All Sheryl Crow wanted to do was have some fun – it made her happy! But what happened after that…?
Sheryl Crow seemed to appear from nowhere in 1993. Maybe that was the plan. Her infectious “All I Wanna Do” became an instant crowd pleaser that seemed to appeal to all sections of the musical spectrum and it would seem that over twenty five years on and worldwide record sales of 80 million, Sheryl is a survivor, despite personal battles that have nearly taken her life.
Sheryl Suzanne Crow was born in Missouri in February 1962 and began her trek on the long road to fame and fortune as a music teacher at her local elementary school. She met musician and producer Jay Oliver in 1987 and through a connection wound up as a backing singer to none other than Michael Jackson on his 1987-88 Bad world tour! She duetted with Jackson on his song “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” as the original singer Siedah Garrett was unavailable. She later sang backing vocals on Belinda Carlisle’s hugely successful 1987 album “Heaven On Earth“. Off the back of this growing notoriety, Crow was signed by A&M records in 1992 and, working with producer Hugh Padgham (Sting), recorded her self-titled debut album. The album was due to be released in September 1992 but was pulled at the last minute with the reason given “too over produced and slick”! Many of the songs were later given to Celine Dion and Tina Turner to record and release.
Sheryl went back to the drawing board and after a years hard work, came back to A&M with “Tuesday Night Music Club”. This time the album was accepted and in August 1993, her debut single proper “Run Baby Run” was released. However, the song bombed, failing to chart anywhere at all. Too late to halt and with many thousands of copies already pressed, “Tuesday Night Music Club” was released the following month, initially flopping and sinking without trace. Respite came in January 1994 with the release of the already scheduled second single “Leaving Las Vegas” which did chart, if only at No.60 Stateside and crept in at No.66 in the UK.
As is always the case, it was the third single that would finally give Sheryl a hit, the aforementioned “All I Wanna Do”, which made its way to No.2 in April 1994 and would top the singles chart in Australia and Canada. It wasn’t until October that the song made an impact in the UK, eventually reaching No.4 and gaining a Silver certification for sales of over 200,000 copies. At that time Crow had released “Strong Enough” in America and it would peak at No.5 there and again top the Canadian singles chart. It reached No.33 in the UK in early 1995.
“Tuesday Night Music Club” was by now a major hit having peaked at No.3 in the US, No.1 in Australia and, eventually, No.8 in the UK, selling over ten million copies to date in the process, four and a half million coming from US sales alone. “Run Baby Run” saw a re-release in the Spring of 1995, reaching No.24 in the UK, although it was strangely not reissued Stateside. “Can’t Cry Anymore” was the final single to be lifted from the album and would peak at No.36 in America and No.33 in the UK.
Crow returned in 1996 with her ‘third’ album “Sheryl Crow“. It was preceded by the single “If It Makes You Happy” which performed well around the world, hitting number one in Canada, No.9 in the UK and No.10 in America. The album was released in September and would go on to sell six million copies globally, two and a half of which account for US sales, a sizable hit, if not the outright success of “Tuesday Night Music Club”.
Four further singles were released including “Every Day Is A Winding Road” which gave her her fourth Canadian chart topper and made No.11 in America and No.12 in the UK. No further US singles chart hits came from the album, however, the track “A Change Will Do You Good” hit No.2 in Canada and No.8 in the UK in 1997, the best performing single from the album. “Hard To Make A Stand” would reach No.22 there and “Home” would be the fifth and final release charting at No.25.
Shortly after this second run of success, Sheryl was asked to put forward a song for the next James Bond film to be called ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘. Canadian singer kd Lang had submitted a song called “Tomorrow Never Dies” but the producers decided late in the day that a more ‘chart friendly’ artist was needed. Crow co-wrote her song with Mitchell Froom and it was released prior to the film in late November 1997. It would become the first Bond song not to chart in America and the first to miss the UK top ten since Rita Coolidge’s “All Time High” in 1983. Bond fans remain divided as to its appeal with many preferring kd Lang’s song, retitled “(Tomorrow Never Dies) Surrender“, which was eventually used over the closing credits of the film.
Crow herself would be back the following year with “The Globe Sessions” album which featured the singles “My Favourite Mistake” (UK No.9, US No.20), “There Goes The Neighbourhood” (UK No.19), Anything But Down” (UK No.19, US No.49) and her cover of Guns’N’Roses classic “Sweet Child O’ Mine” which made No.30 in the UK. The album peaked at No.2 in the UK and No.5 in America, and has sold three and a half million copies worldwide.
After a good rest, Sheryl was back in 2002 with the album “C’mon, C’mon” which was lead in by the single “Soak Up The Sun (UK No.16, US No.17). The album would peak at number two in both the US and the UK, affirming Sheryl was not done just yet. The album has sold two million copies in the US and a further million elsewhere and also featured the singles “Steve McQueen” (UK No.44, US No.88) and the title track performed with Irish family band The Corrs.
In 2003 Sheryl joined a long line of artists who have recorded Cat Steven’s classic “The First Cut Is The Deepest” as the first track from her “Very Best Of” album. She took her version to No.14 in the US and No.37 in the UK. “The Very Best Of” proved a huge success, again peaking at No.2 in both the US and the UK and selling over four million copies Stateside to date and a further two million internationally.
Her 2005 album “Wildflower” became her fourth album to peak at No.2 in America and sell 950,000 copies. It stalled at No.25 in the UK and included the singles “Good Is Good” (US No.64, UK No.75) and “Always On Your Side” (with Sting) which made No.33 in the ‘land of the free’.
Singles sales were largely slipping into oblivion by now and Sheryl would rely mostly upon album sales to prop her up. Her 2008 album “Detours” became album number five to peak at No.2 in the US the same position it attained in Canada. She peaked at No.3 with “100 Miles From Memphis” in 2010 and No.2 in Canada. She recorded “Feels Like Home” in Nashville in 2013 and gained another US top ten hit as well as a No.16 placing in the UK.
Her most recent album “Be Myself” (2017) saw her reunite with Jeff Trott, who worked with Crow on “The Globe Sessions” album. In 2018 she released the single “Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” with singer Annie Clark aka St. Vincent as part of a new project to release an album of duets, pencilled for release ‘sometime in 2019’. She has already recorded with the likes of Don Henley, Sting, Stevie Nicks and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones for the album!