Carlos Rios (musician)

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Carlos Rios
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Background information
Birth nameCarlos Rios
United States
Genresjazz, soft rock, progressive jazz, pop rock, pop
  • Guitarist
  • Producer
  • Songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboards
Years active1978-present
LabelsColumbia Records, Motown Records, Capitol Records
Associated acts
  • Lionel Richie
  • Gino Vannelli
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Sheila E.
  • David Foster
  • Jaco Pastorius

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|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 (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 (album). 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]

After the releases of Rachelle Ferrell (album) in 1992 and Lucky Man (Dave Koz album) in 1993, both of which earned Gold certification by the RIAA[11] [12], his career stagnated.

He is respected as a jazz rock musician, and is a favorite among jazz fans and guitarists, including YouTuber Rick Beato [13]. Rick has stated “This is a classic solo that I bet you’ve never heard before” when talking about Brother to Brother.[14]. 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!”[15]

He toured with Fleetwood Mac in 2003-2004 in Boston, and was part of the band’s touring assemble.[16].

He prefers using Gibson guitars. He has also had his amps modified by Steven Fryette, the founder of Fryette Amplification.[17]


The Pat Sajak Show (1989-1990)



(This is a partial discography.)

  • (1978) with Gino Vannelli - Brother to Brother (Gino Vannelli album)
  • (1979) with Tom Scott - Street Beat
  • (1980) with Tom Jones - Rescue Me
  • (1981) with Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna (album)
  • (1981) with Larry Carlton - Sleepwalk
  • (1982) with Cher (singer) - I Paralyze`
  • (1982) with Novo Combo - The Animation Generation
  • (1982) with Four Tops - One More Mountain
  • (1982) with Herb Alpert - Fandango (Herb Alpert album)
  • (1983) with Lionel Richie - Can't Slow Down (Lionel Richie album)
  • (1983) with Tom Scott - Target
  • (1983) with - Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart (album)
  • (1983) with Kenny Rogers - We've Got Tonight (Kenny Rogers album)
  • (1983) with Jennifer Holiday - Feel My Soul
  • (1984) with Earl Klugh - Wishful Thinking (Earl Klugh album)
  • (1985) with Yellowjackets - Samurai Samba
  • (1986) as a solo album - Calle Malo II
  • (1986) with Chet Atkins - Street Dreams (Chet Atkins album)
  • (1986) with Lionel Richie - Dancing on the Ceiling
  • (1987) with Sheila E. - Sheila E. (album)
  • (1987) with David Sanborn - A Change of Heart (album)
  • (1987) with Joyride - Joyride
  • (1988) with Boz Scaggs - Other Roads
  • (1989) with Dave Grusin - Migration (Dave Grusin album)
  • (1990) with Dave Koz - Dave Koz (album)
  • (1991) with Diana Ross - The Force Behind the Power
  • (1991) with Sheila E. - Sex Cymbal
  • (1992) with Rachelle Ferrell - Rachelle Ferrell (album)
  • (1993) with James Ingram - Always You (album)
  • (1993) with Dave Koz - Lucky Man (Dave Koz album)
  • (1993) with Kirk Whalum - Caché (album)
  • (1994) with Boz Scaggs - Some Change
  • (2000) with Jaco Pastorius - Rare Collection
  • (2001) with Four Tops - Fourever
  • (2001) with Seal - Seal IV
  • (2004) with Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac: Live in Boston
  • (2005) with Interactivo - Goza Pepillo
  • (2008) with Jeff Porcaro - Session Works
  • (2009) with Stevie Nicks - The Soundstage Sessions
  • (2012) with Lionel Richie - Tuskegee (album)
  • (2019) with Stevie Nicks - 24 Karat Gold Tour - The 24 Karat Gold Tour
  • In 1983, be appeared on the song “Baby, Won't Cha Come Quick” off of In a Special Way (album) by the R&B group DeBarge.
  • In 1985, he appeared on the song Cantaré, cantarás with the likes of David Foster and Greg Phillinganes. It peaked at No.12 on the Latin charts.


  1. "Gino Vannelli talks about Carlos Rios | Mitchel Delevie Productions". ReverbNation.
  2. "Cduniverse".
  3. "Carlos Rios | Credits". AllMusic.
  4. "Brother to Brother - Gino Vannelli | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  5. "Sessiondays". August 31, 2021.
  6. "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. "Gold & Platinum". RIAA.
  16. Patterson, Spencer (July 3, 2003). "Minus McVie, Fleetwood Mac trucks to MGM".
  17. "Support FAQ's".

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