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About Sparks

Spanning over half a century, the history of Ron and Russell Mael’s musical adventures is so full of unlikely twists, no screenwriter could’ve concocted it. (That said, the 2021 documentary The Sparks Brothers proves it makes for a terrific movie.) Born in Culver City, California, in 1945 and 1948, Ron and Russell were teenage devotees of the L.A. club scene that produced The Doors before forming their own band, Halfnelson, in 1968. Though their 1971 debut attracted little attention in the U.S.—even after a name change to Sparks—British fans began their long love affair with one of the wittiest and most inventive rock acts America ever produced. With their 1974 breakthrough, Kimono My House, Sparks supercharged glam rock while forging a template for punk and New Wave. The Maels leapt to pop’s vanguard again when they collaborated with Giorgio Moroder to create the prophetic blend of dance music and synth-pop on 1979’s No. 1 In Heaven. In later years, the Maels’ inimitable body of work expanded to include quasi-classical marvels like 2002’s Lil’ Beethoven and the score for 2021’s Annette, a movie musical that’s as weird as any Sparks fan could’ve hoped.

Pacific Palisades, CA, United States
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