Trevor Rabin (born January 13, 1954) is a South African-American musician, best known as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the British progressive rock band Yes from 1983–1994, and since then, as a film composer.
Early Music Years
Rabin was born Trevor Charles Rabin and comes from a family of classical musicians in Johannesburg, South Africa, where his father Godfrey was lead violinist for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Educated at a public school in Johannesburg, he took formal piano training before discovering the guitar at age 12. His parents encouraged his talents toward rock music, although Rabin would maintain his interest in Classical music throughout his career. Rabin also briefly studied orchestration at the University of Johannesburg, and later arranged and conducted for many artists in South Africa.
Rabin's early influences included Arnold Schoenberg, Tchaikovsky, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. He also dabbled with progressive and heavy rock with his first bands, The Conglomeration and Freedom's Children. During this same period, Rabin became a highly sought after session guitarist and bassist, playing with many jazz bands in South Africa.
In 1974, Rabin formed his first major recording group, Rabbitt along with Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Robot (bass guitar) and Duncan Faure (keyboards, guitar, vocals). Their first single, released in 1975, was a cover of Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath". It later appeared on their debut album, Boys Will Be Boys, which otherwise featured original songs penned by Trevor Rabin.
Rabbitt's second album, A Croak and a Grunt in the Night, was released in 1977. Trevor Rabin would go on to win a South African Sarie music award (that country's answer to the Grammy Awards) for his co-production on the album. Momentum gained with a short-term record distribution deal with Capricorn in the United States. Rabbit, however, saw no commercial success abroad, hindered by an inability to secure tour dates. It has been suggested that the South African Governments policies at that time, prevented too much interest in bands from that country. Trevor decided to leave South Africa, and Rabbit soon disbanded.
After moving to London in 1978, Trevor recorded his first solo album, Beginnings. It was released in England and the US simply as Trevor Rabin, with a slightly different track listing. While some songs were reminiscent of Rabbitt, Rabin's guitar playing was more prominent as it would continue to be on his successive solo albums. He also established Blue Chip Music and struck an international deal with Chrysalis
YES - a Rebirth
Rabin, while in Los Angeles, met bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White, longtime members of Yes. Rabin, Squire and White began collaborating under the name Cinema in early 1982. Later on they enlisted original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye to complement their live performances.
Produced by yet another former Yes member, Trevor Horn, what was to become the 90125 album came together over eight months in 1982. During his time in Los Angeles, Rabin had written several songs that formed the project's nucleus. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" evolved into a catchy riff-oriented song that Horn seized upon as a potential single.
With the question of a vocalist still up in the air, Squire encountered Anderson at a Los Angeles party and Anderson expressed interest in hearing what Cinema were working on. Squire acquiesced, and Anderson was so impressed by the songs he heard, especially "Leave It", that he joined the group, adding vocal tracks to the mostly already-written songs, very late in the recording of 90125. Because the band now featured four former members of Yes, including Anderson, who was especially strongly identified with Yes in the public eye, the band (over Rabin's objections) chose to revive the Yes name rather than call itself Cinema, a name which in any case was already in use. The new Yes would meet with critical and commercial success, though not without some harsh criticism from fans of earlier incarnations of the band.
Both "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Leave It" became major hits, with "Owner" being the band's only #1 single in most major markets including the US; along with heavy airplay of several other tracks, this helped propel 90125 to six million sales between 1983 and 1985, making it the most commercially successful of all Yes albums. Yes also received a Grammy award in 1984 for the instrumental "Cinema". The band toured behind the album, in a series of well-received concerts across Europe and the Americas. In England and North America many younger fans were introduced to the earlier Yes catalogue because of the success of the 90125 album and its popular singles.
9012Live debuted as a live album and video package, taken from the group's 1984 shows in Edmonton, Canada and Dortmund, Germany. On the former recording, Trevor Rabin contributed his acoustic guitar solo, "Solly's Beard".
