Nobody had heard a Christmas carol done in anything other than the traditional way.
When I came up with that sequenced version of Deck The Halls and it was rocked out nobody expected that.
" It's like trying to catch their attention with an unusual title and then they come to find out, "Oh gosh, it's an expression of the length of time that these guys have been around." So the title came from thirty years of Christmas and forty years of Fresh Aire.
MR: For the five people who don't know, what was the inspiration for Mannheim Steamroller?
1984 was when I came up with the idea of doing a Christmas album.When we played it for MGM, they were like, "Oh, don't show that to anybody, that's not going to go anywhere." That became my sign later on in life.As soon as somebody says, "Don't show that to anybody," I know, "Oh, this is a smash hit!It gave me an opportunity to freshen up the Fresh Aire, if you will. The first one goes clear back to the vinyl days, and that was my first experience doing long play records with 180 gram Teldec vinyl. Then as we got into CDs, we've made Christmas collection box sets, there's a Fresh Aire I-VIII box set, and on CD, we've got a combination of some Fresh Aire and other titles.There's a bunch of real good things happening all at once in order to do that, so it just seemed the logical thing to do. It came in a leatherette box with an album on the cover--actually CD-sized--that was embossed pewter. The vinyl was the heavy duty vinyl, it was in rice paper sleeves and it was unwarpable. We have done a number of box sets, and packaging-wise, when I did a Christmas box set of course I wouldn't just put it in cardboard.
Single chat Mannheim
When I got out of school I wanted to stray from that and do some different things, but my classical roots are still in tact.A lot of pieces that I wrote on my first album, which Aire On A G String stimulated, were all names of song forms that I had learned in college.I have to say, I had a really great time doing that. "Convoy" was a crossover record, it was multi-platinum in eight or nine countries and it didn't seem to matter. They did a German version that was really cool, and then two DJs in London did a version where, instead of "Pig Pen" being in it, there was "Big Ben." There have been some pretty funny parodies, in fact I think I just saw a parody last week for the show . Did you scratch your head when it became so successful?They're doing a parody on "Convoy" in an upcoming episode. CD: The thing that was funny about it was that it was intended to be a middle cut on that album.CD: Fresh Aire--"aire" is the Italian word for "song." I based the original tune on the Bach "Aire on a G String," so it goes to classical roots.
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I was trained as a classical musician at the University Of Michigan.photo credit: Colin Conces MR: You also recorded the old C. Mc Call song "Convoy," the 1976 #1 hit, that led to the Sam Peckinpah movie with Kris Kristofferson and Ali Mac Graw.CD: Yeah, and I scored that movie, which was the first and only "A" movie I've ever done. Mc Call thing was just a crazy phenomenon that took the country by storm.CD: Oh yeah, they've been around it since they were born.Elyse when she was two or three years old used to wear a little pink onesie and be down in my studio in the morning when I was working on "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies" and she would just stand there and spin in circles dancing to it and all that. I have to say all three of them can just sit down and start improvising at the piano. The recording you heard of "Greensleeves" she was just fourteen when I did that.