Cinderella was an American glam metal band formed in 1982 in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band emerged in the mid-1980s with a series of multi-platinum studio albums and hit singles whose music videos received heavy MTV rotation and popularity. Cinderella initially had a heavy metal and glam metal sound throughout the late 1980s before shifting into a more blues rock-based sound during the early to mid 1990s.
By the mid-1990s, the band’s notoriety declined severely due to personal setbacks, break-ups, and changes in the American music industry. After a brief hiatus, Cinderella reunited in 1996 and continued to perform live, but never released any studio material after their 1994 album Still Climbing. The band has sold 15 million records worldwide, according to band member Tom Keifer’s official website. After participating in the 2014 “Monsters of Rock Cruise”, Cinderella again became inactive. In November 2017, Keifer stated that the band had no plans to reform in the future.
Early days (1982–1985)
Cinderella was formed in 1982 in Philadelphia suburb, Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania, by singer-songwriter, keyboardist, and guitarist Tom Keifer and bassist Eric Brittingham. The initial lineup also included guitarist Michael Schermick and drummer Tony Destra. In 1985, Shermick and Destra left to form Britny Fox, another Philadelphia-based glam metal band. Cinderella practiced in the attic of the American Legion building in Wayne, PA. In a 2014 interview, Tom Keifer stated that Kiss bass guitarist Gene Simmons first took interest in the band and tried to get them a deal with PolyGram, but they were not interested. Jon Bon Jovi saw them perform at the Empire Rock Club in Philadelphia and talked to his A&R man, Derek Shulman about seeing the group. Shulman was not convinced at first either, and wanted to sign the band to a six-month development deal. But after extensive negotiations, he finally signed the band. In 1985, with a recording contract with Mercury/Polygram Records in the works, guitarist Jeff LaBar and drummer Jim Drnec joined the band.
Night Songs and Long Cold Winter (1986–1989)
During the recording of the band’s debut album, Night Songs, studio session drummer Jody Cortez and lead guitarist/songwriter Barry Benedetta were brought in to help with the recording. After the recording was completed, Drnec was replaced by Gloucester City, NJ drummer, Albie “Al” Barker, who just missed making the album’s cover and the band’s album line-up. Fred Coury joined the band and was in all MTV music videos and played in the upcoming tours. Night Songs was released on August 2, 1986 and eventually achieved triple platinum status, selling 50,000 copies per week at one point. The heavy metal album reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts in February 1987. By the end of 1987, the band released a video compilation called “Night Songs” to accompany the album, featuring the promotional videos from the album plus three live songs recorded on their 1986 tour.
Cinderella’s first tour was in 1986 with glam metal rockers Poison, opening for Japanese heavy metal band Loudness. Further tours into 1987 were spent playing to large arena audiences: five months opening for then-former Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth, and seven months with Bon Jovi, taking the opening slot for their Slippery When Wet tour. Later that year, the band went overseas, appearing in Japan, Scandinavia, and at the Monsters of Rock festivals in United Kingdom and Germany.
Cinderella’s second album, Long Cold Winter, was released in 1988. The new album signified a shift towards a blues rock sound, though it could still be described as glam metal. A 254-show tour to support the album lasted over 14 months, and in August 1989, the band performed at the Moscow Music Peace Festival alongside other metal acts, such as Ozzy Osbourne, the Scorpions, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, and Skid Row. The tour’s stage show included Tom Keifer being lowered to the stage while playing a white piano during their radio hit “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)“. On April 17, 1990, the band released a video compilation called Tales from the Gypsy Road featuring four promo videos from Long Cold Winter plus two live medleys, the second of which contained a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s famous “Sweet Home Alabama“.
Heartbreak Station, Still Climbing and hiatus (1990–1995)
Cinderella’s third album, Heartbreak Station, was released in 1990. It featured more songs than Long Cold Winter that were influenced by Keifer’s love of the blues. Following the accompanying tour, Fred Coury left the band and joined former Ratt vocalist Stephen Pearcy in the band Arcade. The song “Hot and Bothered” was featured in the movie Wayne’s World and its subsequent soundtrack.
