It is so exciting to have a world-renowned music group with its roots right here in Omaha! Mannheim Steamroller was founded back in the 1970’s by composer and musician Chip Davis. He and his friend Jackson Berkey wrote and arranged the first music recorded by this group, and are still working together today.
The meaning behind the band’s name originates in Germany. Famous composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lived in Mannheim, Germany, which is where some of their inspiration came from. In the 18th century, a “Mannheim Steamroller” was a musical technique known as a crescendo to you and I today. They were able to, with this catchy name, help establish the genre of “New Age” music.
Back in the beginning days of the group, Chip was unable to find a record label that would sign with him, so he created his own, called American Gramaphone. His label is now one of the most successful independent music franchises in history! Chip was able to lead his crew to sell over 40 million albums in their career, which has outsold other huge artists such as Billy Joel and Bon Jovi.
Mannheim Steamroller is probably most known for their Christmas music and tour, which has been going on for 25 years now! They are known as the #1 Christmas music artist of all time, selling over 27 million albums. Their Christmas Tour is so popular, they send out 2 travelling groups in order to meet the high demand of fans. They have performed all over the world, including London, St. Petersburg, Russia, all over Germany, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico.
Ironically enough, Chip Davis was told by the music industry NOT to record a Christmas Album because it would ruin his career. It’s a good thing he didn’t listen to them, because they have sold millions of albums and have changed the sound of Christmas music forever!