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Sheryl Crow Bio
Sheryl Crow (born February 11, 1962) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Her music incorporates elements of pop, rock, folk, country and blues. She has released eight studio albums, two compilations, a live album and has contributed to a number of film soundtracks. She has sold more than 17 million albums in the U.S. and over 50 million albums worldwide. Crow has garnered nine Grammy Awards (out of 32 nominations) from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
In addition to her own work, Crow has performed with the Rolling Stones, Stevie Nicks, Michael Jackson, Steve Earle, Prince, Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, B.B. King, George Strait, Tony Bennett, Kid Rock and Sting, among others. She has also performed backing vocals for Tina Turner, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Belinda Carlisle and Bob Dylan.
As an actress, Crow has appeared on various television shows including 30 Rock, Cop Rock, GCB, Cougar Town, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert‘s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, as well as One Tree Hill.
1985–92: Early years
After graduating from the University of Missouri, Crow worked as a music teacher at the Kellison elementary school in Fenton, Missouri. Teaching during the day gave her the opportunity to sing in bands on the weekends. She was later introduced to local musician and record producer Jay Oliver. He had a thriving studio in the basement of his parents’ home in St. Louis and helped her by using her in advertising jingles. Her first jingle was a ‘back to school’ spot for the St Louis department store Famous-Barr. Soon after she created commercial jingles for McDonald’s and Toyota. She was quoted in a 60 Minutes segment as saying she made $40,000 on her McDonald’s ad alone.
Crow toured with Michael Jackson as a backing vocalist during his Bad World Tour 1987–89 and often performed with Jackson on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You“. She also recorded background vocals for performances for a number of established artists such as Stevie Wonder, Belinda Carlisle and Don Henley.
Crow also sang in the short-lived Steven Bochco drama Cop Rock in 1990. That same year, her song “Heal Somebody” appeared in the film Bright Angel. The following year, she performed “Hundreds of Tears”, which was included in the Point Break soundtrack, and sang a duet with Kenny Loggins on the track “I Would Do Anything”, from his album Leap of Faith.
1992: Scrapped debut album
In 1992, Crow recorded her first attempt at a debut album with Phil Collins‘ record producer Hugh Padgham. The self-titled debut album was due to be released on September 22, 1992, but Crow and her label mutually decided that the album did not merit for release. Crow described it as “too produced”. However, a handful of cassette copies of the album were leaked, along with press folders for album publicity. This album has been widely dispersed via file sharing networks and fan trading. In the meantime, Crow’s songs were recorded by major artists such as Celine Dion, Tina Turner and Wynonna Judd.
1993–97: International success
She then began dating Kevin Gilbert and joined him in an ad hoc group of musicians known to themselves as the “Tuesday Music Club.” Group members Gilbert, David Baerwald, and David Ricketts (both formerly of David & David), Bill Bottrell, Brian MacLeod, and Dan Schwartz share songwriting credits with Crow on her debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club.
The group existed as a casual songwriting collective prior to its association with Crow but rapidly developed into a vehicle for her debut album after her arrival. Her relationship with Gilbert became acrimonious soon after the album was released, and disputes arose about songwriting credits.
Crow appeared in the “New Faces” section of Rolling Stone in 1993. Tuesday Night Music Club featured many of the songs written by Crow’s friends, including the second single, “Leaving Las Vegas“. The album was slow to garner attention, until “All I Wanna Do” became an unexpected smash hit in the fall of 1994. As she later stated in People, she found an old poetry book in a used book store in the L.A. area and used a poem as lyrics in the song. The singles “Strong Enough” and “Can’t Cry Anymore” were also released, with the first song (“Strong Enough”) charting at No. 5 on Billboard and “Can’t Cry Anymore” hitting the Top 40. Tuesday Night Music Club went on to sell more than 7 million copies in the U.S. and U.K. during the 1990s. The album also won Crow three Grammy Awards, in 1995: Record of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal Performance. She performed at the 1994 and 1999 Woodstock Festivals, as well as the Another Roadside Attraction in 1997.
