Felix Cavaliere

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Felix Cavaliere
Cavaliere in 2009
Cavaliere in 2009
Background information
Born (1944-11-29) November 29, 1944 (age 77)
Pelham, New York, U.S.
GenresRock, soul, soft rock[1][2]
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
Years active1965–present
LabelsBearsville, Wounded Bird, MCA, Stax

Felix Cavaliere (born November 29, 1944) is an American musician and singer-songwriter. He is best known for being the lead vocalist and keyboard player for The Young Rascals.

Although he was a member of Joey Dee and the Starliters, best known for their hit "Peppermint Twist",[3] he is best known for his association with the Young Rascals during the 1960s. The other members of The Rascals were Eddie Brigati, Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish. Cavaliere sang vocals on six of their successful singles and played the Hammond B-3 organ.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Cavaliere was born to an Italian American family in Pelham, New York on November 29, 1944.[5] At an early age, he studied piano at the Allaire School of Music[6] at his mother's behest from age 6 until her death when he was 14.[4] He enrolled at Syracuse University in the early 1960s as a pre-med major and performed at fraternity and sorority parties with his band The Escorts.[7][8][9] At the beginning of his junior year, he left Syracuse to pursue an opportunity to be a musician at a Borscht Belt resort in the Catskills.[7][10] He was friends with poet and songwriter Stephen Kalinich, and they both were in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.[11]


He joined The Stereos, and moved on to form The Escorts, while attending Syracuse. He later produced albums by other artists[12] such as Laura Nyro and Jimmie Spheeris.

Following a pair of solo efforts, Cavaliere recorded under the band name Treasure and released a self-titled AOR-styled album in 1977 which featured future Kiss member Vinnie Vincent on guitar. Cavaliere had a solo hit with "Only a Lonely Heart Sees" (1980), which reached No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[13] Cavaliere and former Rascals bandmate Dino Danelli joined Steve Van Zandt to record Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul's album, Men Without Women (1982).[14] However, Cavaliere strongly disputes this and claims that he was never a member of Little Steven's band.[15]

He recorded Dreams in Motion in 1994, produced by Don Was. During 1995, Cavaliere was a touring member of Ringo Starr's third All-Starr Band. Cavaliere can be seen playing keyboard in the official video for "Hey Girl" by Billy Joel, a cover version of the Carole King song, recorded by Billy Joel in 1997 to add to his Greatest Hits Volume III compilation. The track was released as a single, but Cavaliere was not playing on the recording.

On October 15, 2006, he inducted Vanilla Fudge into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. In 2008, he recorded an album with Steve Cropper, Nudge it Up a Notch, which was released July 29, 2008. He continues to tour as Felix Cavaliere's Rascals.[8] On April 24, 2010, all four members of the Rascals reunited for the Kristen Ann Carr benefit, which was held at New York's Tribeca Grill.

Cavaliere reunited with his bandmates when the Rascals appeared at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY for six shows in December 2012 and for fifteen dates at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway (April 15 – May 5, 2013). Their current production, entitled "Once Upon A Dream", is currently touring North America (Toronto, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit, Rochester, and New York City). It is produced by long-time Rascals' fans Steven Van Zandt and his wife Maureen.

He appeared with Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden on May 28, 2015.

In 2017 and 2018, Cavaliere was a spokesperson in a television infomercial for the Time Life The 60s Music CD collection.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1993, Cavaliere was inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Fame.[7]

In 1997, Cavaliere was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the (Young) Rascals.

On June 18, 2009, Cavaliere, along with former writing partner Eddie Brigati, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for having "changed the direction of pop music in 1965".[6]

In 2014, he was inducted into the Hammond Hall of Fame.[16]

Cavaliere was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Cavaliere was married to Mary Theresa (Thompson) Cavaliere for approximately 30 years and had three daughters with her. Cavaliere's daughter Aria Cavaliere is a singer based in Nashville, TN. He also has four grandchildren.[17] He lives in Nashville, TN, with his current wife Donna Lewis.[18][19]



Year Title Label Chart positions


1974 Felix Cavaliere Bearsville - -
1975 Destiny - -
1977 Treasure Epic - -
1979 Castles in the Air - -
1994 Dreams in Motion MCA - -
2008 Nudge it up a Notch Stax - 100
2010 Midnight Flyer[22] 32 -


Year Title Chart positions

1980 "Only a Lonely Heart Sees" 36 2
"Good to Have Love Back" 105 41


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William (November 29, 1944). "Felix Cavaliere". AllMusic. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Bruce Eder. "Castles in the Air". AllMusic. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "Felix Cavaliere THE RASCALS dumps on THE NEW RASCALS with Gene Cornish and Dino Danelli". YouTube. Retrieved June 25, 2014.[dead YouTube link]
  4. ^ a b "Felix Cavaliere". Hammondorganco.com. July 7, 2014.
  5. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 444. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  6. ^ a b "Felix Cavaliere". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Bialczak, Mark (June 19, 2011). "Felix Cavaliere played the porches of Syracuse University before becoming a Young Rascal". The Post-Standard. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  8. ^ a b ""Rascals" frontman Felix Cavaliere talks about new book". WSYR-TV. April 5, 2022. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  9. ^ Herbert, Geoff (April 25, 2022). "Forever a Rascal: Syracuse alum Felix Cavaliere shares lifelong love of music". The Post-Standard. Retrieved May 5, 2022. (subscription required)
  10. ^ James, Gary. "Interview With Felix Cavaliere Of The Young Rascals". classicbands.com. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  11. ^ Kubernik, Harvey (April 6, 2022). "Kubernik: The Rascals' Felix Cavaliere". Music Connection. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  12. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Felix Cavaliere". AllMusic. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 50.
  14. ^ Deming, Mark. "Steve Van Zandt, Men Without Women album". AllMusic. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  15. ^ "Felix Cavaliere THE RASCALS Radio Interview Part 1 THE STRANGE DAVE SHOW". YouTube. April 11, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2014.[dead YouTube link]
  16. ^ "HAMMOND HALL OF FAME – FRESHMAN CLASS | Hammond USA". hammondorganco.com. January 22, 2014. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "Lonely Too Long". People.com. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  18. ^ "Groovin' with Felix Cavaliere and his Rascals at The Ridgefield Playhouse". Ctpost.com. January 26, 2015.
  19. ^ "NEW YORK-NOV 17: Singer Felix Cavaliere (R) and wife Donna Lewis attend the ASCAP Centennial Awards at the Waldorf Astoria on November 17, 2014 in New York City. #449492314 - Larastock". Archived from the original on May 19, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  20. ^ "Felix Cavaliere: Heatseeker". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  21. ^ "Felix Cavaliere: R&B". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  22. ^ "Felix Cavaliere, Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  23. ^ "Felix Cavaliere: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  24. ^ "Felix Cavaliere: Adult Contemporay". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.

External links[edit]