Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inducts Gino Vanelli classic “I Just Wanna Stop,” written by Ross Vanelli

Beyries (Photo: ICI Musique)
October 13, 2017

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame  (CSHF) has inducted Gino Vanelli’s soulful 1978 soft-rock ballad “I Just Wanna Stop,” written by his brother Ross Vanelli, with a tribute performance by Beyries for the Hall of Fame’s Covered Classics series. Covered Classics honours newly-inducted songs by inviting Canada’s brightest musical talents to perform their own renditions of these classics.

“I Just Wanna Stop” was the result of a co-operative effort by three Italian-Canadian brothers from Montréal. Written by Ross Vannelli, sung by older brother Gino, and produced and arranged by Ross, Gino and brother Joe, the song made it to No. 1 in Canada.

The boys’ first taste of success came with Gino’s 1974 hit song, “People Gotta Move.” After that, Gino and Joe moved to Los Angeles, where they recorded Ross’s “I Just Wanna Stop” for their 1978 Brother to Brother album. Gino says that the first time he heard Ross play the song, "It just sounded like a hit to me, and I started working it with the band."

“I Just Wanna Stop” is about a man reflecting longingly upon a past love. Backing singers and a plaintive saxophone break lend the song a bluesy, jazzy feel. Gino told an interviewer, “When the backing vocals were done…everyone realized that it could be a big hit, because it had that vibe to it, that spark to it.”

It was a big hit indeed. “I Just Wanna Stop” peaked at No. 4 on both the Billboard U.S. Adult Contemporary chart and Hot 100 Singles chart. Meanwhile, in Canada, the single rose to the coveted No. 1 spot on the RPM Top 100 Singles chart. The song helped earn Gino a JUNO Award for Male Vocalist of the Year, and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Male Vocalist. The Brother to Brother album won Gino, Ross and Joe the JUNO for Producer(s) of the Year and, with runaway sales of more than a million copies by 1979, cementing Gino’s international reputation as a pop star and sex symbol. Gino was also invited to perform it on the American television dance show Soul Train.

Since then, “I Just Wanna Stop” has enjoyed millions of radio airplays, earning a BMI Award, and the No. 16 spot on RPM’s Top 100 CanCon Tracks 1964-1996. It appears on Oh What a Feeling: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music and in the 2009 television documentary, This Beat Goes On: Canadian Pop Music in the 1970s. It was even used on the TV show The Sopranos, and in 2017 appeared on Universal Music Canada’s Canada 150: A Celebration of Music. The song gained new life in a new arrangement on Gino’s 2009 album, Best and Beyond, and also features on his Stardust in the Sand and Live in L.A. He continues to perform it live.

Ross Vannelli, is a successful professional songwriter and music producer, with almost 300 songs to his credit. In addition to his JUNO Award, he holds an ASCAP Film and Television Music Award and a Grammy nomination. His sing “Surrender to Me,” from the movie Tequila Sunrise (starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell), earned a BMI Award. Vannelli’s music has been recorded by Kim Carnes, Céline Dion, Lara Fabian, Kanye West, and Earth, Wind and Fire.

“I Just Wanna Stop”
Written by Rossano (Ross) Francesco Vannelli
Performed by Beyries
More about the song