In 1996, Crow released her self titled second album. The album had songs about abortion, homelessness and nuclear war. She produced the album herself and also played a variety of instruments, from various guitars, bass or pedal steel to various organs and piano. The debut single, “If It Makes You Happy“, became a radio success and netted her two Grammy awards for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and Best Rock Album. Other singles included “A Change Would Do You Good“, “Home“, and “Everyday Is a Winding Road“. The album was banned from sale at Wal-Mart, because in the lyrics to “Love Is a Good Thing” Crow says that Wal-Mart sells guns to children. The album also features a protest song called “Redemption Day”, which was covered by Johnny Cash on his last album American VI: Ain’t No Grave. In 1997, Crow contributed the theme song to the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. Her song “Tomorrow Never Dies” was nominated for a Grammy Award and Best Original Song Golden Globe. Crow collaborated on Scott Weiland‘s 1998 album, 12 Bar Blues.
1998–99: The Globe Sessions and live album
In 1998, Crow released The Globe Sessions. During this period, she discussed in interviews having gone through a deep depression, and there was speculation about a brief affair with Eric Clapton. The debut single from this album, “My Favorite Mistake,” was rumored to be about Clapton, but Crow says otherwise—that the song is about a philandering ex-boyfriend. Crow has refused to say who the song was about, telling Billboard Magazine on the release of her album, “Oh, there will be just so much speculation, and because of that there’s great safety and protection in the fact that people will be guessing so many different people and I’m the only person who will ever really know. I’m really private about who I’ve had relationships with, and I don’t talk about them in the press. I don’t even really talk about them with the people around me.” Despite the difficulties in recording the album, Crow told the BBC in 2005 that, “My favorite single is ‘My Favorite Mistake.’ It was a lot of fun to record and it’s still a lot of fun to play.” The album won Best Rock Album at the 1999 Grammy Awards. It was re-released in 1999, with a bonus track, Crow’s cover of the Guns N’ Roses song “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” which was included on the soundtrack of the film Big Daddy. The song won the 1999 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Other singles included “There Goes the Neighborhood,” “Anything but Down,” and “The Difficult Kind.” Crow won the 2001 Grammy best female rock vocal performance for There Goes the Neighborhood. The Globe Sessions peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, achieving US sales of 2 million as of January 2008.
She also released a live album called Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live From Central Park. The record featured Crow singing many of her hit singles with new musical spins and guest appearances by many other musicians including Sarah McLachlan, Stevie Nicks, the Dixie Chicks, Keith Richards, and Eric Clapton. It included “There Goes the Neighborhood”, which won the Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
2002–04: C’mon, C’mon and The Very Best of
Crow had been involved with the Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF) since the late 1990s, performing at fund-raisers and befriending Sharon Monsky. In 2002, as a result of her friend Kent Sexton dying from scleroderma, she interrupted work on her new album C’mon C’mon to record the traditional hymn Be Still, My Soul, to be played at his funeral. In November of that year it was released as a single, with the proceeds going to SRF.
Crow opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, wearing a shirt that read “I don’t believe in your war, Mr. Bush!” during a performance on Good Morning America and posting an open letter explaining her opposition on her website. At a performance with Kid Rock at the 45th annual Grammy Awards, she wore a large peace sign and a guitar strap with the words “No War.” She showed support for injured soldiers in 2003 by playing her guitar and singing to individual patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
She recorded the song Kiss That Girl for the film Bridget Jones’s Diary. She also recorded a cover version of the Beatles‘ song Mother Nature’s Son for the film I Am Sam. Crow sang a duet with rock artist Kid Rock on the crossover hit single Picture. She also assisted him on the track Run Off to L.A.
She was featured on the Johnny Cash album American III: Solitary Man in the song Field of Diamonds as a background vocalist, and also played the accordion for the songs Wayfaring Stranger and Mary of the Wild Moor.
In 2003, a greatest hits compilation called The Very Best of Sheryl Crow was released. It featured many of her hit singles, as well as some new tracks. Among them was the 1960s pop song, “The First Cut is the Deepest” by Cat Stevens, which became her biggest radio hit since All I Wanna Do. She also released the single “Light In Your Eyes,” which received limited airplay. The First Cut is the Deepest earned her two American Music Awards for Best Pop/Rock Artist and Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year, respectively.
