Laura Branigan, Evolution

Laura Branigan

Richie performed on tour with Laura during the peak of her career. He was her drummer for all live performances and TV shows from 1983 through 1985, touring the USA as well as Canada and Mexico; performed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson twice, Solid Gold, and Solid Gold Hits, as well as other TV shows of the day. Also, Richie can be seen in the video release: "Laura Branigan", a one hour live performance from Caesars Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, NV.

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Also during this same time period, Richie had worked with a band called The Criminals.

The lead singer of The Criminals, Tom Nielsen, was one of the stars of the CBS TV soap "The Guiding Light". In turn, The Criminals appeared on that show three times in 1984. Other members of this group were from the bands of Bryan Adams, Dire Straits, Ian Hunter, and Laura Branigan.
As well as working with The Andy Parks Band (aka John Andrew Parks), a talented singer/songwriter from Texas, Richie worked with Dr. John, and John Pousette-Dart on various one-off gigs. He would also work as a session musician on various recordings for numerous would-be pop stars.

In 1987, Richie made a brief appearance on an album by Billy Branigan (yes, the brother of) called "Make A Move" (Polygram), while for a period of time, played in a group with Steve and John Conte, who today are known as The Contes.


By this time Richie's ambitions started to shift from being a band member, to being a solo artist. His songwriting skills had developed to the point where he felt he was ready. With the ability to play different instruments, and arrange them in a cohesive way, he acquired the production values he needed to get his music across. In doing so, he developed a sound of his own; a sound that encompassed his earlier influences, as well as what he had learned from the top musicians that he was privileged to have worked with (and you know who you are!).

After 3 development budgets from Atlantic Records, including one from Doug Morris (then president of Atlantic Records), Richie had crossed the line from musician/player, to singer/songwriter.
Subsequently, the result has been an ever-growing catalog of material containing a substantial number of songs, many of which have recently been selected for the album titled "Steady On The Steel", now available through this web site.
But, there is another facet to Richie's compositional endeavors. He has also made songwriting contibutions to various other projects. One being Skyshapers, a motivational/entertainment program for kids. His songs "The Good Life" and "Wanna Be A Skyshaper" can be heard at, along with music contributed by people like the renowned guitarist, Chris Spedding.
And then there's Songs Of Love, for which songwriters contribute personalized compositions for terminally ill children. Richie Fontana, as well as writers like Billy Joel, Will Lee, Steve & John Conte of The Contes, and many many others, have written music for this very worthy cause - one that is truly a labor of love.
So, the art of music making does have many joys, and for Richie Fontana, it remains the love of his life to this day.
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