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Best known as the composer and performer of the huge early-'80s dance hit "Maniac" (from the movie Flashdance), songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Michael Sembello has issued several solo albums over the years, in addition to producing, composing, and performing on other artist's recordings. Born in Philadelphia during 1954, Sembello got his start as part of Stevie Wonder's band in the early '70s, later doing session work for the likes of Sergio Mendes, the Jackson 5, Stephen Bishop, Randy Crawford, and David Sanborn, among others. But it was the soundtrack to the aforementioned 1983 movie Flashdance that brought Sembello his greatest acclaim, as the album has since gone on to be certified six times platinum. Sembello's solo albums have included such titles as 1983's Bossa Nova Hotel (which also included "Maniac"), 1986's Without Walls, 1992's Caravan of Dreams, and 1997's Backwards in Time, while he also found the time to launch a jazz outfit, the Bridge, in the late '90s (having issued a lone, self-titled debut). In addition, Sembello has either produced or written songs for Chaka Khan, George Benson, Gerardo, New Edition, the Temptations, and Donna Summer. ~ Greg Prato
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