Saturday, December 2, 1995

Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men debuted at #1 with "One Sweet Day": December 2, 1995

Originally posted December 2, 2011.

This ballad paired “some of the best R&B ballad singers of their generation” BBC emphasizing Carey’s “vocal gymnastics, artfully supported by the more restrained vocalizing of…Boyz II Men.” JA Done with “fitting and tender simplicity”, BBC “this passionate expression of loss” BBC was reportedly inspired by the death earlier that year of David Cole, half of the group C+C Music Factory and a friend of Carey’s. TB However, she says the song wasn’t inspired by just one specific person. BR1

Meanwhile, Boyz II Men were working on a tribute to Khalil Roundtree, their road manager who had been murdered. TB When Carey and the Boyz decided to pair up, they merged their efforts into what became not just the biggest pop hit of 1995, WHC but the biggest hit of the latter half of the 20th century.

In fact, from 1900 to 1999, the only song to log more weeks at number one (17) was the 1947 song “Near You” by Francis Craig and His Orchestra. Interestingly enough, it was the THIRD time that Boyz II Men could claim to have the biggest hit of the rock era – first with 1992’s “End of the Road” and again with 1994’s “I’ll Make Love to You.”

Collectively, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men had already accumulated 69 weeks (36 and 33 weeks respectively) atop the charts BB100 in just the first half of the 1990s. Mariah Carey went on to hit the top spot another eight times after this, giving her a total of 79 weeks at #1 – only one week behind Elvis Presley’s record 80 weeks. Boyz II Men only scored one more #1 (1997’s “4 Seasons of Loneliness”) and one more top 10 (1997’s “A Song for Mama”), but their total of 50 weeks in the pole position ranks them fourth all-time behind Elvis, Mariah, and The Beatles (59 weeks).

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, October 10, 1995

No Doubt released Tragic Kingdom: October 10, 1995

Originally posted October 10, 2011.

With their third album, and major-label debut, No Doubt hit the big time. Tragic Kingdom wasn’t an immediate hit – it didn’t chart until January of 1996 and then took until December 1996 before it hit #1. However, it sold ten million copies in the U.S. and more than 17 million worldwide. At the 1997 Grammy Awards, Tragic Kingdom took home the prize for Best Rock Album while No Doubt walked away with the award for Best New Artist.

The group has been credited with bringing “Southern California’s ska scene to a national stage while elevating the band to star status” CK with its mix of ““‘90s punk, third-wave ska, and pop sensibility.” STE Naysayers like Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne attributed the band’s success to Gwen Stefani’s “leggy, bleached-blond calling card” looks and the idea that “sex still sells”, WK but even he conceded that the music provided “a hefty chunk of new-wave party bounce and Chili Peppers-style white-boy punk.” WK

The band worked with producer Matthew Wilder, who’d had a top 5 pop hit with “Break My Stride” in 1983. It made for a “a clever mainstream co-opting of new wave quirkiness, and, as such, an ideal pairing.” STE “Wilder kept his production lean and accessible, accentuating No Doubt’s appealing mix of new wave melodicism, post-grunge rock, and West Coast sunshine.” STE

The album “scored several hits” CK “led by the infectious, pseudo-new wave single Just a GirlSTE in which Stefani expressed her “exasperation with female stereotypes.” WK WK Spiderwebs, was written about a woman “trying to avoid the constant phone calls of a persistent man.” WK Both songs “positively ruled the airwaves, both alternative and mainstream.” STE

“In 1997 No Doubt cemented their cross-generational appeal” STE with Don’t Speak, which Browne called “an old-fangled power ballad.” WK The song was written about Stefani’s breakup with bandmate Tony Kanal. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard airplay chart for a then-record sixteen weeks. It was not eligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 because it was not released as a commercial single.

