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On top of the world, John Tesh laughs with his critics

April 6, 1999
Web posted at: 2:25 p.m. EDT (1825 GMT)

From Bill Tush
CNN Entertainment News Correspondent

NEW YORK (CNN) -- When John Tesh walked away from a high paying job as co-anchor for TV's "Entertainment Tonight" to pursue his love of music, a lot of people thought his well- known name would fade away.

But as his "John Tesh -- One World" concert show airs on PBS stations nationwide, it seems Tesh has gone on to even greater success at the keyboard.

Does John Tesh's music deserve the ridicule it so often gets?

Yep, he's the schmaltz king!
Give him a break, Tesh has real talent.

View Results

The "One World" program and CD feature Tesh performing his uptempo, new-age music in collaboration with musicians from other countries and other cultures. In one segment, Tesh joins classical violinist and vocalist Lorenza Ponce at the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. They perform "Canta Domine" with lyrics sung in Latin.

Other segments put Tesh in Monument Valley, Utah with Native American dancers; in the classical milieu of Vienna, Austria; and in Frascati, Italy with flamenco dancers.

In New York to promote his CD, Tesh described his globe- trotting jam sessions. "There were times we would be in a town of 120 people in Kitmore, Ireland, at a castle in the pouring rain and then next, Vienna, Austria. It was a great joy to put together, but it took two years," Tesh said.


John Tesh performs "Valley of Dreams"

Audio clip: 185k MPEG-3
Audio clip: 255 WAV
Video clip: 1.5Mb QuickTime

(Courtesy PGD/GTS Records)

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The guy music reviewers love to hate

While Tesh has sold more than 5 million albums and earned several music industry awards, he is still the guy music reviewers love to hate. His mix of classical, pop, rock and jazz pleases consumers, but not most critics. And comedians love to ridicule Tesh too. But with soaring album sales, Tesh takes the digs in stride.

"If Leno's writers and Conan's writers or whatever sit around a table to write a joke about me, I'm just honored to be a part of it," he said.

And sometimes no one laughs harder at the John Tesh jokes than John Tesh. He recounts with a smile when comedian Dennis Miller said, "John Tesh has the number one instrumental album in the world, isn't that one of the Biblical signs of the end of the world?"

Tesh adds, "I've been picketed by people who think I'm an alien, so I'm having a good time," he said.

And on the Conan O'Brien show recently Tesh said he had to laugh at the show producers' little trick. "They said, 'Here is a clip from 'One World,' and they rolled the clip and it was Lurch playing the harpsichord from the 'Addams Family.'"

John Tesh, cereal singer
August 3, 1998

Official John Tesh site
The Public Broadcasting System
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