There’s no mistaking Jerry Riopelle’s distinctive brand of hard driving roots rock. Riopelle’s music reflects a genuine lyrical honesty with heavy doses of rhythm and blues, rock and country, flavored with a unique mix of jazz and reggae sounds. Riopelle is an artist whose work, both in the studio and on stage, has refused to be categorized. His natural ability to draw from different contemporary styles while utilizing wide ranging instrumental ideas and rhythmic variations gives the Riopelle sound a very distinct character.
Born in Detroit and raised in Tampa, Riopelle began his musical career in Los Angeles in the 1960s by learning the ropes of independent record production. After playing drums for the Hollywood Argyles he signed as a staff writer for Screen Gems. Upon hearing a single Jerry had written and produced for Clydie King entitled "The Thrill is Gone," Phil Spector hired him as a staff writer and producer for Philles/Phi-Dan Record labels.
In 1965 Jerry produced a Billboard hot 100 hit, "Home of the Brave" recorded by Bonnie & The Treasures. Two independently-produced top 40 hit singles for recording artists April Stevens & Nino Tempo and The Parade (of which he was a writer and founding member), landed Riopelle a job as producer at A&M Records as well as a staff writer slot at Irving Music. During that time he wrote and produced for The We Five, Brewer & Shipley, The Parade, Shango, and many others. His songs have been covered by numerous artists including Herb Alpert, Joan Baez, Leon Russell, Kenny Loggins, Rita Coolidge and Meat Loaf. During his years in Hollywood, Jerry also wrote many songs and musical pieces for films and television.
The trademark Riopelle sound caught the ear of radio programmers and their listeners in the Southwestern states in the early 70s, when Jerry released his first, self-titled album for Capitol Records. Arizona caught on quickly to this L.A. singer/songwriter's talent, and in 1974 following the release of Jerry’s third album "Saving Grace", Riopelle performed as the support act for Dr. John at the legendary Celebrity Theatre on New Year’s Eve. That, coupled with the heavy radio airplay of Riopelle’s hits including "Walkin’ on Water", "Blues on my Table", "Red Ball Texas Flyer", and "Naomi’s Song", ensured that would be the last time Riopelle would be the opening act for anyone again in Arizona, and that his headlining, high energy shows were always a guaranteed sell out. Riopelle’s southwestern success soon reached out to other pockets of the country as well as Europe. Following 1974’s show, a Jerry Riopelle New Year's Eve concert became a legendary staple in the state of Arizona.
From 1974, through his last several years of semi-retirement, and up until his untimely passing in December 2018, Jerry maintained and still maintains an extraordinary loyal following.
In 2005, Phoenix mayor, Phil Gordon, proclaimed Dec. 31st ‘Jerry Riopelle Day’ in Phoenix.
In 2007, Jerry was inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Jerry invented and received patents for Beamz®, a revolutionary musical device, for which he was awarded the 2003 Innovator of the Year award at the Arizona Technology Expo and since then, Beamz® has gained national recognition and has won many awards and accolades for its benefits in recreational music and occupational therapy.