Gino Vannelli is the son of Russ
Vannelli, big band musician who played with the likes of Bix Belair and Maynard
Ferguson. During his formative years growing up in Montreal, Vannelli played the
drums and went to McGill University for music theory.
During this period he formed a band with his brother Joe while brother Ross was
added later. Gino and Joe would eventually be signed by RCA Records and put out
some less than stellar recordings under the name Vann Elli.
Having toured the Canadian provinces as Gino Vannelli And Good Friends, the pair
headed to Los Angeles with demo tape in hand, to seek fame and fortune.
After being rejected by nearly every US record label, Gino waited to ambush A
& M Records co-founder Herb Alpert outside the gates of the label's LA
offices with his guitar. After about 4 hours Alpert showed up and Vannelli
practically ran him over. Following a scuffle with security Alpert realized
Vannelli was not a crazed fan and allowed him to audition. Alpert granted
Vannelli the record deal under one condition - Alpert had to produce his debut
album. Which happened in 1973. The album didn't produce a single and languished
in unattended fashion.
His sophomore release, 'Powerful People' on the other hand, was enthusiastically
received. 1974, saw the beginnings of the disco era, and the lead off single
"People Gotta Move" reached number 22 on Billboard's Hot 100 in
October and garnered a Grammy nomination.
At the height of his disco-stud rise to fame, Vannelli took a left turn and
released 1975's 'Storm At Sunup' which was pure jazz
with a continuous synth
injection. A & M got nervous and insisted Vannelli return to the accessible
funk and dance material he had previously taken to the top of the charts.
Vannelli compromised and released commercially viable singles with enough
conceptual material to satisfy his own artistic sense.
Vannelli's fifth album, ' A Pauper In Paradise', mixed classical and pop as the
sessions were recorded in London with the help of the Royal Philharmonic
With the release of 'Brother To Brother' in 1978, Vannelli found himself with
much sought after hit records in "I Just Wanna Stop",
"Appaloosa" and "The Wheels of Life"). The success of the
album brought him a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance' and major radio
airplay. On the concert front, the Brother To Brother' tour played major world
venues like Carnegie Hall as well as larger arenas. In Canada, Vannelli, along
with his brothers Joe and Ross, had by now earned five consecutive Juno awards
as Canada's Top Male Vocalist, Producer, and Engineer Of the Year, respectively.
It would also mark the end of his tenure with A&M Records.
Vannelli re-assessed his career and signed on with Arista who released 1981's
'Nightwalker' which further explored the pop genre. The single, "Living
Inside Myself", reached number 7 on the Billboard charts. His association
with Arista was short lived however due to a house cleaning at the label and
Vannelli took another break to once more redefine not only his sound but his
In 1985 Vannelli decided to haul out the big production guns by utilizing the
studio he had built in the intervening years and run by him and his brother.
'Black Cars' was a contemporary '80's album with serious production values. The
album spawned four hit singles including the title track and put Vannelli at the
top of the charts and the cover of magazines.
The Vannelli's literally carbon copied the successful 'Black Cars' album on
1987's 'Big Dreamers Never Sleep', but tipped the style more towards Latin and
R&B flavors. "Wild Horses" hit the charts as did "Young
Lover" and "Persona Non Grata" received major airplay in Canada
and Europe, yet the USA had all but ignored it.
With the release of 'Inconsolable Man' in 1990, Vannelli delighted fans
everywhere by launching his first world tour in 12 years. As a celebration of
this rare occasion a live album was recorded at Le Spectrum in Montreal on
November 18, 1990 and released as 'Live In Montreal' in 1992.
Once again, during the lay-off between 'Inconsolable Man' and his next studio
recording Vannelli switched musical gears by tuning into his own spirituality
and revisiting his jazz influence . The results would be released five years
later as 'Yonder Tree'.
Vannelli is promising a commercial comeback once again with 1998's 'Slow Love'.
Gino Vannelli Links To CDs, Sheetmusic, and More
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