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, October 3, 1995

Oasis released (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?: October 3, 1995

Originally posted October 3, 2012.

image from

Release date: 3 October 1995
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Hello / Roll with It (8/26/95, #2 UK) / Wonderwall (11/11/95, #8 US, #2 UK, #9 AR, #1 MR, #33 AC) / Don’t Look Back in Anger (3/2/96, #41a US, #1 UK, #10 MR) / Hey Now! / (untitled) / Some Might Say (5/6/95, #1 UK) / Cast No Shadow / She’s Electric / Morning Glory (10/7/95, #24 AR) / (untitled) / Champagne Supernova (2/24/96, #20a US, #8 AR, #1 MR)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 4.31 UK, 22.0 world

Peak: 4 US, 110 UK


Review: The Gallagher brothers (singer Liam and guitarist Noel) have been called “tossers, wankers” TL because they “spent the ‘90s getting arrested, yelling at each other and warring with Blur’s Damon Albarn over the very important matter of which band was Britain’s best.” TL In regards to the latter, Oasis won the battle with Morning Glory, an album “with four hit singles that attested to the strength and consisten high quality of the material.” PR

Of course, the group was also been accused of “ripping off The Beatles (ok, excellent stealing).” ZS They may be “guilty of some borrowing, or even plagiarism, but [Noel] uses the familiar riffs as building blocks. This is where his genius lies: He’s a thief and doesn’t have many original thoughts, but as a pop/rock melodicist he’s pretty much without peer.” AMG “The nagging familiarity of the material and the group’s stroppy self-confidence made criticism redundant.” PR

“Oasis are hardly innovators” AMG but “this powerhouse sophomore album rocks, end of story.” ZS “They have a majestic grandeur in their sound that makes ballads…or rockers…positively transcendent.” AMG Their “songs are flat-out infectious with melodies that capture their passion, sneering arrogance and good chops.” ZS Liam’s “voice is a no-frills vessel for carrying a tune;” TL he shows a knack for “turn[ing] each song into a sing-a-long.” TL Oasis “came as close as anyone to combining the tunefulness of the Beatles with the attitude of the Stones.” TL This is “quintessential Britpop.” ZS

If Definitely Maybe, their debut, “was an unintentional concept album about wanting to be a rock & roll star, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is what happens after the dreams come true. Oasis turns in a relatively introspective second record, filled with big, gorgeous ballads instead of ripping rockers.” AMG

“Unlike Definitely Maybe, the production on Morning Glory is varied enough to handle the range in emotions; instead of drowning everything with amplifiers turned up to 12, there are strings, keyboards, and harmonicas. This expanded production helps give Noel Gallagher’s sweeping melodies an emotional resonance that he occasionally can’t convey lyrically. However, that is far from a fatal flaw; Gallagher’s lyrics work best in fragments, where the images catch in your mind and grow, thanks to the music.” AMG

Highlights include the “epic arena rawk of Champagne SupernovaTL and the “sympathetic” AMG Wonderwall, “a title taken from an obscure film scored by George Harrison.” TL There’s also the “raging title track [with] a hint of regret,” AMG the “defiant” AMG Some Might Say and the “humorous…She’s Electric, a bawdy rewrite of ‘Digsy’s Diner.’” AMG

Some Might Say

Roll with It

Morning Glory


Champagne Supernova

Don’t Look Back in Anger

Resources and Related Links:

  • Oasis’ DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • album page on DMDB website (even more in-depth look at album)
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  • PR Paul Roland (2001). CD Guide to Pop & Rock. B.T. Batsford LTD: London. Page 78.
  • TL Time Magazine’s All-TIME 100 Albums by Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light (11/13/06).
  • ZS Zagat Survey (2003). Music Guide: 1,000 Top Albums of All Time. Coordinator: Pat Blashill. Music Editor: Holly George-Warren. Editors: Betsy Andrews and Randi Gollin. Zagat Survey, LLC: New York, NY. Page 175.


Saturday, September 2, 1995

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened its doors: September 2, 1995

In its own words, “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.” MS

The Hall/Museum officially opened its doors to the public in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie on September 2, 1995. The day before, a parade and ribbon-cutting ceremony took place. Among the attendees were Ahmet Ertegun, Little Richard, Yoko Ono, the governor of Ohio, and the mayor of Cleveland.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation had established itself in New York City originally, but officials from Cleveland approached them in 1985 with a proposal for a major museum. Suzan Evans said, “Our eyebrows were raised, and somebody at the meeting actually passed me a note that said, ‘Pack your bags.’” HO Cleveland also ranked first in a USA Today poll asking where the museum should be located. Cleveland was chosen as the home for the museum in May 1986.

