Gloria Gaynor, Colonel Abrams & The Hit Men
(Published: March 31, 2012)
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts continues its superb 31st season with a spectacular night of dance hits on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 8pm. One of dance music's biggest stars for over three decades, GRAMMY® Award winner GLORIA GAYNOR will perform with a full band. Her 1979 #1 hit, the greatest disco anthem of all time, "I Will Survive," is her signature song of inspiration that has touched the hearts of people all over the world. The song was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame at this year's ceremony in February. Urban and dance music phenomenon COLONEL ABRAMS will perform his biggest hits, including "Trapped," "I'm Not Gonna Let You" and "How Soon We Forget." Also performing will be THE HIT MEN, a group of six guys who made, played, sang and recorded the hits of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. This group features original recording and performing members of such iconic bands as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and Tommy James and The Shondells and the original recording artists of such historic megahits as "Oh What a Night (Dec. ‘63)," "Sherry," "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown" and "Who Loves You."
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468. Tickets for GLORIA GAYNOR, COLONEL ABRAMS, and THE HIT MEN on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 8pm are $45, $40, and $25 and can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718.960.8833 (Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through 24-hour online access at www.LehmanCenter.org. Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. Low-cost on-site parking is available for $5.
Gloria Gaynor grew up in Newark, NJ, and, as a teenager, began singing Top 40 hits with bands in clubs and on tour around the U.S. She was only 19 when Clive Davis auditioned her and signed her to Columbia Records, releasing her first single, "Honey Bee." In 1975, she recorded "Never Can Say Goodbye" for MGM, and it became the first Dance Song to reach #1 status. MGM released her debut album, Never Can Say Goodbye, which went gold, followed by hit albums Experience Gloria Gaynor, and I've Got You (Under My Skin). After back surgery in 1978 following a fall on stage, she wore a back brace to record "I Will Survive." Released in 1979, the song was an instant #1 hit, defining the disco era and becoming an anthem to women and the gay community. The song sold 14 million copies and won the GRAMMY for Best Disco Song and has been translated into over 20 languages. In 1984, she recorded "I Am What I Am," which reached the Top 10 on Billboard's Dance Disco Hits. Gaynor re-recorded "I Will Survive" in 1990 for Gloria Gaynor ‘90, which went gold. In 2001 "Just Keep Thinkin' About You" hit #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club Charts while her international hit "Last Night" with Giorgio Moroder debuted at #1 throughout Europe. In 2002, Logic Records/BMG released the LP "I Wish You Love," her first worldwide release in 15 years, which spawned four #1 dance singles on Billboard's Dance Charts, and "I Never Knew" made the Top 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Charts. Gaynor appeared on Broadway in the longest-running musical revue, "Smokey Joe's Café," and on national TV as a guest star on such popular programs as "That ‘70s Show" and "Ally McBeal." She penned an autobiography, titled "I Will Survive" (St. Martin's Press), and lends her support to numerous charities. In 2011 she traveled to Nashville to record a song for her forth-coming Gospel CD, He Gave Me Life (I Will Survive), and embarked on a Christmas symphony tour in Italy and Croatia, ringing in the New Year with a concert in Las Vegas.
Colonel Abrams, born in Detroit and raised in NYC, began playing guitar and piano at an early age. In the ‘70s, he played with several bands, including Heavy Impact and Conservative Manor and was the lead singer for 94 East, which featured Prince on guitar. His mid-‘80s hits "Leave the Message Behind the Door" and "Music Is the Answer" established him as a solo R&B/Soul & House music artist, first in Europe and then the U.S. In 1985 he signed to MCA Records, releasing the debut album Colonel Abrams that featured the hit "Trapped," which topped the dance/club charts in 1985, selling five million copies worldwide. The Colonel Abrams album spent two weeks the following year at #1. In ‘87 he had his fourth #1 U.S. dance hit with "How Soon We Forget." Abrams had a string of dance/club hits through the ‘80s and ‘90s, including four entries that hit #1. Abrams returned to the music scene in the mid-2000s. His 2007single, "Just When You Thought" became an underground hit, followed by the dance smash "Never Be." Abram's newest release is 2011's Make a Difference.
The Hit Men, the brainchild of Four Seasons alums Lee Shapiro and Don Ciccone, is comprised of six hit-makers who were instrumental in the success of countless beloved hits of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s that have been heard for generations. They were members of such legendary bands as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Critters, Carly Simon, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens and Barry Manilow. After decades behind the scenes, they have united as The Hit Men, experiencing again the magic they created on stages around the world and in recording studios years ago. The group includes Lee Shapiro (Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Barry Manilow, Paul Schaffer); Don Ciccone (The Critters, Frankie Vallie and The Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells); Gerry Polci (Frankie Vallie and The Four Seasons, Barry Manilow); Jimmy Ryan (The Critters, Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, Elton John and Kiki Dee, Jim Croce); Larry Gates (Desmond Child, Phoebe Snow, Carole King, Janis Ian, Rick Derringer); and Russ Velasquez (Sting, Carole King, The Ramones, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Korn, Paula Abdul, Chicago).
Lehman Center is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. The 2011-2012 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, JPMorgan Chase, and through corporations, foundations and private donations.