|Birth name||Bruce Charles Sudano|
September 26, 1948|
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Genres||Rhythm and blues, folk, soul, disco, smooth jazz|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, conductor, music producer, arranger, composer|
|Instruments||Accordion, piano, vocals, guitar|
|Labels||Purple Heart Recording Company|
|Associated acts||Alive N Kickin', Brooklyn Dreams, Donna Summer, Joe Bean Esposito, Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Johnnyswim, Brooklyn Sudano, Amanda Sudano, Snoop Dogg, Kenny Vance and The Planotones, Omega Red (musician)|
Bruce Charles Sudano is an American singer-songwriter, noted for creating songs for artists such as Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and his late wife, the Grammy Award-winning singer Donna Summer.<ref name="Music Dish">Turner, Doak (September 2004). "Interview With Hit Songwriter Bruce Sudano" (Magazine). Music Dish e-Journal. musicdish.com. Retrieved May 26, 2012.</ref> Sudano is the founder of indie record label Purple Heart Recording Company.<ref name="Music Dish" />
Sudano was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York to Margaret Alessio (1924-2012) and Louis Sudano (1923-2008).<ref name="Official Bio">Sudano, Bruce. "Biography". Bruce Sudano. brucesudano.com. Archived from the original on May 20, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.</ref><ref name="Linear Notes">Summer, Donna. "Linear Notes". The Donna Summer Anthology. Geffen Records. Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.</ref> At the age of four, Sudano learned to play his first instrument, the accordion.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0">Wikane, Christian John. "Brooklyn Dreams 2.0: A Conversation with Bruce Sudano and Joe "Bean" Esposito". Popmatters. popmatters.com. Retrieved May 26, 2012.</ref> He later taught himself to play piano and guitar.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> He soon developed a reputation in his community as a talented musician and got his first paid gig at the age of twelve.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/>
By the mid-1960s, Sudano was playing bass guitar in his first band Silent Souls.<ref name="Gary James Interview">James, Gary. "Gary James' Interview With Bruce Sudano Of Alive N Kickin'". Classic Bands. classicbands.com. Retrieved May 31, 2012.</ref> He spent much of his time rehearsing and was soon playing live shows at popular New York nightclubs.<ref name="Gary James Interview" />
While playing at the Cheetah, Sudano met Tommy James of Tommy James and the Shondells.<ref name="Music Dish" /> Sudano became the protégé of James, who had penned the classic pop song "Mony, Mony"<ref name="Music Dish" /> While working his way through college at St. John's University, where he earned a BA in theatre, Sudano learned to craft songs with James at Allegro Studios.<ref name="Music Dish" />
In 1969, while only 20, Sudano scored his first hit on the music charts with the song "Ball of Fire" which he co-wrote with his mentor.<ref name="Music Dish" /><ref name="Gary James Interview" />
Alive N Kickin'
In 1968, Sudano became the keyboard player in the pop rock band Alive N Kickin', which he co-founded with Pepe Cardona.<ref name="Pepe Cardona Interview">James, Gary. "Gary James' Interview With Pepe Cardona of Alive N Kickin'". www.classicbands.com. Retrieved June 1, 2012.</ref><ref name="Billboard">Ruhlmann, William. "Alive 'N Kickin' Biography & Awards". All Music Guide. Billboard Magazine Online. Retrieved June 1, 2010.</ref> Tommy James wrote a song for the band called "Tighter, Tighter" with Bob King.<ref name="Song Facts">"Tighter and Tighter by Alive 'N Kickin'". Interview with Tommy James. Songfacts™. Retrieved June 1, 2012.</ref> James also produced the track and sang backing vocals.<ref name="Song Facts"/> The song was released on Roulette Records in 1970 and went to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.<ref name="Billboard"/><ref name="Song Facts"/>
Alive N Kickin' did a promotional tour of the United States as the opening act for Chicago and Frank Zappa.<ref name="Pepe Cardona Interview"/> However, Sudano left Alive 'N Kickin' in 1972 and moved to Los Angeles, California where wrote and performed folk songs as a solo singer.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/>
In 1973, Sudano returned to Brooklyn where he continued writing and performing but also began rehearsing and playing gigs with Joe "Bean" Esposito, Eddie Hokenson and Louis Hokenson.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/>
Brooklyn Dreams and Donna Summer
In 1977, Sudano, Esposito and Hokenson moved to Los Angeles, formed the band Brooklyn Dreams and signed a recording deal with Millennium Records.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> That same year, Skip Konte of Three Dog Night produced their first self-titled debut.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> The trio scored a modest hit with the single "Music, Harmony and Rhythm", which they performed on American Bandstand.<ref name="American Bandstand">Summer, Donna (May 1978). "American Bandstand". Music, Harmony and Rhythm. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
I'd like to introduce some friends of mine to you. They're called the Brooklyn Dreams and they wrote one of the songs on the T.G.I.F. soundtrack which is called 'Take It to the Zoo' together with myself.</ref>
On March 13, 1977, Sudano met Donna Summer, who was signed to Casablanca Records.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> Casablanca was the distributor for Sudano's label Millennium Records.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> The Brooklyn Dreams and Summer immediately began writing songs together and within a few months Sudano and Summer were dating.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> In 1978, the band penned "Take It to the Zoo" with Summer for the Thank God It's Friday soundtrack.<ref name="American Bandstand"/> The same year, the Brooklyn Dreams appeared in the movie American Hot Wax performing as the Planotones, a group created for the movie with long time friend Kenny Vance.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> They scored a Top 5 hit when they appeared on the single "Heaven Knows" with Esposito and Summer singing a duet.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became a certified million-selling Gold single in 1979.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/>
In 1979, Brooklyn Dreams and Summer wrote the title track "Bad Girls" for the best selling album of Summers' career Bad Girls.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> In addition to the title track, Sudano also co-wrote the songs "Lucky" and "On My Honor" with Summer and Harold Faltermeyer as well as "Can't Get to Sleep At Night" with Bob Conti.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> He then wrote the song "I'm A Rainbow", which was the title track to Summer's next LP. Unfortunately, it was shelved by Geffen Records and not released until 1996.
