Sal Solo - Career

Career

Solo began his career with an obscure band called The News, who only released one 7" single on GTO Records. He then went on to join seminal punk band Rigormortis, who he recorded several demos with, but remained unsigned due to Solo's departure (drummer Johnnie HaHa and guitarist Steve Savage went on to form Alien Sex Fiend). Later, he achieved fame as the lead vocalist of the pop group, Classix Nouveaux who were one of the first wave of New Romantic bands in the UK along with the likes of Japan and Ultravox. They released three albums with EMI Records. Solo also achieved some notability as the singer for the French Space Rock group Roketz, who were one of the most popular bands in Italy.

Classix Nouveaux had number one hits in Poland, Portugal, Israel, Iceland and other countries in the early 1980s. They also had one Top 20 and various other Top 50 hits in the United Kingdom, including "Is It a Dream", which reached No. 11 in the UK Singles Chart. They toured extensively in more than 30 countries, selling out big arenas. Their most fanatical following was, and still is, in Poland, where they were one of the first Western bands to tour in Communist times, after martial law was lifted.

Solo also sang with Rockets, (who sold a million and a half albums in Italy), for their last three albums, after they gave up their former Space Rock image. Eventually, he pursued a solo career, releasing one album with MCA Records which included the UK Top 20 hit "San Damiano (Heart And Soul)".

After a pilgrimage to San Damiano, a small village in Italy near Piacenza, Solo embraced the Roman Catholic faith of his childhood and continued in the music industry for a short time. He had a solo hit with "San Damiano (Heart And Soul)" which reached No. 15 in the UK Singles Chart, and went to No. 1 in Poland; and a minor hit with "Music and You". For "San Damiano", he was backed by boy choristers from the St Philip's Choir, but the first television clip (made in Poland, inside the Palace of Culture and Sciences, directed by Ryszard KarpiƄski) was recorded with a Polish boys' choir - Lutnia from Warsaw. In 2003, Aled Jones recorded a new version of "San Damiano" for his album Higher, which remained in the UK Albums Chart Top 40 for several weeks, and earned a silver disc. The song has also been recorded by other artistes, including Angel Voices (St Philip's Choir), which released their own all-treble version.

After 1987, Solo stopped recording music commercially, and became active in youth ministry in the Catholic Church in the UK. During this time, he continued to write and perform new music and in the early 1990s he released three albums of Christian music through the Christian record label, Word Records, followed by several more released independently. His latest recordings and videos can be found on his own website and on sites such as MySpace and YouTube. In 1999, he moved to Chicago and now works with Catholic teens in the United States and other parts of the world, speaking on matters of faith and justice, and giving concerts and youth retreats.

In 1997, EMI Gold issued The Very Best of Classix Nouveaux. The original three Classix Nouveaux albums, and his MCA solo album, have now all been reissued on CD by Cherry Red Records in the UK and there are plans underway for a new Cherry Red compilation of A and B sides. There is also a live album of a 1982 concert in Strathclyde, Glasgow, issued by River Records in Scotland. Several Classix Nouveaux television and live appearances and music videos can be found on YouTube. However, no concert DVDs have ever been released. Solo says he threw away all the old Classix footage when he left the UK, as he did not think anyone would ever be interested in it again.

At a time when many 1980s bands are reforming, no Classix Nouveaux reunion seems likely. Solo always says he prefers what he is doing now. His 20th album, on social justice themes entitled We Cry Justice! was released in February 2009 by HeartBeat Records in the USA, and marked a departure from his other recent albums both in the world music style and justice themes, and the fact that it is not a specifically Christian music album. Since the early 80's he has occasionally produced other artists, and is now busy producing young up and coming singers. The first two albums from those projects were released in 2012 on The Buzz label.

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