Russell Mael

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Russell Mael
Russ Mael 1972.jpg
Russell Mael in 1972
Background information
Birth name Russell Craig Mael[1]
Born (1948-10-05) October 5, 1948 (age 65)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupations Singer-songwriter, producer, recording engineer, director
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1968–present
Labels Bearsville, Warner Bros., Island, Atlantic, Curb, Virgin, CBS, Elektra, RCA, Roadrunner, Lil' Beethoven Records
Associated acts Halfnelson, Sparks

Russell Craig Mael (born October 5, 1948 in Santa Monica, California)[2][3] is an American singer and songwriter who, with his elder brother Ron, formed the band Sparks in 1971, which was renamed from Halfnelson. He is also the co-founder of Lil' Beethoven Records.


Early life[edit]

The Mael brothers grew up in Pacific Palisades - a relatively affluent suburb of Los Angeles - with their father, Meyer Mael (of Russian and Austrian Jewish descent),[4][5] who was a graphic designer and caricaturist for the Hollywood Citizen-News,[6][7] and their mother, Miriam (née Moskowitz), a librarian.[8] After being educated at Palisades High School (where Russell, in the "Class of '65" alongside Michael Medved and David Wallechinsky, played as quarterback for the Palisades High School Dolphins), both brothers enrolled at UCLA;[9] Ron began a course in Cinema and Graphic Arts in 1963 while Russell studied Theater Arts and Filmmaking between 1966-1968.[10]


Main article: Sparks (band)

Well known for his wide vocal range, Russell's most notable vocal trait is a far-reaching falsetto, especially evident on songs such as "Equator" from Sparks' Kimono My House album.[citation needed] He is also known for his flamboyant and hyperactive stage presence.

He has recorded 22 albums with his band, Sparks.[11] The band has a cult following around the world and are best known for the song "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" which reached number 2 in the U.K. Singles Chart.[12]

The pair appear as themselves in the 1977 disaster film Rollercoaster, performing live. They also appeared in episode twenty-two of season six of the Gilmore Girls.


  1. ^ California Birth Index, 1905 - 1995, [1] (Birth Date: 10/5/1948, County of Birth: Los Angeles, Mother's Maiden Name: Moskowski)
  2. ^ Family Tree Legends
  3. ^ Russell Mael at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ "1940 United States Federal Census". Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Axelrod, Merry Anne. "Re: (It's A Samuel) Mael World". Retrieved 8 November 2012. [The author is a cousin of Russell and Ron; her father, Alvin, is listed as being Meyer's brother on the 1940 census]. 
  6. ^ "Myer Mael: "Roy Rogers" Object Record". Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Harrietta Hughes on the cover of Republic Insider Magazine 1947". Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Lorente-Darracq, Xavier. "Ron Mael and Russell Mael - Biography". Graphik Designs. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Welch, Chris. "Bright Sparks". Melody Maker. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Lorente-Darracq, Xavier. "op. cit.". Graphik Designs. 
  11. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Sparks: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Singles". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 

External links[edit]