All hits, no misses for the band behind the bands
NEW YORK – After decades of helping deliver dozens of hits with the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Carly Simon, THE HIT MEN – the music industry’s “youngest senior citizens” – have finally taken several large steps toward stardom on their own terms, with original music that bears no other names but theirs.
“You Can’t Fight Love,” the HIT MEN’s first original single and music video, were released Oct. 20. The song will be featured on THE HIT MEN’s upcoming album, DON’T STOP, slated to follow. No other group of sidemen from rock’s golden era – not even the revered Wrecking Crew – can make such a bold claim.
What the Wrecking Crew meant to the pop music revolution of the ’60s, THE HIT MEN have meant to the some of the most indelible hits of the ’70s and beyond. It’s only now that the evolution of THE HIT MEN’S story – fueled, in part, by their countless firsthand experiences as eyewitnesses to rock history – has become a revelation.
From transistor radios, vinyl, 8-track tapes and cassettes to the Sony Walkman, CD’s, digital downloads and the Apple iPod, the members of THE HIT MEN – Lee Shapiro (keyboardist/founder), Jimmy Ryan (lead guitarist/vocalist/founding member), Russ Velazquez (vocalist/keyboardist/percussionist), Steve Murphy (drummer/vocalist) and Jeff Ganz (bassist/vocalist) – have seen and heard it all.
THE HIT MEN are currently on a fall tour to support DON’T STOP that travels the East and West Coasts, with stretches in the Midwest, South and Southwest. Along the way, they’ll be engaging audiences of all ages in light-hearted, self-deprecating fashion, as they continue to sign up new members of THE HIT MEN “faithful” wherever they’ve played since coming together in pristine harmony seven years and hundreds of shows ago.
“One main reason our singing and playing is so strong is that none of us ever stopped, so we didn’t get rusty,” says Jimmy Ryan. “Our voices have remained kind of young. We honestly don’t sound like we look.”
THE HIT MEN bring the hits on stage – and in the studio – with astounding vibrancy, from so many rock greats and legends. Aside from the aforementioned Paul McCartney, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Carly Simon, THE HIT MEN also count Lou Reed, Foreigner, Sting, Barry Manilow, Carole King, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Cheap Trick, Chicago, and yes, even LL Cool J, in their collective court. Combined, THE HIT MEN have played on some 85 albums, many of them gold and multi-platinum.
Indeed, the HIT MEN are hardly steeped in the past. But thanks to their illustrious pasts, they sure know good songs when they hear ’em, and are especially attracted to well-written songs with great melody and hooks. No wonder the members share a fondness for contemporary stars like Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, John Legend and Jason Mraz.
“We’re the youngest senior citizens there are,” proclaims fellow HIT MEN founder Lee Shapiro. And truth be told, with ages ranging from 52 to 70, most of the HIT MEN are not yet officially seniors.
They might be “old dogs” but, says Shapiro, “All of us are still living our dream.”
THE HIT MEN prove you absolutely can teach old dogs new “tracks.”