Sparks (US rock and pop duo, The Mael Brothers)

~ Group


Sparks is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by brothers Ron (keyboards) and Russell Mael (vocals), renamed from Halfnelson, formed in 1968. Known for their quirky approach to songwriting, Sparks' music is often accompanied by intelligent, sophisticated, and acerbic lyrics, and an idiosyncratic, theatrical stage presence, typified in the contrast between Russell's wide-eyed hyperactive frontman antics and Ron's sedentary scowling. They are also noted for Russell Mael's falsetto voice and Ron Mael's keyboard style.

Although the band's long career has led some to regard them as precursors of many different musical genres, including glam rock, new wave, synthpop, electronica, and most recently chamber pop, it is just as plausible that Sparks have created their own unique musical universe. While achieving chart success in various countries around the world including United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the United States, they have enjoyed a cult following since their first releases. During the late 1970s, when in collaboration with Giorgio Moroder (and Telex subsequently), Sparks reinvented themselves as a new wave/synthpop duo, and abandoned the traditional rock band line up. Their frequently changing styles and visual presentations have kept the band at the forefront of modern, artful pop music.

The 2002 release of Lil' Beethoven, their "genre-defying opus", as well as the more recent albums Hello Young Lovers (2006, their 20th studio album), Exotic Creatures Of The Deep (2008), and their latest fantasy musical The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman (2009–2010) have brought Sparks renewed critical and commercial success, and seen them continue to "steer clear of pop conventions."

Sparks are best known for the songs "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us", which reached number 2 in the British charts in 1974, the electronic hit "The Number One Song in Heaven" in 1979, "When I'm With You" which topped the French Charts in 1980, the single "I Predict" became Sparks' first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching #60 in May 1982; the 1984 single "Cool Places" with Go-Go Jane Wiedlin, and "When Do I Get To Sing 'My Way'" which topped the German and European charts in 1994/95 and was the top airplay record in Germany for 1994.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1968 A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing Halfnelson 1
1971 Sparks Sparks 5 2
1972 A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing Sparks 5 2
1974 Kimono My House Sparks 5 4
1974 Propaganda Sparks 5 3
1975 2 Originals Of Sparks 4 1
1975 Indiscreet Sparks 5 3
1975 Sparks / A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing Sparks 3
1976 Big Beat Sparks 4 3
1977 Introducing Sparks Sparks 5 3
1979 No. 1 in Heaven Sparks 5 3
1980 Terminal Jive Sparks 4 1
1981 Whomp That Sucker Sparks 5 2
1982 Angst in My Pants Sparks 4 1
1983 In Outer Space Sparks 5 2
1984 Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat Sparks 1
1986 Music That You Can Dance To Sparks 4 3
1988 Interior Design Sparks 3 3
1994 Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins Sparks 5 3
1995 Gold Sparks 3 1
1997 Plagiarism Sparks 4 3
2000 Balls Sparks 3.75 4
2001 Just Got Back From Heaven Sparks 4 1
2002 Lil' Beethoven Sparks 4 3
2006 Hello Young Lovers Sparks 4 2
2008 Exotic Creatures of the Deep Sparks 4 3
2009 The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman Sparks 4 1
2013 No. 1 in Heaven Sparks 1
2015 FFS Franz Ferdinand & Sparks 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1979 The Best Of Sparks 5 1
1985 The Best of Sparks Sparks 5 1
1990 Mael Intuition: The Best of Sparks 1974-76 Sparks 1
1991 Profile: The Ultimate Sparks Collection Sparks 1
1993 In the Swing Sparks 1
1993 The Heaven Collection Sparks 1
1993 The Heaven Collection & The Hell Collection ((Box set)) Sparks 1
1993 The Hell Collection Sparks 1
2000 The Best of Sparks Sparks 1
2002 This Album's Big Enough... : The Best of Sparks Sparks 2
2013 New Music For Amnesiacs: The Essential Collection Sparks 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2013 Two Hands One Mouth Sparks 1

Album + Remix

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1999 12" Mixes Sparks 4 2


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1974 Amateur Hour Sparks 5 1
1974 Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth Sparks 5 1
1974 This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us Sparks 5 1
1975 Get in the Swing / Profile Sparks 4 1
1976 I Want to Hold Your Hand / England Sparks 1
1979 Beat the Clock Sparks 4 4
1979 Tryouts for the Human Race Sparks 2
1983 Cool Places Sparks 4 1

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