BMI is deeply saddened by the loss of Paul O’Neill, the producer/songwriter behind Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who passed away this week at the age of 61. A music industry veteran who got his start in artist management, O’Neill struck upon a seemingly unlikely fusion of classical music, progressive rock and heavy metal when he collaborated on a re-imagining of a medley of Christmas carols with Savatage guitarist Jon Oliva. The end result, “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” released in 1996, so inspired O’Neill that he formed Trans-Siberian Orchestra to further push that envelope.
Now considered a modern holiday classic, “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” has long certified gold and spearheaded a string of multi-platinum releases by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who also became a hugely popular and lucrative live entity, renowned for theatrical spectacle, a testament to the power of O’Neill’s original vision.
Paul O’Neill will be dearly missed by his many friends at BMI.