My First Memory of Mannheim Steamroller

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RUSH:  Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller and The Carol of the Bells.  You know where I first discovered Mannheim Steamroller music?  Two things.  I was in Sacramento.  It was 1985 or ’86, and it was Christmastime. I’m watching an NFL playoff game.  It might have been the last week or two of the regular season.

But it was during the Christmas season, and they were using Steamroller tunes as bumpers going into Christmas breaks, but only five or six seconds of it.  I said, “Man, that is cool. What is that?”

So I started investigating it and found out it was Mannheim Steamroller.  I remember being on an airplane shortly after my father had passed away, at 35,000 feet on the way to Los Angeles. It was pitch black, and I was listening to Steamroller in the headphones.  This is back when I could hear, and… I don’t know.  Listening to it created a connection between me and my dad.  So whenever I hear this Steamroller stuff, ah, man, it just has instant sentimentality to it — and my father never heard it.

I mean, he didn’t even know it.  I don’t know that he would have even liked it.  He was a big classical music aficionado.  So he might have thought it a bastardization.  He was that way. A purist.  Like, I played for him Waldo de los Rios, Mozart Symphony No. 40, kind of disco-ized, and (laughing) it just ticked him off. (laughing) It made him so mad!  “How can they do this to a great piece of art like that?”

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