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Sheryl Crow Biography

Last updated: 08/24/2013 07:46:47 AM

Sheryl Crow-photo
Sheryl Crow was born on February 11, 1962 in Kennett, Missouri to a family immersed in music. Her father Wendell Crow played trumpet in swing bands before becoming a lawyer, and her mother Bernice taught piano. Sheryl began piano lessons at age 5, and growing up on the music of artists such as Christine McVie, Elton John, and Bob Dylan, she composed her first song at age 13. She went on to major in music at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and while there, she became part of a rock cover band named Cashmere. After graduating, Sheryl taught music to autistic children for two years at a St. Louis elementary school, and has since been an advocate of Save the Music, a program that supports the teaching of music in schools.

Sheryl's career as a professional singer/songwriter has its roots in hard work and perseverance. She began by moving to Los Angeles in 1986, where she worked as a waitress and searched for music gigs in her free time. Eventually, she managed to get work singing for several commercial spots, including a McDonald's jingle. Around this time, she auditioned as a backup singer for Michael Jackson, and impressed his camp enough to be accepted onto the two year Bad world tour.

Following the end of Jackson's tour in 1989, Sheryl suffered a six month bout with depression. Her music career managed to survive through this tumultuous time, and she got more work doing backup vocals for Sting, Foreigner, Stevie Wonder, and Rod Stewart, as well as for Don Henley on the End of the Innocence tour. Meanwhile, she continued to write songs, some of which were recorded by the likes of Celine Dion, Wynonna Judd, and Eric Clapton.

Around this time, producer Hugh Padgham was impressed with Sheryl enough to present her demo to the now-defunct A&M Records. She was quickly signed to the label. Padgham squeezed a largely commercial record from her--one that did not do justice to her true talents--but A&M chose not to release it. Sheryl's boyfriend at the time, Kevin Gilbert, attempted to remix the album in 1991, but it never came to light. He eventually presented the demos to Bill Bottrell, an engineer and producer with a studio in Pasadena. Gilbert, Bottrell, singer/songwriter David Baerwald, and a few other musicians soon began holding jam sessions at local clubs on Tuesday night, and when Sheryl was invited to join in, the infamous Tuesday Night Music Club was born.

During these sessions, the band developed several songs that made it onto Sheryl's debut album, including the breakthrough hit Leaving Las Vegas. The title of the song was borrowed from a novel by John O'Brien, who was friends with Baerwald. The novel later became the framework for the movie of the same title starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue.

Sheryl's debut album Tuesday Night Music Club was released in the fall of 1993. In early 1994, it began climbing the charts, fueled by the success of the single "Leaving Las Vegas." In March 1994, Sheryl performed the song on The Late Show with David Letterman. When asked if the song was autobiographical, she offhandedly said that it was. Her bandmates took the comment as a dismissal of their contributions, and animosity formed between them. Baerwald refused to forgive Sheryl for the comment. Although not a direct cause, the scenario marked the beginning of a tragic era in Sheryl's personal life. Her band would eventually part ways. O'Brien shot himself shortly after the Late Show performance, and in May 1996, Gilbert would be found dead of autoerotic asphyxiation.

Perhaps caught up in the mania that surrounded the infectious pop-single All I Wanna Do, the work on Tuesday Night Music Club earned Sheryl a slew of awards. At the 37th Annual Grammy Awards in 1995, "All I Wanna Do" won Record of the Year, the first time the award had been scooped up by a newcomer in years. Sheryl also won Best Female Pop Vocal for the song, as well as Best New Artist. The album has sold over 6 million copies. Singer Liz Phair cited it as one of her favorite albums of the year, and Entertainment Weekly named Sheryl Rookie of the Year. She toured behind the album feverishly, signing onto the H.O.R.D.E. festival tour and Woodstock '94. She also performed at the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, a gig she shared with the Eagles.

In 1995, Sheryl and Bottrell began work on her second album, but bad feelings were strangling the project. Eager for an escape, the two relocated to New Orleans. But the problems were not left behind in Los Angeles. Almost immediately, the two split up. Bottrell abandoned the project, leaving Sheryl to produce the album herself.

