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Jackie Gleason

Jackie Gleason


For nearly three decades, songwriter/producer Desmond Child has reigned as one of music's most successful creative forces. His list of accolades includes Grammy awards, 70 Top 40 singles, and songs that have sold over 300 million albums worldwide. His collaborations include Bon Jovi, Bonnie Tyler, Selena, Aerosmith, Sakis Rouvas, Scorpions, Ricky Martin, KISS, Kelly Clarkson, Dream Theater, Steve Vai, Cher, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Roxette, Tina Turner and Alice Cooper. "Desmond's a chameleon", Aerosmith's Steven Tyler told Rolling Stone. "The first time we met, we wrote "Angel" in about an hour and 45 minutes - and I'm not bullshitting. The guy's a fucking genius."Desmond Child was born in Gainesville, Florida, and raised in Miami and Ponce, Puerto Rico where his Cuban songwriter mother, Elena Casals, taught him to play the piano at an early age. In high school, Child formed his first band. It was an acoustic collaboration with a high school friend. Child went on to attend Miami-Dade College. It was in Miami, that he formed the group 'Desmond Child and Rouge' in 1973 with singers Maria Vidal and Diana Grasselli. Soon after, he moved the group to New York City to pursue their musical dreams, where they recruited another singer, Myriam Valle. "My band Desmond Child and Rouge recorded two albums for Capitol in 1979 and we had a dance hit, "Our Love Is Insane", recalls Child. "But ultimately, we were doing something very different and urban. We weren't really understood by our label." "Our Love Is Insane" reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979.Child’s experience as a recording artist would soon play a role in his songwriting future. His songs caught the ear of KISS guitarist Paul Stanley, who asked Desmond to co-write a track for the band's 1979 Dynasty album. The result was "I Was Made for Loving You", which is still one of the biggest hits in the KISS catalogue. Paul Stanley then passed Child's phone number to New Jersey rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Jon called Desmond and the three ended up in the basement of Sambora's parents' house, where they penned Bon Jovi's first number-one single, "You Give Love a Bad Name". The collaborations continued and they followed with two more chart-toppers, "Livin' on a Prayer" from the band's breakthrough album Slippery When Wet and "Bad Medicine" from the follow-up, New Jersey.Child soon began duplicating the feat with other major artists. He hooked up with Aerosmith and wrote "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" and "Angel" (from the their 1987 comeback album, Permanent Vacation), "What it Takes" (Pump, 1989), and "Crazy" (Get a Grip, 1993). During the same period, he co-wrote Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and also co-wrote all of the tracks on Alice Cooper's Trash LP (1989, including the hit single "Poison"). At this point, Child began branching out from his rock base, co-penning Michael Bolton’s "How Can We Be Lovers", as well as co-writing and producing "Just Like Jesse James" and "We All Sleep Alone" for Cher. In the midst of all of his success, he also found time to record the solo album, Discipline (Elektra, 1991), which contained his own Top 40 hit, "Love on a Rooftop". In 1993, Desmond wrote a song in Spanish, titled "Tú Serás la Historia de Mi Vida", for Colombian singer Shakira's second studio album Peligro. However, the song and the whole album itself lacked the production cohesion and it led the album as a commercial failure. In the late 1990s, Child returned to his Latin heritage via collaborations with Ricky Martin. Their efforts resulted in the number-one worldwide smash "Livin' La Vida Loca". The two also worked on "The Cup of Life", which was used as the official song of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The single reached the top of the charts in 25 countries.Despite having worked for nearly 30 years as a writer, producer, and artist, Child remains enthusiastic. "I think I was born with a certain drive and sense of destiny, that keeps me going", said Child in an interview with SongwriterUniverse. "Maybe it was, because I was born poor; I wanted to win for the family. I still put a lot of energy in what I do. [...\] I try to live a lot, so I have new experiences, that I can write about." More than twenty years after his partnership with KISS, Desmond Child remains in-demand. He has now worked with artists such as The Rasmus, Joss Stone, David Archuleta, Kelly Clarkson, Scorpions, Hilary Duff, Meat Loaf, and Ace Young. "The Desmond you don't know about," said Jon Bon Jovi, "is the one, who not only taught me the next level of songwriting, but so many of the true aspects of friendship: truth, honor and loyalty. We've been through a lot together - the ups and the downs... and the ups again."Desmond Child was inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2013, Desmond Child co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame along with fellow Cuban-American composer Rudy Pérez.

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