Sparks is an American rock and pop band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by brothers Ron (keyboards; born August 12, 1945) and Russell Mael (vocals; born October 5, 1948 in Santa Monica, California), renamed from Halfnelson. Best known for their quirky approach to songwriting, Sparks' music is often accompanied by intelligent, sophisticated, and acerbic lyrics, and an idiosyncratic, theatrical stage presence, typified in the contrast between Russell's wide-eyed hyperactive frontman antics and Ron's sedentary scowling. Starting with "Lil' Beethoven" in 2001, the band began performing their albums in their entirety. 2008 saw the band perform all 21 of their albums in successive nights at the Islington Academy and Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.
Though the band's long career has seen them successfully pioneer many different musical genres; including glam rock, power pop, electronic dance music, mainstream pop and most recently chamber pop, Sparks have arguably created their own unique musical universe. While achieving chart success in various countries around the world including United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the United States, they have enjoyed a cult following since their first releases. Sparks have been highly influential on the development of popular music.
Sparks are best known for the songs "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us", which reached number 2 in the British charts in 1974, "When I'm With You" which topped the French Charts in 1980, and "When Do I Get To Sing 'My Way'" which topped the German and European charts in 1994/95 and was the top airplay record in Germany for 1994. They are also noted for Russell Mael's falsetto voice and Ron Mael's keyboard style as well as their stage presence.