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Carlos Rios (musician)

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Carlos Rios
Birth nameCarlos Rios
United States
Genresjazz, soft rock, progressive jazz, pop rock, pop
Occupation(s)Guitarist, producer, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboards
Years active1978-present
LabelsColumbia Records, Motown Records, Capital Records
Associated acts

Carlos Rios (born 1959-1960) is a session guitarist, songwriter, and record producer best known for his work with Gino Vannelli,[1] Lionel Richie, and Stevie Nicks. He has worked in a variety of musical genres for many artists in a nearly 50 year career.[2] He has worked with other artists such as Sheila E., Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Cher. He has appeared on hundreds of records, with combined sales of millions.[3] His first notable album is Brother to Brother. [4]

Carlos started playing professionally in high school, and managed to have Larry Carlton as a tutor. After a mix up with a telephone call with Rio’s mother, he suddenly found himself in the studio with Gino Vannelli himself.[5]

This happened after Carlos loaned a friend a Gino record and asked if he wanted to record. His mother by mistake thought it was Gino and said “Gino Vannelli called and said a thing about a record!”.[6]

The 1970’s and 1980’s proved to be his most successful period, and in 1986 he appeared on Lionel Richie’s Dancing On The Ceiling, which sold over 4 million copies in the United States and went to No.1 on the albums chart. In 1978 appearing on Gino Vannelli’s studio album Brother to Brother, that had the top ten hit I Just Wanna Stop,[7] and also in 1986 on Chick Corea’s The Chick Corea Elektric Band. He has also worked with acts such as Steve Lukather, Larry Carlton, and Jeff Porcaro on multiple albums. [8] [9]

In 1989-1990, he appeared on the show The Pat Sajak Show. In 1998, he performed guitar on the Practical Magic soundtrack with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Marvin Gaye, both of whom had songs included in the soundtrack.[10][11]

After the releases of Rachelle Ferrell in 1992 and Lucky Man in 1993, both of which earned Gold certification by the RIAA,[12][13] his career stagnated.

He is respected as a jazz rock musician, and is a favorite among jazz fans and guitarists, including YouTuber Rick Beato.[14] Rick has stated “This is a classic solo that I bet you’ve never heard before” when talking about Brother to Brother.[15] Popular YouTube guitarist Kelly Dean Allen has also praised Carlos’s playing, by saying “But as coincidence would have it, he was looking for a new guitar player, and decided to give the young guitar player the gig. And much to Carlos’s delight, he got the gig, probably because he was so bloody talented!”[16]

He toured with Fleetwood Mac in 2003-2004 in Boston, and was part of the band’s touring assemble.[17]

He prefers using Gibson guitars. He has also had his amps modified by Steven Fryette, the founder of Fryette Amplification.[18][19]


The Pat Sajak Show (1989-1990)



(This is a partial discography.)


  1. "Gino Vannelli talks about Carlos Rios | Mitchel Delevie Productions". ReverbNation.
  3. "Carlos Rios | Credits". AllMusic.
  4. "Brother to Brother - Gino Vannelli | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  5. "Sessiondays". August 31, 2021.
  6. "The Other Carlos: Lick 20 - James Hogan - Guitar Lesson - TrueFire".
  7. "Rios, Carlos".
  8. "Warrior".
  9. "The Dukes Bugatti & Musker - Yacht or Nyacht?".
  10. "Tom Scott Makes the Sajak Connection". Los Angeles Times. April 9, 1989.
  11. "Carlos Rios". IMDb.
  12. "Gold & Platinum". RIAA.
  17. Patterson, Spencer (July 3, 2003). "Minus McVie, Fleetwood Mac trucks to MGM".
  18. "Support FAQ's".
  19. "Pictured is guitar player Carlos Rios, member of the house band on..." Getty Images.

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