Frankie Banali was born in Queens, New York, to Italian immigrants Jack and Martha Banali. In 1975, he moved to Los Angeles, where he spent years honing his craft with many bands on the local scene. In time, he went on to play in the heavy metal band W.A.S.P., Faster Pussycat, Heavy Bones (with guitarist Gary Hoey), and even a very brief stint with Steppenwolf.

Banali also did hundreds of what’s known in the recording business as “ghost recordings” (paid session work without credit), along with well-known sessions. Most notably, Banali recorded the hits “Mony Mony” and “L.A. Woman” with Billy Idol. He also played drums on the acclaimed Hughes/Thrall album with Glenn Hughes and Pat Thrall.

But Frankie was undeniably most known as the leader, drummer, co-songwriter, producer, and, in later years, manager of the multiplatinum band Quiet Riot. In November 1983, eight months after its release, the band’s album Metal Health hit number-one on the Billboard charts (replacing the Police’s Synchronicity), making it the first heavy metal album to go to the top of the charts. The album created the ’80s metal format as we know it and has since sold over ten million copies worldwide.

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