Her fifth studio album, Wildflower, was released in September 2005. Although the album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, it received mixed reviews and was not as commercially successful as her previous albums. In December 2005, the album was nominated for a Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy, while Crow was nominated for a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for the first single Good Is Good. However, she ultimately lost in both categories to Kelly Clarkson. The album got a new boost in 2006 when the second single was announced as Always on Your Side, re-recorded with British musician Sting and sent off to radio, where it was quickly embraced at Adult Top 40. The collaboration with Sting resulted in a Grammy-nomination for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. As of January 2008, Wildflower has sold 949,000 units in the United States.
In 2006, Crow contributed “Real Gone“, the opening track to the soundtrack for Disney and Pixar‘s 2006 animated film Cars. Crow was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in mid-February 2006, her doctors stating that, “Prognosis for a full recovery is excellent.”
Crow’s first concert after her cancer diagnosis was on May 18 of that year in Orlando, Florida, where she played to over 10,000 information technology professionals at the SAP Sapphire Convention. Her first public appearance was on June 12, when she performed at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana. She also appeared on Larry King Live on CNN on August 23, 2006. In this show, she talked about her comeback, her breakup with Lance Armstrong, her past job as Michael Jackson’s backup singer, and her experience as a breast cancer survivor.
In early 2007 Sherly Crow was scheduled to sing at The Cardinal Gleenon Children’s medical centre, her performance was opposed by Raymond Burke then a Catholic Archbishop due to her position on abortion. Burke resigned when Crow’s appearance was confirmed.
Crow wrote a foreword for the book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, a book written by Kris Carr that was based on her 2007 documentary film Crazy Sexy Cancer. Crow contributed her cover of the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun on the soundtrack for the Dreamworks animated film Bee Movie in November 2007. She contributed background vocals to Ryan Adams‘s song “Two” from the album Easy Tiger.
Crow returned with her sixth studio album Detours, which was released on February 5, 2008. Detours debuted at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart selling close to 92,000 copies in its first week and an additional 52,000 copies in its second week.
Detours was recorded at Crow’s Nashville farm. Her son, Wyatt, makes an appearance on the song Lullaby for Wyatt, which is featured in the movie Grace Is Gone. “The songs are very inspired by the last three years of events in my life,” Crow said of a time that found her battling breast cancer and splitting with partner Lance Armstrong.
Shine Over Babylon was the first promotional single from the album (download only). The first official single released from the album was Love Is Free, followed by Out of Our Heads. As of 2010, Detours had sold more than 700,000 copies worldwide.
Crow also recorded a studio version of So Glad We Made It for the Team USA Olympic Soundtrack, in conjunction with the 2008 US Olympic team sponsors, AT&T. Crow also stated that she would donate $1 of each ticket purchased for her 2008 tour to the United Nations World Food Programme.
A&M Records re-released Crow’s debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club, as a deluxe version 2CD/DVD set on November 17, 2009. The released included the single Killer Life, which charted moderately in adult album alternative radio. The bonus CD contains unreleased songs and B-sides, and a new mix of I Shall Believe. The DVD features music videos for each of the album’s singles.
In August 2008 Crow (in partnership with Western Glove Works) launched a jeans brand, Bootheel Trading Company. Her reported explanation was that, “Denim has become so high-priced as of late, my friends back home don’t want to spend $250 for a pair of jeans. I want them to be able to walk into a medium-priced store and be able to afford a cool pair of jeans for less than 100 bucks.” The jeans are styled like the California hippie-style faded bootcut jeans that Crow prefers wearing. Crow said that she owns dozens of pairs of jeans and does “…almost everything in jeans except sleep.”
On 4 April 2009 Crow, who practices Transcendental Meditation, took part in a benefit concert at the Radio City Music Hall in New York organized by the David Lynch Foundation supporting the Foundation’s goal of teaching one million at-risk students to meditate. She and Ben Harper performed George Harrison’s song My Sweet Lord. Other performers at the concert included Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Mike Love, Moby, Eddie Vedder and Donovan. Crow said, “This event is one of the most important events to happen at this moment in history. … Peace is something deeper than that, it is tapping into something that exists in all of us and makes us unique, and that helps us to be pure.”.
