The 1970s was a decade dominated by glam, punk, heavy metal, new wave, disco and funk. It was a decade where notions of pop and rock authenticity and hip ness were constantly being contested and redefined. In the midst of such a heady maelstrom, a handful of artists such as Gino Vannelli and Steely Dan opted to buck all the trends, writing and producing sophisticated jazz-inflected pop. In Gino's case, such decade defining hits as People Gotta Move and I Just Wanna Stop.
While Gino was not a favorite with the Rolling Stone wing of rock critics, he managed to rack up ten Billboard pop chart hits, seven of which also charted Adult Contemporary, three of which crossed over to the R&B charges. Seven of those timeless classics are included in his new album, These Are The Days, alongside seven new pop hits in the making.
Born in Montreal, Gino grew up in a family headed by a jazz singing father and a keen eared mother. Enamored with a bevy of jazz drummers such as Gene Krupa, Gino studied drums and music theory for five years. By the age of 12 he had formed a rock band dubbed the Cobras and a year later, with his brother holding down the keyboard chair, Gino headed up the Motown-influenced Jacksonville 5 (note this is five years before the Jackson 5 recorded their first record.) Along the way Gino pickup up guitar and piano and began to sing.
Before his seventeenth birthday, Gino had signed with RCA Records in Canada, releasing a single under the pseudonym Van Elli, "Gina Bold" b/w Never Cry Again. Bitten by the music industry bug, Gino and his brother Joe headed for New York and then later Los Angeles. It was a long struggle, but when Gino was able to get the attention of A&M Record's owner Herb Alpert, he was given the chance to audition, playing an acoustic guitar some of the sings he had recently written including People Gotta Move, Crazy Life, Mama Coco, Powerful People and Lady. All five songs would end up on the six albums Gino would record for A&M between 1974 and 1978.
Five of these six albums made the Billboard album charts, culminating with Brother to Brother which achieved a coveted Top 20 position in the fall of 1978. With his records climbing the charts, Gino toured as the opening act for Stevie Wonder, was the first white artist to appear on Soul Train, was nominated for a handful of Grammy Awards and soon headlined his own concerts at major venues in Key US cities. In his native Canada, his talents were recognized with a plethora of Juno Awards.
In 1980 Gino signed with Arista Records. His sole Arista album, Nightwalker, provided him with a #6 pop hit in Living Inside Myself. Four years later, he released the successful the Black Cars album and single on HME. Two years later, he recorded Big Dreamers for CBS featuring the single Wild Horses stormed its way to the Top 10 in several countries.
By 1990, Gino began to get weary of the music industry, so he departed and formed his own record label and released the live Inconsolable Man. Shortly thereafter, Gino took a radical left turn with the largely acoustic jazz albums Yonder Tree and Slow Love, released in 1995 and 1997. By the end of the decade his muse was taking him still further afield, toward one of his earliest loves, classical music. In 2003, he released Canto, featuring songs sung in English, Spanish and French.
Satisfied with his forays into jazz and classical, Gino felt it was time to return to pop and in 2005 released These Are The Days that combined seven of his earlier hits with seven new songs freshly written in 2005. These Are The Days makes eminently plain, some thirty years after his first major label release, Gino is at the peak of his game, making mature pop music for this brave new world.