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Mannheim Steamroller

The alias of composer Chip Davis, Mannheim Steamroller was among the pioneers of neo-classical electronic music, emerging as one of the driving forces behind the new age phenomenon. Born in Sylvania, OH, Davis' father was a high school music teacher, while his mother was a trombonist with Phil Spitalny's All Girl Orchestra. His grandmother was his first music teacher, giving the child his initial piano lessons at the age of four; two years later, Davis composed his first piece, a four-part chorale written in honor of his dog. He later joined a boys' choir as well, and while attending the University of Michigan, played bassoon in the school's concert band. Upon graduating in 1969, Davis was tapped to tour with the Norman Luboff Choir; after five years with the group, performing everything from pop to classical, he returned to Sylvania to teach music at the local junior high school, often adapting classical standards to contemporary harmonies and rhythms for student consumption.

Davis later left teaching, arranging and conducting an Omaha, NE production of Hair before accepting a job writing advertising jingles. With co-worker Bill Fries, he created the enormously popular C.W. McCall character, later the figure behind the chart-topping hit "Convoy." As the McCall craze went into high gear, however, Davis returned to the classical adaptations he'd first composed as a teacher, and soon entered the studio to begin recording what he dubbed "18th century classical rock" -- classical music performed on electric bass and synthesizers. He titled the resulting album Fresh Aire, and when no label would touch it, he founded his own company, American Gramaphone, in 1974, creating a fictitious band named Mannheim Steamroller to better promote the project. Davis initially marketed Fresh Aire to stereo show rooms, where his state-of-the-art sound proved ideal for demonstrating home stereo equipment; the LP became a smash hit among audiophiles, and a series of popular Fresh Aire sequels followed in the years to come.

In 1984, Davis issued Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, which shocked onlookers by selling over five million copies on the strength of a Top 40 Adult Contemporary rendition of "Deck the Halls." It was followed four years later by A Fresh Aire Christmas, another unqualified hit. The environment informed 1986's Saving the Wildlife, the soundtrack to a PBS special, and was followed three years later by Yellowstone: The Music of Nature, which raised over half a million dollars for the National Parks Service. Although in the early '90s Davis began recording under his own name for the first time, he continued to maintain the wildly successful Mannheim Steamroller name producing many more Christmas-themed albums, further Fresh Aire projects and even several Halloween-themed collections over the following two decades. With 19 gold records and many more platinum and multi-platinum certifications to his credit, Davis's Manheim Steamroller (along with U2, Jay-Z, and the Beach Boys) is one of the most decorated artists in the entire recording industry. Along with the orchestra's annual holiday tours, Davis has also written five children's books and continues to produce music and has expanded the Manheim Steamroller franchise with a line of apparel, food, gifts, and other products. He is still based in Omaha, Nebraska. ~ Jason Ankeny & Timothy Monger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I love your music
roseanna.bat t i s t a
Appreciate his talent! It's just awesome.
relam483
MS is pretty bad a$$
roseanna.bat t i s t a
Oh yeah....all these posts are right on! MS is everything - PANDORA give us all of it!!! Are you kidding? The world needs MS..,.come on!!!!
roseanna.bat t i s t a
Rush knows what he's talking about...he appreciates GREAT music!
roseanna.bat t i s t a
Love your music...than k you so much for blessing our lives!
A beautiful jingle my thanks
Love Chorale/the first door
Love, love, love MS. 1st heard them in the 80's with a guy who had just put a $10.000.00 stereo system into his car.The experince was amazing. Have Christmas albums and Fresh Aire. Never tire listening to the music. Thanks Pandora!
huskinator
Well, someone has to say it--Rush Limbaugh played a significant role in the 5-million sales figure for the first M.S. Christmas Album--his unabashed admiration for Chip's innovative music and inclusion of all things Mannheim on his website during the holidays got a lot of Middle America exposure to this supreme-qual i t y production. Even more popular than the Rush Ties.....
huskinator
Didn't you know there's an Omaha in New Brunswick?? ):-0)
Mannheim Steamroller is NOT the alias of Chip Davis. It is the name he gives to the ensemble that he organizes to record his music!!
billycasehan d y
Originality personified, displayed and continuing to evolve for decades.
Yep! Yellowstone Morning. My favorite.
I have loved Mannheim Steamroller sense 1979
bcdpop
The Sunday morning CDs are fabulous! Would love to be listening to them now! How about it Pandora?
emily.citrar o
It's Omaha, NE not NB. Nebraska, not ? New Brunswick?
My favorite Fresh Aire album was IV. Please consider adding it.
GTA V!!
jim.scoman
One other item, did you know that one of the pieces from one of his Sunday Morning Coffee Cds was the background music in Ocean's Eleven , where Danny Ocean is being led away in handcuffs?
jim.scoman
Only one typo in the Bio... Nebraska is abbreviated NE, not NB, which is Canada's New Brunswick province...

