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Trevor Rabin in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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OWN CORRESPONDENT

The former South African told Andy Greene, associate editor of Rolling Stone magazine recently that “you’d probably know better than I, but I think I’m the first South African!”

On Facebook, Trevor wrote: “Today’s news was very humbling. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an incredible honour…”

In the 70s Trevor was the former guitarist, songwriter and vocalist with South Africa’s biggest rock phenomenon ever, Rabbitt. The band, which was formed in 1975, generated the same kind of mania in South Africa as Beatle Mania in the UK. Rabbitt recorded three gold albums and won seven SARIE awards (SA’s Grammy) for best group from 1976-1978.

Trevor left the band in 1978, after two albums, to pursue a solo career. He moved to London and later joined English band “Yes” for whom he wrote the unforgettable number one hit – “Owner of a Lonely Heart”.

Trevor’s paternal grandfather was Jewish and a Lithuanian cantor and his father, Godfrey, was a jazz musician. Trevor grew up in an observant home and his mother converted to Judaism. He married his high school sweetheart Shelley May in 1978, and, with his solo career in flux, they moved from London to California in 1981 and eventually had a son, [Ryan.]

Ryan Rabin recalls growing up in “a super hippie-reformed” congregation in Los Angeles, led by a rabbi who “fancied himself a very serious musician”.

Rolling Stone magazine credits Trevor for reviving Yes and launching a new era of their career. After leaving the band in 1995 to pursue a career in composing, Trevor got back together with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman earlier this year to form Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW), and they’ve been touring the US this year.

And in December the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Yes is one of its official 2017 Rock Hall Inductees. The others are: Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez, Journey, Tupac, Pearl Jam and Nile Rodgers.

During the last couple of decades Trevor has been living in California and has become one of Hollywood’s most successful and in-demand film composers, with movies like “Armageddon” and the “National Treasure” films to his name.

Johannesburg-born Trevor – whose father was a lawyer and respected violinist, and mother was an actress and classical pianist – fell into composing by accident. After giving Steven Seagal a few guitar lessons, the grateful – and impressed – Hollywood movie star offered him the opportunity to compose the score for “The Glimmer Man”.

Now, some 20 years later, Trevor has scored over 50 movies, many with legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer who describes Trevor as being able to “do just about anything”.

Bruckheimer calls Trevor “very easy-going. He doesn’t get rattled. He’s somebody you love working with because, no matter what, he’s there to please the director and give him exactly what he wants.”

Trevor told Rolling Stone he had thought he’d do a couple of movies and then return to performing… but “here we are 50 movies later and over a dozen Bruckheimer movies later… Someone mentioned it was over seven billion dollars in box office. I was like, ‘Oh, G-d. That was never my intention!’

“It’s been pretty awesome. I would never have guessed this would happen. I thought at this stage of my life, at 62, I might be teaching guitar or maybe orchestration at some college or something. But here I am in these old bones still hitting the road.”

During his career Trevor has notched up various accolades, including collaborations with Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Nobel Prize-winner Bob Dylan… and he’ll be remembered in American history for his inspirational theme from “Remember the Titans” being played when Barack Obama finished his US presidential acceptance speech.

Back in South Africa he’ll be remembered for hits like “Charlie”… and for making South Africa proud!

“If the only thing guitarist Trevor Rabin did with his life was write ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’, he’d go down in rock history as the man who brought Yes back from the dead in 1983 and launched a whole new era of their career, writes Andy Greene.

“But after spending a decade in the group, he switched gears in the mid-1990s and began scoring movies. He never imagined he’d become one of the most successful composers in Hollywood with well over 50 scores to his name, including Con Air, Gone In 60 Seconds, Bad Boys II and Get Smart. Earlier this year he re-teamed with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman of Yes to form Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman. Not long after their first US tour wrapped, he got the news that he was entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Said Trevor: “Here we are 50 movies later and over a dozen Bruckheimer movies later. I don’t know what it is. Someone mentioned it was over 7 billion dollars in box office… It’s been pretty awesome. I would never have guessed this would happen. I thought at this stage of my life, at 62, I might be teaching guitar or maybe orchestration at some college or something. But here I am in these old bones still hitting the road.

 

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