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Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Carly Simon, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Carole King, Tommy James & The Shondells, Sting, Paul McCartney, Three Dog Night, Christopher Cross and Alan Parsons were among the most beloved and influential pop music artists of the second half of the 20th century. And all share another common denominator: at some point during their careers, each had at least one of THE HIT MEN playing behind them on the road or in the studio.
THE HIT MEN – a supergroup consisting of Lee Shapiro, Jimmy Ryan, Larry Gates, Russ Velazquez and Steve Murphy – either played, sang or did both on some of the most memorable hits of the era, including “Who Loves You”, “Oh What a Night”, “The Loco-motion”, “Peace Train”, “MonyMony”, “Joy to the World” and other songs in which they used their talents to spin wax into gold and platinum.
Lee Shapiro is a producer, arranger and musician who not only arranged some of the Four Seasons biggest hits, but also collaborated with artists ranging from Barry Manilow, Tony Orlando, and Tommy James.
Jimmy Ryan began his career in the 1960s as lead guitarist, singer and a songwriter for The Critters. He’s been a backup singer, arranger and occasional co-writer with Carly Simon, and his guitar is heard on albums by Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney and Elton John.
Larry Gates is a singer, lyricist and composer who has worked with an eclectic array of artists including Carole King, Janis Ian and Rick Derringer. His music and voice can be heard on numerous national television commercials.
Russ Velazquez is a singer, composer and arranger whose credits read like a musical Who’s Who. He has collaborated with everyone from Sting, The Ramones, and LL Cool J to Luther Vandross, Korn and Paul Abdul. He’s been nominated for four Emmy Awards for his work on Sesame Street and his song “2BA Master” hit the top of the children’s music charts and Radio Disney.
Steve Murphy is a drummer, singer, producer and engineer who has toured with The Alan Parsons Project, Jack Bruce, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Chuck Negron, Felix Cavaliere, Dave Mason, Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Mark Farner, The Turtles, Mickey Dolenz, Gary Puckett, Mitch Ryder and over a dozen more major artists from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
THE HIT MEN connect with audiences on a level rarely seen by today’s music acts. From the classic songs we all know and love (such as “Oh What a Night” & “You’re So Vain”) to the backstage stories never told until today, a HIT MEN show is like no other as they combine the music & the memories alongside exciting multimedia footage & visuals, evoking an unforgettable and nostalgic experience. “We can do whatever we want with complete legitimacy,” Shapiro said. “We have an emotional connection with the audience that tribute bands and soundalike bands can’t have. When we share our experiences and tell stories we aren’t reciting a script. We were there. When we tell you how ‘My Eyes Adored You’ was originally called ‘Sweet Eyes of Georgia,’ we know because we were there..”
Reliving the magic they created on stages around the world & in recording studios with some of our most cherished musical artists, when THE HIT MEN take the stage today, it’s easy to see why their music has transcended generations. Now touring across the country, they have performed at prestigious theatres such as Town Hall in New York City, the Barbara Mann in Ft. Myers FL, the Gallo Theatre in Modesto and with symphony orchestras in Grand Rapids MI, Allentown PA, and Des Moines IA.
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