In the fall of 1996, Sheryl's self-titled second album was released, and immediately spawned the hit single If It Makes You Happy. The album, almost exclusively the work of Sheryl alone, was met with critical success and put to rest the debate over her personal music skills. The sophomore effort was also the focus of controversy because of a lyric in the song Love Is A Good Thing. The lines "Watch out sister/Watch out brother/Watch our children as they kill each other/With a gun they bought at Wal-Mart Discount Store" caused the nation's largest retailer to pull the album from their shelves. Although the move cost Sheryl an estimated 500,000 units of sales, A&M Records stood behind her decision to leave the lyric unchanged. Sheryl has said that the song is an observation of America's problems and not a direct attack on Wal-Mart. For the record, however, guns are indeed a part of the chain's inventory.

Sheryl's second album garnered its fair share of awards, although with less fanfare than her debut album. At the 39th Annual Grammy Awards in 1997, Sheryl took home Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "If It Makes You Happy" and Best Rock Album. Later that year, she released the title track for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies starring Pierce Brosnan. It would later be nominated for another Grammy for Best Song from a Motion Picture.

In 1998, Sheryl's third album, The Globe Sessions, was released. Spawning the moody first single My Favorite Mistake, the album won the approval of fans and critics alike. It was nominated for Best Album and Best Rock Album in 1999 for the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, and Sheryl was nominated for Best Producer of the Year, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for There Goes the Neighborhood, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "My Favorite Mistake." When all was said and done, she took home the Grammy for Best Rock Album of the year.

In 1999, the album Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live in Central Park was released for the holiday season. The album features Sheryl performing duets with artists including The Dixie Chicks, Stevie Nicks, Eric Clapton, Lilith Fair collaborator Sarah McLachlan, and more.

Sheryl's work has also appeared on many motion picture soundtracks, including Hope Floats, Boys on the Side, Message in a Bottle, The Faculty, and Practical Magic, on which she performs with Stevie Nicks. She has also contributed to the Led Zeppelin and Carpenters tribute albums.

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A change will do you good | Reviewer: Gary | 8/24/13

A change will do you good is a song that is so good and never tire of and the lyrics are so good and catchy this song is so good it even elevated my mood,I just like your style of song writing and the great songs you have written such as soak up the sun and tomorrow never dies.

The Chosen Few | Reviewer: Kevin | 10/29/11

You may never read this Sheryl, but after watching that video "Fuel" and hearing your support I felt a real connection. Only I will feel it ever unfortunately, but it just felt strange is all. Almost like a soul connection. I`m not referring to religion or anything, but I do feel that we are all connected in some way.
I`ll leave you with the one statement that I believe will be the foundation for humanities harmony in the future. Pay close attention to the words that are capitalized
MAINTAIN humanity UNDER 500 million

The Chosen Few | Reviewer: Kevin | 10/29/11

In the book of parables and prophecies, YOU were foretold Sheryl
"And the first shall be last and the last first. For many shall be called but few chosen."
YOU were amongst the "chosen few" and you`ve been "called" upon.

Thank you. | Reviewer: Nicole | 2/24/11

Hi Cheryl. Your music has been a bit of a theme of my young adulthood. I always could relate to your music. You have an amazing god given talent and appreciate you sharing it with the world. Until recently I wasn't aware that our families were connected. I was visiting my grandfather (who was born and raised in Kennett) and happened to be listening to one of your songs. He said "oh you like lil' Cheryl?" Obviously I was confused. He explained to me that his mother (my great-grandmother) use to babysit you when you were little and you played with my aunt as a child. I was curious if you remembered the Skaggs family. I thought it was amazing how much your music touched me and to find out our families were connected. It truly is a small world. Keep up the great work. I look forward to listening to you for many years to come. :)

