When Wansel was 12 years old, he got the job of a gofer for the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia, going to get sandwiches and clothes out of the cleaners for the various acts that performed at the venue like Stevie Wonder and Patti Labelle. Many years later, Wansel would co-write a number one R&B hit for Labelle. In 1975, Wansel met Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff when he was a member of a band called Yellow Sunshine, which also boasted guitarist Roland Chambers who would later become a part of MFSB, the house band for Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records. Becoming a part of the staff creative collective, Wansel began arranging, playing keyboards, and writing songs for the label's acts including the O'Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, and the Intruders, among others. Wansel's own charting LPs were Life on Mars from summer 1976 (includes two tracks with Instant Funk, "Life on Mars" and "You Can Be What You Wanna Be"), What the World Is Coming To, Voyager (with its great space-age oriented graphics) from spring 1978, and Time Is Slipping Away from 1979. Several tracks from his LPs were radio-aired LP tracks (the lushly orchestrated "Theme From the Planets," the spacy, funky "Disco Lights") and some songs -- "Together Once Again," "One Million Miles From the Ground," and "Holdin' On" -- are still in singers' repertoire today. "Holdin' On" was a radio-aired LP track from actor Lawrence Hilton Jacobs' self-titled album produced by Lamont Dozier. "Global Warming" from the 1991 PIR/Zoo/BMG CD Universe Featuring Dexter Wansel received some airplay on smooth jazz radio stations. During the '90s, Wansel continued to work with the reactivated Philadelphia International Records and occasionally toured.
Life On Mars (1976)
01 - A Prophet Named K.G. 02 - Life On Mars 03 - Together Once Again 04 - Stargazer 05 - One Million Miles From The Ground 06 - You Can Be What You Wanna Be 07 - Theme From The Planets 08 - Rings Of Saturn
What The World Is Coming To (1977)
09 - First Light Of The Morning 10 - Dance With Me Tonight 11 - Holdin' On 12 - Ode Infinitum 13 - Disco Lights 14 - What The World Is Coming To 15 - Going Back To Kingston Town 16 - Dreams Of Tomorrow 17 - Prelude #1