American rock music in the 1960s was in a period of massive flux. The ‘British Invasion’ was in full force, folk rock was exploding with the support of the growing hippy movement and iconic singer/songwriters like Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton were just getting started.
In the midst of all this rapid change, a New Jersey band called the Young Rascals (later just called the Rascals) seemingly came out of nowhere. Defining themselves as a ‘blue-eyed soul’ band, they took inspiration from big-name soul acts like Marvin Gaye to develop their own sound, alternating between smooth pop rock and dance hits. Even those who don’t know the band name have heard some of their chart-toppers from the mid to late 60s:
- ‘Good Lovin’, ‘Groovin’
- ‘People Got to Be Free’
are among their biggest successes and remain catchy today.
Arguably the driving force behind this band was the multi-talented Felix Cavaliere. Aside from sharing singing and songwriting duties with fellow band member Eddie Brigati, Cavaliere was also an accomplished pianist from an early age. He was a key element of the band’s success in the 1960s, constantly soaking up the new trends (R&B, psychedelia, new jazz) to broaden their sound.
Start of Felix Cavaliere's Solo Career
Ultimately, the Rascals wouldn’t last long into the 1970s; Brigati leaving in 1970 was only the first of several line-up changes, and the ongoing instability affected the success of their last two albums and led to the group’s official disbandment in 1972. Their **original seven-year tenure produced an impressive nine albums.
Felix Cavaliere, however, wasn’t done yet. He immediately launched a solo career, releasing three jazz-style albums across the 1970s. After that he mostly became a collaborator, touring and working with various musicians.
Return of Felix Cavaliere's Rascals
Brief and partial reunions with fellow Rascals alumni had become regular in the past decade, but in recent years the original Rascals four have been touring intermittently. In 2016, Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals will come to Niagara Falls, performing at the Fallsview Casino Resort on September 22–23. For anyone in Ontario at the time, it’s a unique opportunity to celebrate an iconic group and the optimistic, catchy music that still has a place in today’s world.
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