perkins played his first gig as a session musician, in Bob Grove's Prestige Recording Studio in Birmingham. At 16, he left school and started performing in local bands and released singles with a band called the Vikings with Charles Nettles.
Wayne left session work to form a band called Smith, Perkins and Smith which recorded two albums and toured in England on the same bill with Free, Fairport Convention, Argent, Uriah Heep, Family and Vinegar Joe with Robert Palmer. While in Kingston in the Island Basing Street recording studios Perkins had been working on a second Smith Perkins Smith album for Island when Chris Blackwell stopped him. "He said there was a Wailer project he wanted me to play on", Perkins played with Bob Marley and the Wailers recording "Concrete Jungle" on the Wailers' album Catch a Fire, which went platinum. When Perkins returned to the United States, he played with Leon Russell for two years, in the Gap Band and the Shelter People Band, and with Eric Clapton and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Clapton arranged for Perkins to audition with the Rolling Stones. As a result, Perkins was hired to play lead guitar on the album Black and Blue. The credits for the album list Perkins appearing on three tracks: "Hand of Fate", "Memory Motel" and "Fool to Cry". Following this, Wayne joined the Alabama Power Band (formed by his brother Dale), which became Crimson Tide and recorded two albums. In Nashville, Wayne wrote music for Catdaddy Music and co-wrote soundtracks with Emmy Award winning composer/producer/remixer Richard "Wolfie" Wolf for films including The Karate Kid Part II and Back to School. Perkins later formed the band Problem Child with Robert Nix and Rick Christian, and played bass with Lonnie Mack. During his long career, Perkins played session guitar with artists including the Alabama State Troupers, Ben Atkins, Michael Bolton, Angela Bofill, the Everly Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ray Reach and many others.
In 1995, Perkins recorded his first solo album, Mendo Hotel, and in 2005, he released his latest, Ramblin' Heart.
1972 Alabama State Troupers Road Show Alabama State Troupers; Dinnertime Alex Taylor; Catch a Fire Bob Marley & The Wailers; John David SoutherJohn David Souther; Raised on RecordsP.F. Sloan; Smith Perkins Smith Smith Perkins Smith; Smokestack Lighting Mike Harrison; Stories We Could TellThe Everly Brothers; Tiptoe Past the Dragon Marlin Greene
1973 Last Stage for Silverworld Kenny Young; OctoberClaire Hamill
1993 Jump Back: The Best of the Rolling Stones 1971-1993 The Rolling Stones; Ultimate Collection Albert King
1994 Classics, Vol. 2: Plain from the Heart Delbert McClinton; Classics, Volume 1 Delbert McClinton; Heartaches & Harmonies [Box Set] The Everly Brothers
1995 Mendo Hotel Wayne Perkins; Soul Children - Best of Two Worlds The Soul Children
1996 So I Can Love You-Untouched The Emotions
1997 Count On Me James Clark, Produced by Ray Reach
1998 At Home in Muscle Shoals Bobby Womack; House Rent Party Various Artists; Skynyrd's First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Album Lynyrd Skynyrd
2001 Catch a Fire [Bonus Tracks] Bob Marley & The Wailers; Catch a Fire [Deluxe Edition] Bob Marley & The Wailers; Jealous Kind/Plain from the Heart Delbert McClinton
2002 Forty Licks The Rolling Stones; Patchouli Ben Atkins
2003 Babylon by Bus/Catch a Fire/Burnin' [Deluxe Editions] Bob Marley; Rockin' Memphis: 1960s-1970s, Vol. 1 Various Artists; Thyrty: The 30th Anniversary Collection Lynyrd Skynyrd; Uprising/Kaya/Catch a Fire [Deluxe Editions] Bob Marley; Every Little LieKen Valdez
2005 Even More Good Whiskey: A Collection of Contemporary Various Artists; Greatest Hits Lynyrd Skynyrd; Levon Helm [Bonus Track] Levon Helm; Ramblin' Heart Wayne Perkins
2006 Monkey Grip [Bonus Tracks] Bill Wyman; Ronnie Milsap [Bonus Track] Ronnie Milsap; Stax Profiles Albert King