FELIX CAVALIERE’S RASCALS
Defining a Generation
Friday, September 19 at 8 p.m.
Few artists in the annals of popular music define a generation. Even less enjoy universal adoration decades following the recording of their signature songs. Felix Cavaliere is in the rare position where, to this day, he remains as loved as he was in his youth. As an inductee into both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Cavaliere continues to create contemporary classics well into the fifth decade of his career.
He formed his first band called The Stereos while in his teens. He discovered the power of the Hammond organ and then began to find his voice through trial and error. Forming The Escorts, he relocated to New York City and got his professional start as a backup musician for Sandy Scott and later with Joey Dee and the Starliters. Striking out on his own in 1965, Cavaliere formed the "Young Rascals" with Dino Danelli, Eddie Brigati and Gene Cornish.
In 1965 The Rascals performed at the Barge, an elite club in Southampton, Long Island. Their high-energy set attracted the attention of promoter and manager, Sid Bernstein and the group was signed with Atlantic Records. From 1965 to 1969, the Rascals were one of the biggest groups in the country with hits that included: "Groovin'," "A Girl Like You," "A Beautiful Morning," and "People Got to Be Free."
As the world of pop music moved to albums and FM radio took a firm hold on society, the Rascals made the move from singles to albums. Their recorded work became more experimental with arrangements that reflected the era. By the early ’70s, the Rascals moved from Atlantic to Columbia Records and had mutated into an impressionistic jazz-rock outfit, losing Brigati and Cornish in the process. Without all four founding members, their dissolution was inevitable and the Rascals disbanded in 1972.
Cavaliere answered back with a solo career that thrived throughout the ’70s as he collaborated with Todd Rundgren, and later started the short-lived band, Treasure.
His fifth and final solo release came years later in 1994 as Cavaliere explored his hopes, dreams and ups and downs of loving someone. On his long absence and self-imposed 15-year hiatus from music, Cavaliere offers, “writing and producing younger artists kept my musical spirit alive and well.” Then, in 1997 Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame among other greats. In 2009, Cavaliere was also inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame. In 2010, a follow-up to his Grammy®-nominated collaboration with Steve Cropper, was released by Stax Records. Looking toward the future Cavaliere simply states, “I am very, very fortunate.”
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