When Millennium Records changed their distribution to RCA, the Brooklyn Dreams contract was transferred to Casablanca Records.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> Under their new recording contract, Brooklyn Dreams recorded three more studio LPs. They released two albums in 1979: Sleepless Nights, produced by Bob Esty, and Joyride produced by Jürgen Koppers, an engineer for Giorgio Moroder.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> In 1980, they made their fourth and final album Won't Let Go, which they produced themselves.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> A song from this record, "Hollywood Knights" became the title track for the comedy The Hollywood Knights starring Tony Danza, Michelle Pfeiffer and Fran Drescher.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> In 2008, "Hollywood Knights" was sampled by Snoop Dogg on his song "Deez Hollywood Nights".
Brooklyn Dreams amicably disbanded in 1980 when Hokensen returned to New York after his mother died.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> Sudano and Summer continued writing songs together and were married the same year.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/>
Sudano was signed as a solo artist by RCA and released his first record The Fugitive Kind in 1981.<ref name="Gary James Interview" /> It featured a song "Starting Over Again" that Sudano had co-written with his wife Donna Summer about his parents' divorce. In 1980, the song was recorded and released by Dolly Parton on the album Dolly, Dolly, Dolly, and hit #1 on the U.S. country charts on May 24, 1980.<ref name="Gary James Interview" /><ref>Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 262.</ref> The song was recorded by Reba McEntire in 1995. Sudano spent two decades managing Summer's career.<ref name="Gary James Interview" /> They toured together, with Sudano playing keyboards and singing background vocals.<ref name="Gary James Interview" />
In 1984, Sudano wrote "Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin' (Too Good to Be True)" with Michael Omartian. Jermaine Jackson and Michael Jackson recorded the song as a duet for the album Jermaine Jackson.<ref name="Music Dish" /> The song was nominated at the 1985 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. In 1988, the song was covered by Robert Palmer.<ref name="Music Dish" /> During the same period, he co-wrote four songs on Summer's She Works Hard For The Money album. One of which was the adult contemporary hit, "Love Has A Mind of Its Own". In 1986, he co-wrote "Closest Thing To Perfect", the title track for the John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis movie Perfect.
In 2004, Sudano released a second solo record called Rainy Day Soul and scored three top ten Adult Contemporary hits and earned him the New Music Weekly 2004 Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year award.<ref name="Gary James Interview" />
Sudano's third solo record Life and the Romantic was released in 2009 and won the New Music Weekly Adult Contemporary Song of the Year award for the track "It's Her Wedding Day" which Sudano wrote about his daughter Amanda's marriage to her Johnnyswim bandmate Abner Ramirez.<ref name="Gary James Interview" /> Johnnyswim performed with Sudano on the track "Morning Song".<ref name="Gary James Interview" /> The song "A Glass of Red & the Sunset" and "Beyond Forever" have performed well on the smooth jazz charts.<ref name="Gary James Interview" /> In 2014, after the death of his wife, Sudano released the CD With Angels On A Carousel. Here he delicately and soulfully crafted songs that reflected his experience through this difficult experience.
In the fall of 2015, Sudano released a new album, The Burbank Sessions. While playing shows throughout 2014 with his newly formed Candyman Band, he continued writing and incorporated the new material into the sets. Once the dates for the year were concluded, he went into his rehearsal studio and recorded these new songs as he performed them, giving the CD a spontaneous and almost live feel. He followed the release with a run of US shows and an extensive European tour.
Three years after their first meeting, Sudano and Donna Summer were married by Pastor Jack Hayford on July 16, 1980 at The Church on the Way in Los Angeles, California. He became the step-father of Summer's daughter Mimi, from her first marriage to Austrian actor Helmut Sommer. Sudano and Summer had two more daughters together. Sudano and his family settled on a 56-acre ranch in Thousand Oaks, California.<ref name="Brooklyn Sudano Interview">Williams, Kam. "Rain: An Interview with Brooklyn Sudano". Blackfilm.com. Retrieved May 27, 2012.</ref>
The couple's first child, Brooklyn, was born in 1981 and named after Sudano's hometown.<ref name="Brooklyn Dreams 2.0"/> Their youngest daughter Amanda Grace was born on August 11, 1982.<ref name="Miller">Miller, Julie. "Donna Summer, Grammy-Winning Disco Legend, Dies at 63". Vanity Fair. vanityfair.com. Retrieved May 26, 2012.</ref> In 1991 the family moved to Connecticut and remained there for four years.<ref name="Brooklyn Sudano Interview" /> In 1995, they relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, keeping a second home in Englewood, Florida and later buying a third home in Manhattan.<ref name="Brooklyn Sudano Interview" /> On May 17, 2012, Donna Summer Sudano died from lung cancer.<ref>Hough, Andrew (17 May 2012). "Donna Summer, 'queen of disco', dies age 63 after cancer battle". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2012.</ref>
- Official Site for Bruce Sudano
- Interview With Hit Songwriter Bruce Sudano
- Brooklyn Dreams 2.0: A Conversation with Bruce Sudano and Joe "Bean" Esposito
- Interview With Bruce Sudano Of Alive N Kickin'
- 2015 Interview with Bruce Sudano and new album "Brooklyn Dreams" plus career retrospective and anecdotes
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