In 1991, Keifer lost his voice due to a paresis of his vocal cords. He underwent several surgeries to repair a vocal cyst and hemorrhage. This added to delays in the recording of the band’s fourth album, Still Climbing. It was finally released in 1994 with Kenny Aronoff on drums, but the album quickly disappeared from the charts. Mercury Records consequently dropped the band which went on hiatus in 1995.
Cinderella resumed activity in 1996, and a year later, Mercury Records released a greatest hits compilation titled Once Upon A… and a video compilation containing all the bands promo videos from the first three albums. The group toured the United States in 1998, with one concert stop captured on the live album Live at the Key Club, which was released in 1999 through Cleopatra Records.
Around 1999, the band was signed by John Kalodner to Sony Records. However, the band was dropped by the label before a new album could be released, plunging the band into three years of litigation. Cinderella toured again in 2000 and 2002.
Cinderella headlined the VH1 Classic Rock Never Stops 2005 summer tour. Also in 2005, Cinderella toured with FireHouse, RATT, and Quiet Riot. Mercury Records released the compilation Rocked, Wired & Bluesed: The Greatest Hits on CD and DVD.
In 2006, Cinderella toured with Poison. Both bands celebrated the 20th anniversary of their debut albums, Night Songs and Look What the Cat Dragged In. Cinderella planned to tour in 2008 with Warrant, Lynch Mob, and Lynam, but on June 13 that year, Tim Heyne, the band’s manager, said in a press release: “It is with unbelievably deep regret that I must announce that Cinderella’s Tom Keifer’s left vocal cord has hemorrhaged, thereby making it impossible for him to sing in the immediate future.” Lebar was interviewed by Ultimate-Guitar and stated that Cinderella would love to make a new record but there were obstacles holding the group back. They still were not signed to a record label after Sony dropped the band in 2000. LaBar also stated that he is busy with his new band, Freakshow, which features Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot, and Eric is busy with Naked Beggars. A message posted to the Cinderella message board in spring 2009 stated that Keifer’s voice had returned to normal. Promoters from the 2009 Rock Gone Wild Festival confirmed that the band was scheduled to perform, but the festival was cancelled.
More touring and final performances (2010–2014)
Cinderella confirmed on their message board that they would be touring in 2010 with two warm-up dates already confirmed. It was announced on February 22 that Cinderella will be a part of Rocklahoma 2010 in Pryor Oklahoma and Sweden Rock Festival 2010. On February 26, 2010, it was announced that Cinderella will be the headliner of the MSC Poesia sailing from Fort Lauderdale on November 11, 2010. In July 2010, Cinderella took the stage to open for Bret Michaels, during the Common Ground Music Festival in Lansing, MI, with an original line-up of stars including Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham, Jeff LaBar and Fred Coury. They will then follow that with 14 dates in the US supporting Scorpions on their Get Your Sting and Blackout farewell tour.
Cinderella played at the Download festival in the UK in June 2010, the Rock Jam near Grand Junction, Colorado, Friday, August 27, and also the Oregon State Fair on September 4, 2010. In November 2010, Cinderella joined a variety of other hard rock acts on the cruise entitled “ShipRocked”.
In 2011, Cinderella undertook a 25th anniversary world tour. 20 shows were confirmed from April through July. During the tour, they headlined the first edition of the “Shout It Out Loud” Festival in Germany.
In March 2013, Cinderella played the 2013 Monsters of Rock Cruise along with bands such as Tesla, Kix, Queensrÿche, and others. In 2014, the band played their final performances on the 2014 Monsters of Rock cruise.
Aftermath and LaBar’s death (2017–2021)
In November 2017, Keifer stated that Cinderella has no plans to reunite, explaining that “issues between the band members are beyond repair.”
On July 14, 2021, it was announced that Jeff LaBar had died at the age of 58. The following day, it was announced that former long-term touring keyboardist Gary Corbett also died on the same day.