Rock Until You Drop: Michael Sembello

Michael’s voice is known more than his name. If you have watched Flashdance then you are familiar with Michael Sembello. He’s the voice behind = “Maniac”

She’s a maniac… a maniac… on the floor…
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before..

Michael popped up everywhere in the 80s, but I admit I know nothing about him, what about you?

Michael Sembello was born in Philly in 1954. He started his musical career by joining Stevie Wonder’s band in the 1970s. Sembello studied with Jazz great Pat Martino and he went on to become a session player for the likes of Sergio Mendes, The Jackson 5, Randy Crawford, David Sanborn, and many others.

Michael is a talented songwriter, guitar player, and vocalist. He released his first solo album, Bossa Nova Hotel in 1983, and the song “Maniac” was selected for inclusion in the movie Flashdance. “Maniac” became incredibly popular and spurred purchase of the soundtrack. His contribution to that soundtrack was rewarded with a Grammy Award in 1983 for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.

Sembello has spent much of his career scoring music to soundtracks for movies and film, some of which have achieved blockbuster commercial success. They are featured on such movies as Cocoon, Gremlins, Summer Lovers, The Monster Squad and Independence Day, among many others.

Sembello has been constantly active since the 1970s, and he is recording a new album set to be released in the Fall of this year. There is a rumor that he plans to include the song “Carousel,” the missing track from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album (Quincy Jones decided to replace “Carousel” at the last minute with “Human Nature”). On the 25th Anniversary Edition of Thriller a portion of the song “Carousel” was included (with the uncut version appearing on a few editions of the King of Pop compilations).

Michael continues to tour, write, produce and perform all over the world. Over the last year he performed in Ambon, Indonesia, Barcelona, Rome, Milan and Paris. In the spring of 2010, Coca-Cola UK kicked off their new Diet Coke campaign with Sembello’s version of “Maniac.” In recent years, he has introduced a brilliant and inspiring genre of music called “Bossa-Soul.”

My interest in Michael again was sparked when I came to learn that he sung the track “Rock Until You Drop” from Fred Drekker’s Monster Squad. I love that song, and I really love Monster Squad because essentially it’s The Goonies with Classic Monsters.


1983: Bossa Nova Hotel – #80 U.S.
1986: Without Walls
1992: Caravan of Dreams
1997: Backwards in Time (Released under Sembello)
1997: The Bridge (Japanese Release)
2002: Ancient Future
2003: The Lost Years
2003: The Lost Years (Japanese Version)

Here is a selection of videos:

1982’s “Summer Lovers” from “Summer Lovers”

1983’s “Automatic Man”

1983’s “Maniac” from “Flashdance”

1987’s “Rock Until You Drop” from “Monster Squad”

1985’s “Gravity” from “Cocoon”


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