2010–12: 100 Miles from Memphis
In 2010, Crow contributed the original spoken-word track My Name Is Mwamaroyi to the Enough Project and Downtown Records‘ Raise Hope for Congo compilation. Proceeds from the compilation fund efforts to make the protection and empowerment of Congo’s women a priority, as well as inspire individuals around the world to raise their voice for peace in Congo.
A&M Records released Crow’s seventh studio album, 100 Miles from Memphis, on July 20, 2010. The album has a classic soul vibe and features lead single Summer Day. 100 Miles from Memphis (released July 20 on A&M Records), the distance from her hometown to the music mecca, is an ode to her formative memories of music – and one that the label hopes can inspire young music fans to investigate the landscape beyond processed pop and Auto-Tune.
Later that year, she joined Loretta Lynn and country singer Miranda Lambert on an update of Lynn’s song Coal Miner’s Daughter for the 2010 album Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn. They later performed the song on the 44th Annual Country Music Awards in November.
In July 2011, Crow performed at the opening night of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo,. Animal welfare campaigners had urged her not to, alleging animal cruelty at the event. Almost 13,000 people signed a petition calling on Crow not to perform.
On September 20, 2011, it was announced that Crow will write the music and lyrics for Diner, a new musical inspired by the critically acclaimed 1982 film. The show will come to Broadway in the fall of 2012, and will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall.
On September 21, 2012, Mailboat Records released Mark Twain: Words & Music, an Americana double-CD that tells the life of fellow Missourian Mark Twain in spoken word and song. The project was a benefit for the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri. Crow sang the only period piece song on the project, Stephen Foster‘s “Beautiful Dreamer.” The song was sung a cappella and accompanied the narrative describing the early days of Mark Twain’s young family in Hartford, Connecticut. Other performers that joined the project, produced by Carl Jackson, included Jimmy Buffett, Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor, Brad Paisley, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, and others. AirPlay Direct reported the project as its most downloaded Americana album.
On October 11, 2011 William Shatner released the album Seeking Major Tom, on which Crow sang the track Mrs. Major Tom by electronic music artist K.I.A., released in 2003 on the album Adieu Shinjuku Zulu.
In September 2012, she was featured in a campaign called 30 Songs/30 Days to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book.
Crow was invited by journalist Katie Couric to write the theme song for her new talk-show, Katie. The song, titled This Day, was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Original Song.
On November 1, 2012, Crow released an original song she called Woman in the White House that was made available for a free download. As the title suggests, the country-flavored tune defends the idea of a woman president. Mixed reviews from critics ranged from “sort of patronizing and gender essentialist” to “good-natured and well-intentioned.” The song, praised for its tongue-in-cheek lyrics, was commented on by country singer Brad Paisley, who characterized it as “all in good fun.” The song was later released for digital download on iTunes and a portion of the proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross to aid in the recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Also in 2012, VH1 ranked Crow at #25 as one of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.
2013−present: Feels Like Home
In 2011, Crow separated from her label, A&M Records. The singer followed Nashville neighbor Brad Paisley‘s advice and, after being introduced to producer Justin Niebank and several Nashville-based songwriters such as Chris DuBois, Luke Laird and Chris Stapleton, started her first country music project.
In 2013, Crow signed a recording contract with Warner Music Nashville and, a few months later, released Easy, the first single from the upcoming album, which became her first top twenty country radio hit and her highest charting lead single since 2005. Crow finally released Feels Like Home on September 10, 2013. The album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, selling over 36,000 copies in its first week and becoming Crow’s ninth top ten album.
Along with Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Carrie Underwood, the singer made an appearance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, paying tribute to Linda Ronstadt, who was one of the inductees of 2014.
The 40th anniversary celebration benefit concert of the Austin City Limits Festival was held June 26, 2014. Crow hosted the event along with Jeff Bridges and performed with Kris Kristofferson, Gary Clark Jr, Alabama Shakes, as well her former guitarist Doyle Bramhall II.
Crow sang on a rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” that appeared on Darius Rucker‘s Christmas album, Home for the Holidays. In December 2015 Sheryl Crow covered A Hard Day’s Night (song) at the John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert.