Jimmy Maelen (born March 26, 1940 – January 14, 1988) was an American percussionist from the 1960s to 1980s, who worked with many artists including Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor, Dire Straits, Barry Manilow, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Madonna, Bryan Adams, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and John Lennon. He also played on hit records by Bob James, Duran Duran, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Yoko Ono, Meatloaf, Alice Cooper, BJ Thomas, and many others.[1]

Jimmy Maelen
BornMarch 26, 1940
DiedJanuary 14, 1988(1988-01-14) (aged 47)

Barely out of junior high school, his first group was a doo-wop street corner quintet called the Velons. By the early 1960s, he had become an excellent percussionist, playing almost exclusively with Latin bands around New York.

Maelen became lead singer, percussionist and founding member of Ambergris, and played with them for a few years. For the next two or three years, he worked with several bands and did session work. By the mid 1970s, his career took off.

For most of the late 1970s into the 1980s he was one of the "first call" percussion players in New York City. During the golden years of the disco era he was especially successful, working with the remix team of Michael Barbiero and John Luongo and overdubbing on extended dance versions of disco classics such as Gonzales' "I Haven't Stopped Dancin' Yet", The Jacksons' "Blame It on the Boogie" and "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)", Dan Hartman's "Vertigo/Relight My Fire", Jackie Moore's "This Time Baby" and many more. He can be heard playing seven tracks of percussion on Barry Manilow's classic hit "Copacabana". As a percussionist, he also appeared on the album, Desire Wire, made from 1978, done by Cindy Bullens. His working relationship with Barbiero and Luongo led to a solo album for Epic/Columbia in 1980, produced by the trio and entitled Beats Workin'.

Maelen's first album with Roxy Music was the critically acclaimed Avalon. He also played on the Dire Straits Brothers in Arms album, he appeared with Roxy Music at Live Aid in London. He also toured with Peter Gabriel on his first solo tour in 1977.

Maelen worked as a studio musician on Alphaville's 1986 album, Afternoons in Utopia. At the time of his death he was producing his first rock band Cherri Red, along with Gary Chester at the Edison Recording Studio in New York City. Subsequently, one of the songs "Be With You Tonight" which was written by John Bussi, was used in the film See You in the Morning directed by Alan J. Pakula.

Maelen died of leukemia on January 14, 1988. He was 47 years old.

Discography edit

Solo album

  • Beats Workin' (1980)

With Bryan Adams

With Peter Allen

With Alphaville

With Blood, Sweat & Tears

With Irene Cara

With Desmond Child

  • Desmond Child & Rouge (Capitol, 1979)

With Linda Clifford

  • I'll Keep on Loving You (Capitol, 1982)

With Jude Cole

With Ron Dante

  • Street Angel (Handshake Records, 1981)

With Mink DeVille

With Karla DeVito

  • Is This a Cool World or What? (Epic, 1981)

With Dion DiMucci

  • Return of the Wanderer (Lifesong, 1978)

With Duran Duran

With Bryan Ferry

With Roberta Flack

With Peter Gabriel

With Gloria Gaynor

With Debbie Gibson

With Steve Goodman

  • Say It in Private (Asylum Records, 1977)

With Amy Grant

With Henry Gross

  • Show Me to the Stage (Lifesong, 1977)
  • Love Is the Stuff (Lifesong, 1978)

With Gwen Guthrie

With Hall & Oates

With Dan Hartman

With Loleatta Holloway

With Janis Ian

With Garland Jeffreys

With Al Johnson

  • Peaceful (Marina Records, 1978)

With Kiss

With Ben E. King

With Kool & the Gang

With John Lennon and Yoko Ono

With O'Donel Levy

With Nils Lofgren

  • Wonderland (MCA, 1983)

With Barry Manilow

With Barry Mann

  • Lay It Out (CBS, 1971)

With Jimmy McGriff

With Frankie Miller

  • Dancing in the Rain (Mercury, 1986)

With Stephanie Mills

With Laura Nyro

With Odyssey

  • I Got the Melody (RCA, 1981)
  • Happy Together (RCA, 1982)

With Yoko Ono

With Leslie Pearl

  • Words & Music (RCA, 1982)

With Vicki Sue Robinson

  • Vicki Sue Robinson (RCA Victor, 1976)

With Roxy Music

With Jennifer Rush

With Helen Schneider

  • Let It Be Now (RCA Records, 1978)

With Eddie Schwartz

  • Schwartz (A&M, 1980)

With Neil Sedaka

With Marlena Shaw

  • Take a Bite (Columbia, 1979)

With Carly Simon

With Lonnie Smith

With Lonnie Liston Smith

With Bert Sommer

  • Bert Sommer (Capitol, 1977)

With Billy Squier

With Dire Straits

With Barbra Streisand

With James Taylor

With Andrea True

With Bonnie Tyler

With Frankie Valli

With Kenny Vance

  • Short Vacation (Gold Castle, 1988)

With Village People

With Loudon Wainwright III

References edit

  1. ^ "Radio Swiss Pop - Music database - Musician". www.radioswisspop.ch. Retrieved 2023-10-20.