I, too, very much enjoy the Steamroller. . I woud love to see them play live again, but they only get to play in crappy arenas rather than music halls now, so the quality of sound is terrible -- absolutely NOT deserving of the quality of their instrumentat i o n .
.
I got to do a little work with their Engineer, Randy, quite a few years ago, and learned many things from him...
I have seen them live!!! :-) :-)
strucgold
He was from OH?! Brilliant! Manheim Steamroller is excellent!
Chip Davis is brilliant his styles are endless. I Have been a fan for over twenty plus years and never have I been disappointed . . . e v e r love his !
brcoleman70
Pandora, definitely consider the full FA series as well as his Day Parts. Fantastic music!
love THEM SINCE COLLEGE DAYS 1978-82 BRING AMAZING MEMORIES LOVE IT!
I bought the Mannheim Steamroller American Spirit C.D. and if you want something that is pure Americana for when the kool-aid drinkers git to ya this'un u'll do er. It's a classic. DMB
loved them in fl this year. thanks
xshiprider
The man is amazing. We just saw one of his touring groups perform over Christmas holiday and they performed with flawless precision and magnificence .
Very favorite music group.
I want Christmas
schmitzkd
I downloaded my Freshaire 1 - 8 CDs on my office computer over 3 years ago and have listened to them all day at work, every day, for over 3 years. I did the same with the Christmas albums for the Christmas season. It never gets old.
I'm with everyone else.....WHE R E ARE THE FRESH AIRE ALBUMS!!!???
This guy is fantastis!
dwallek
absolutely fabulous
dougjohnson8 2
Definitely need Fresh Aire 1-5.
I would LOVE to have Fresh Aires 5-8 on my Pandora!
ajkorus
Nebraska is abbreviated NE, not NB (that's New Brunswick)
dtcccr
Been listening to Fresh Aire since 1979 when pirated copies of copies were made by each person hearing them for the first time. Quality was a lot better when I finally invested in the Record (dating myself) but the listening experience was the same. Kick on an album, lay back and tune in to relaxation, longing, and wonder,
Fresh Aire :(
brettskiwest
Fanfare For the Common Man Reminds me of Band of Brothers
waynehovey
I agree, Fresh Aire is must.
Add more cuts from American Spirit and add cuts from Yellowstone
thomas.ostro w s k i
Definitely add the Fresh Aire series! I found a Fresh Aire Motivator CD yesterday (compilation from the series as a workout CD). Please add Fresh Aire!
Add Fresh Aire, been listening since 1984
Yes, please.....F r e s h Aire would be wonderful!!! !
B - I agree. I've been acquainted with FA from almost the beginning and bought each album as they came out. Personally, their very first ones are my favorites, plus the Christmas ones. I don't know if they do concerts anymore, but I went to one in Denver in about 1981 and it blew my socks off! The sounds seeming to come from all around plus special effects like fog on the stage about 3 feet up from the floor from dry ice I suppose. I'd love to see them again but I don't know if they even perform
Pandora - get Fresh Aire NOW!!!!! I bought Fresh Aire I-VI on vinyl recently and I want to hear more music like that.
carzantique
What a great mix.
Have always loved Mannheim Steamroller. But I was under the impression some of their instruments are made from junk--scrap metal and such. (Politically correct term is found objects.)
Also... @Lauren Lopez, Copland did write Fanfare for the Common Man. It's called a cover. Just like the infamous orchestral piece Sleigh Ride, which you might know by the Boston Pops, but I'll guarantee they didn't write it. :)
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