Best known for producing innovative Christmas music albums, Mannheim Steamroller (the musical moniker for classically trained composer Chip Davis) has become one of the world's most influential and beloved instrumental acts. Of Mannheim Steamrollers' 36 million album sales, over 20 million of those sold have been Christmas albums--making Davis' music a holiday staple in many households worldwide. Davis started composing in a style he called "18th Century classical rock" in the mid '70s, recording the album Fresh Aire in 1975. The style--classical music played with electric bass and synthesizers--proved a little too novel for the mainstream market, so Davis created his own music label, American Gramaphone, and distributed his album to audio showrooms rather than record stores. His music became an instant hit with audiophiles (who frequented such showrooms) worldwide. Mainstream success finally came in the form of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Davis' first holiday album, which surprised the music industry by selling over 5 million copies. This groundbreaking hybrid sound of classical rock would ultimately be the precursor to the phenomenally successful new age music movement.
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