In early 1986, Yes began recording its next album with Trevor Horn, but the production became bogged down due largely to personal differences among Anderson, Squire and Horn. Eventually, Rabin assumed control of the project, with Horn being fired as producer well before recording was complete. Rough tape demos have emerged with Trevor Rabin singing lead vocals on "Final Eyes" and "Rhythm of Love."
Big Generator emerged in late 1987, with singles "Love Will Find a Way" and "Rhythm of Love." Both were modest chart hits compared to the singles from 90125, though the album sold very well. The song "Shoot High, Aim Low" featured a dual lead vocal between Rabin and Jon Anderson.
After the tour, Anderson left Yes for the second time, though his departure would prove short-lived. Trevor Rabin expressed a guarded neutrality over the split between Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, who briefly led rival groups consisting of Yes members. Squire held the Yes name, which now encompassed himself, Rabin, White and nominally Kaye, though the latter's involvement was minimal; Anderson formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe -- a line-up he felt better represented Yes.
While Yes members, old and new, quarrelled over rights to the Yes trademark, Rabin completed his fourth and final-to-date solo album, Can't Look Away, released in 1989. The album's lead single, "Something to Hold On To", earned a Grammy for Best Music Video and topped the AOR charts for two weeks.
Trevor would tour with Yes, yet again, with an eight man incarnation of the group. A melding of Anderson, Squire, Wakemen, White, Rabin, Bruford, Kaye and Howe. Though achieving good concert turnouts and superb critical reviews, the band never lasted their entire tour, with Howe and Bruford leaving the group.
Following the 1994 tour, Trevor Rabin resigned from Yes to become a soundtrack composer.
He visited his native South Africa and performed Yes and Rabbitt songs during the Prince's Trust Concert. Trevor Rabin released demo versions of pre-90125 Yes compositions and solo work, entitled 90124, as well as Live in LA, recorded at the Roxy in Los Angeles in late 1989. Most recently, aside from his film work, Trevor Rabin performed in aid of the Prince's Trust with Yes at the Wembley Arena in London, where he served as lead guitarist and lead singer.
Trevor Rabin has scored over two dozen films which include: Bad Company, Con Air, Homegrown, Armageddon, Jack Frost, Deep Blue Sea, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Remember the Titans, The 6th Day, The Banger Sisters, Kangaroo Jack, Bad Boys 2, The Great Raid, Exorcist: The Beginning, National Treasure, Coach Carter and most recently Glory Road, Snakes on a Plane, The Glimmer Man, Flyboys, Gridiron Gang, Hot Rod, The Guardian, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Get Smart.
Along with several Grammy nominations and one Grammy win, Trevor Rabin also has received eight BMI film score awards, and has received a lifetime achievement award from the Temecula Film Festival. His composition 'Titans Spirit' from Remember the Titans has been frequently featured in NBC's closing montage and credits for their Olympics coverage. It was also played following United States President-Elect Barack Obama's speech upon winning the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, and served as the backdrop for the ensuing celebration. He has been married for two decades to Shelley Rabin. They have one son, Ryan Rabin, who recently began his own career as a rock drummer in the band The Outline, signed to Fearless Records in Los Angeles.
Solo Discography and Soundtracks
* Trevor Rabin (1978) also known as Beginnings (2003) * Face to Face (1979) * Wolf (1981) * Can't Look Away (1989) * Live in LA (2003) * 90124 (2003)
* Con Air (1997) (With Mark Mancina) * Armageddon (1998) (With Harry Gregson-Williams) * Enemy of the State (1999) (With Harry Gregson-Williams) * Deep Blue Sea (1999) * Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) * The 6th Day (2000) * Remember the Titans (2000) * American Outlaws (2001) * The One (2001) * Rock Star (2001) * National Treasure (2004) * Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) * The Great Raid (2005) * Coach Carter (2005) (With Ashanti) * Flyboys (2006) * The Guardian (2006) * Snakes on a Plane (2006) * Hot Rod (2007) * National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) * Get Smart (2008) * G-Force (2009) * 12 Rounds (2009) * Race to Witch Mountain (2009) * S.M.A.S.H. (2009)