Sparks Biography    

Sparks discography

In 1970 LA anglophiles Russell & Ronald Mael sent a demo tape to American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer Todd Rundgren who secured them a contract with Bearsville Records.  Their debut album
'Halfnelson' was subsequently recorded.  A name change at Bearsville's request saw the debut album reissued as 'Sparks' and work began on a follow-up 'A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing'.  The classic Sparks sound was formed:- snappy rock with unexpected twists and turns creating the dynamics.  Subsequent albums 'Kimono My House' and 'Propaganda' (both 1974) were top 10 successes and spawned a few two top 20 hit singles.  Then came Tony Visconti-produced 'Indiscreet'.  This was followed by an expensively disastrous attempt at post-punk posturing, 'Big Beat', which marked the end of the brothers' tenure with Island Records and a move back to Los Angeles.  Fast-forward through 6 years of top 10 hits and diminishing sales to 1979, and a new Sparks disco sound, rejuvenated in collaboration with Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder.  'No 1 In Heaven' spawned 3 pulsing dance hits and got Sparks back on Top Of The Pops for the first time in 4 years.  During the 80s the Maels were confined to the margins and the brothers failed to notch up any hits at all in Britain during this period.  However Sparks enjoyed some belated success in the States with 'Angst In My Pants' (1982) and 'In Outer Space' (1983).  Sparks made something of a comeback in 1994 with 'Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins' which spawned 2 minor top 40 hits.  Year 2000 heralded a new album 'Balls', whilst 'Lil Beethoven' (2002) gathered up various textural ideas from the band's lengthy career, tying them all up with orchestral arrangements, as suggested by the album's title.  2006's 'Hello Young Lovers' (their 20th studio album) was a big hit critically.  A much anticipated new album was released in early 2008 entitled 'Exotic Creatures of the Deep' .  The duo's first pop musical, 'The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman', built around a visit to the US by film director Ingmar Bergman, was released in 2012.  Finally came 'Hippopotamus', Sparks' 23rd studio album.