Biography

Sparks are one of the oldest bands in America. During almost forty years of their career, Sparks have released 21 albums and tried great number of different genres from disco to psychedelic. A lot of artists cited Sparks as a major influence, starting from Depeche Mode and Morrissey to numerous pop acts. The band consists of two brothers, Ron and Russell Mael. They grew up in California suburbs and were regular visitors of the clubs where such bands The Doors, Love, The Kinks and The Beach Boys played. This is no surprise that they were trying to emulate the sound of their English idols when they started to perform themselves. Sometimes brothers were even pretending that they came from England. Sparks’ first eponymous album, released in 1971, sounded accordingly, as long as their second record A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing (1972). This album led to a tour across UK, and during it Sparks decided to stay in London.

Ron and Russell came to Britain during the glam rock era, and decided to change their genre to stay in mainstream. Their decision resulted into breakthrough album Kimono My House (1974) that reached fourth place in UK charts (in spite of the fact that legendary Elton John was sure it would be a failure). The following albums, Propaganda (1974) and Indiscreet (1975), were similarly successful, and Sparks became known for intricate pop tunes and convoluted lyrics. However, Ron and Russell were not satisfied with their achivments – they were aware that Sparks’s sound was becoming stale. They decided to return to LA and changed to a more electronic sound. Maels recorded Big Beat (1976) and Introducing Sparks (1977), but both turned out to be a failure. Brothers decided that their albums lacked personality, and worked hard to change the situtation on their nex record No. 1 In Heaven (1979). As a result, the album became a landmark in the development of electronic music and greatly influenced bands which would emerge in the following years. Next disk Terminal Jive (1980) was also based on electronic sound. As one of its singles, When I'm With You, became very popular in France, and Sparks decided to stay there.

Soon Maels discovered that the electronic equipment they had adopted for their new sound was too cumbersome to tour with, so they turned to more traditional line-up and traditional rock music. In this genre Sparks recorded Whomp That Sucker (1981), Angst In My Pants (1982) and Sparks In Outer Space (1983). Next three records, Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat (1984), Music That You Can Dance To (1986) and Interior Design (1988) were also rock albums, although Music That You Can Dance To featured synthpop tunes too. At this time, Ron and Russell also tried themselves in filmmaking. They worked together with Tim Burton on making Japanese comic strip, Mai, The Psychic Girl, into a movie, but their project came to nothing. Sparks returned to music in 1994, releasing Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins. Maels switched their genre again, that time to techno dance. In 1998, Sparks released Plagiarism – an album of cover versions of their own songs, which featured collaborations with Faith No More and other bands. Sparks also recorded the soundtrack for the movie Knock Off, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme that year.

Next Sparks’ record, Lil' Beethoven (2002), was described by Ron and Russell as «genre-defying opus». It was a mixture of rock music and classical arrangements. Hello Young Lovers (2006), the band’s twentieth studio album, was based on the previous record, but also was a concept album which addresses aspects of modern love. It was followed by the Sparks’ last to date record Exotic Creatures Of The Deep (2008). Celebrating its release, Sparks performed 21-night series of concersts in London, playing each of their albums in chronological order during the first twenty nights, and premiering new record during the last one. During one of their last interviews, Sparks’ claimed that modern music is lacking ambition and experimental drive. However, they have expressed admiration for Eminem, Outkast, Franz Ferdinand, Belisha and Morrissey. The fans did not have to wait for Sparks’ following creation for a long time: the rockers’ new record titled The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman saw the light in 2009. It is not just an album; it is the real musical, which deals with themes of art and commerce, differences between Europe and America and many others. There is absolutely no doubt that The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman will be interesting not only for Sparks’ fans, but also for all the connoisseurs of original music.

Studio Albums

Sparks, Hippopotamus mp3Hippopotamus
2017
  • Glam Rock
  • Indie Pop
  • Chamber Pop
Sparks, Hello Young Lovers mp3Hello Young Lovers
For many years Sparks remained the role model for every oddball pop duo (Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, etc) and have mapped their own genre. The dramatic collection Hello Young Lovers is the 20th album from cult duo
2006
  • Baroque Pop
  • Chamber Pop
  • Classical Crossover
  • Glam Rock
Sparks, Indiscreet mp3Indiscreet
2004
  • Glam Rock
Sparks, Lil' Beethoven mp3Lil' Beethoven
2003
  • Baroque Pop
  • Chamber Pop
  • Classical Crossover
Sparks, Just Got Back From Heaven mp3Just Got Back From Heaven
2001
  • Glam Rock
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, Balls mp3Balls
2000
  • Eurodance
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, Propaganda mp3Propaganda
2000
  • Glam Rock
  • Pop/Rock
Sparks, Kimono My House mp3Kimono My House
1999
  • Glam Rock
  • Pop/Rock
Sparks, Plagiarism mp3Plagiarism
1998
  • Eurodance
  • Glam Rock
  • Hard Rock
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, Big Beat mp3Big Beat
1994
  • Glam Rock
  • Pop/Rock
Sparks, Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins mp3Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins
1994
  • Dance-Pop
  • Eurodance
  • House
  • Synth Pop
  • Techno
Sparks, Interior Design mp3Interior Design
1988
  • Glam Rock
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, Music That You Can Dance To mp3Music That You Can Dance To
1986
  • Dance-Pop
  • Hi-NRG
Sparks, Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat mp3Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat
1984
  • New Wave
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, In Outer Space mp3In Outer Space
1983
  • New Wave
  • Pop
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, Angst in My Pants mp3Angst in My Pants
1982
  • New Wave
  • Pop
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, Whomp That Sucker mp3Whomp That Sucker
1981
  • New Wave
  • Pop/Rock
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, Terminal Jive mp3Terminal Jive
1980
  • Dance-Pop
  • Disco
  • Hi-NRG
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, No. 1 in Heaven mp3No. 1 in Heaven
1979
  • Dance-Pop
  • Electro-Disco
  • Hi-NRG
  • Synth Pop
Sparks, A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing mp3A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing
1972
  • Glam Rock
  • Pop/Rock
Sparks, Sparks mp3Sparks
1971
  • Glam Rock
  • Pop/Rock

Compilation albums

Sparks, This Album's Big Enough... The Best of Sparks mp3This Album's Big Enough... The Best of Sparks
2002
  • Glam Rock
  • New Wave
  • Synth Pop
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