how about family canoe trip | Reviewer: andy | 7/23/10

hi sheryl, i take my 4 and 5 yr olds canoeing, om a ingle father, would love an extra orr'er . I want to thank you and your family for so much. My grandmother and grand father grew up in your neck of the woods. Ray family owned the local grocery store there in small town south of kennett. My grand mother has 100's of acres of farm land, and the farmer that has been farming the property tried to steal the property, thank goodness for your fathers law firm. The road to success has been a pretty bumpy ride, but that just makes all the good that much better. Anyway, if you find yourself in indiana and wouldnt mind canoeing, my kids and i would enjoy the day . Theres a real nice state park that has 7 different lakes we could canoe with channels.i hope you have a great life and enjoy raising your kids, i know i have, rather be dirt poor and enjoy time spent then being rich and thoughtless. Andy

Kind of old fashioned | Reviewer: Mike | 7/20/10

listened to you on cable last night on the channel that sells stuff....saw you last with Pavoratti in concert. That one really blew me away. Your latest was okay. I am sorry the band overpowered your lyrics. I couldn't enjoy the lyrics. You are cool, girl.

kat | Reviewer: Kat | 7/5/10

sheryl i had heard of you before but i never really learned about you until i saw you at lilith fair. It was my first concert and i loved thanks for a really good performance your an awesome person.

Hi Sheryl | Reviewer: Aji | 5/13/10

Sheryl,i'm from Timor Leste,i just wanted to say my husband is musician he realy like your song, Tittle is (if it makes you happy & Tulsa time,,,so he asked me sing that song for the 20 of May in indenpendent day,,,,(big Festival in Timor Leste )we miss you,we are big fan of you.....send me by this Email

Hi Sheryl | Reviewer: Aji | 5/13/10

Sheryl,i'm from Timor Leste,i just wanted to say my husband is musician he realy like your song, Tittle is (if it makes you happy & Tulsa time,,,so he asked me sing that song for the 20 of May in indenpendent day,,,,(big Festival in Timor Leste )we miss you,we are big fan of you.....

Awsome | Reviewer: Jen | 4/21/09

You are so awsome. I love your songs and i could have sworn i saw you in target the other day. Oh well. Any way I am so glad that you do all this charity work for people and you did the stand up to cancer thing with a few other celebrities. I love you r songs also.

sheryl you are outstanding | Reviewer: theresa | 3/16/08

sheryl you have an amazing voice, i think you & bonnie raitt would be a perfect duet, and if you ever have met john prine i think you & john would
be a great duet, above all i love your attitude its women like you from the heart of usa like myself who stands strong for what they believe in,
may you continue to be successful & healthy,
your southern, IL fan proud to be an american

Your Awesome | Reviewer: Michaela | 2/17/08

Sheryl Crow at school we are having this activity called the wax museum and we had to pick a person from history and i picked you! I picked you because you have an amazing voice and my mom also loves your songs so keep up the good work and if you have any ideas for me to do for my project on you for the wax museum just e-mail me at!!!!! Thank you a whole lot bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

WE LOVE CHERIL | Reviewer: MIKE ALI JESS | 2/4/08


about me.title by carly brow. | Reviewer: carly brow | 9/30/07

hi every body im carly brow i dont think you guys ever heard of me im a famous gymnast. i play soccer to its nice doing a couple of sports. you kids can start being a fan of mine. if you want to read my comments go under carly brow then under the computer topics pick corbin bleu topixs to read my comments under corbin bleus i live in vermont my birthday is on may 12th year 1998. be good in school . A FEW TIPS KIDS IF YOU DO GYMNASTICS ALWAYS HAVE YOUR GANDS BY YOUR EARS AND STAND UP STRAIGHT. IF YOU GO TO HIGHGATE SCHOOL YOU MIGHT GET MY AUTOGRAPH.

carly | Reviewer: carly brow | 8/19/07

hi sheryl my name is carly i always have wanted to meet you sense i was five and im 9 now and im still a big fan of your,s i have some of your cds i love your songs do you have any concerts in vermont because i live in vermont my cell phone number is 3704344 call me if your not busy.