In 1987, architect I.M. Pei was tapped to design the museum. HO Ground brok on June 7, 1993 with notables such as Chuck Berry, Sam Phillips, Pete Townshend, and Billy Joel on hand. Since opening its doors, the museum has had nearly eight million visitors. HO

The Rock Hall’s first slate of inductees included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Yancey were honored as early influences. The first non-performers honored were producer Sam Phillips and disc jockey Alan Freed. Talent scout/producer John Hammond was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement award.” HO

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, August 26, 1995

Blur Beats Oasis in the Battle of Britpop: August 26, 1995

Originally posted August 26, 2011.

1995 marked the pinnacle of Britpop in the U.K. The genre emerged from the British independent music scene in the early ‘90s and has been suggested to be the English response to the rise of grunge in the U.S.A. The form was characterized by its guitar-driven pop sound which recalled some of the country’s biggest bands from the 1960s and 1970s such as The Beatles and The Kinks. Groups from the 1980s and early 1990s such as The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and Happy Mondays were considered immediate predecessors to the movement. In the U.S., the genre was understandably less prevalent but many of the bands labeled as Britpop found homes on American alternative radio.

The genre’s two most popular bands were Blur and Oasis. In 1995, the former group was coming off the success of their highly acclaimed album Parklife while the latter band was coming off Definitely Maybe, which had set the record for the country’s fastest-selling debut album.

Both groups were prepping their follow-up albums and had grown antagonistic toward each other in the last year. By the time they were ready to release their new singles, the record companies made the most of the marketing opportunity and released the singles (“Country House” for Blur, “Roll with It” for Oasis) on the same day.

The release date, August 14, was cited by NME magazine as the day of the big chart showdown – or “The Battle of Britpop” as it was commonly referred to by the press. However, it wasn’t until the official UK chart for the week ending August 26, 1995, that an official winner could be declared. Blur debuted at #1 on the chart with 274,000 copies while Oasis’ sales of 216,000 landed them at #2. However, while Blur won the battle, Oasis won the war. Their album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? became the third-best-selling album in British history and found much greater success in the U.S. than Blur.

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, June 13, 1995

Alanis Morissette released Jagged Little Pill: June 13, 1995

image from

Originally posted 6/13/2012. Updated 3/9/2013.

Released: 13 June 1995
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. All I Really Want (10/28/95, #65a US, #59 UK, #14 MR) 2. You Oughta Know (6/17/95, #13a US, #22 UK, #3 AR, #1 MR) 3. Perfect 4. Hand in My Pocket (8/19/95, #15a US, #26 UK, #8 AR, #1 MR, #30 AC) 5. Right Through You 6. Forgiven 7. You Learn (2/24/96, #1a US, #24 UK, #40 AR, #7 MR, #23 AC, air: 1.0 m) 8. Head Over Feet (8/3/96, #3a US, #7 UK, #25 MR, #27 AC) 9. Mary Jane 10. Ironic (1/6/96, #2a US, #11 UK, #18 AR, #1 MR, #28 AC, sales: 0.5 m, air: 1.0 m) 11. Not the Doctor 12. Wake Up 13. You Oughta Know (alternate take)/ Your House (unlisted tracks)

Sales (in millions): 16.0 US, 2.55 UK, 33.0 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 112 US, 111 UK


Review: Alanis Morissette got her start on the children’s variety show You Can’t Do That on Television at the age of 10. In a move now seemingly replicated by every actress to ever land a show on the Disney channel, she parlayed it into an attempted career as a dance-pop singer. She released two albums in Canada, one of which was a top ten hit, but remained an unknown internationally. Then she left the Great White North, partnered with producer and songwriter Glen Ballard (Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl, Wilson Phillips’ self-titled debut) in L.A., and tapped her bitter diary entries of teen angst to transform into an “angry rocker chick.” ZS Of course, she was savvy enough to give her songs enough pop gloss to move over 30 million copies of the album worldwide and inspire “a generation of soundalikes to bare their souls on record.” PR

The song Perfect served as the template. She “improvised the lyrics on the spot, and Ballard played guitar. The version on Jagged Little Pill was the only take they recorded and the first song shared with the record company execs. WK From there on, they aimed to write and record a song a day over 12-16 hour shifts. WK Ballard provided rough instrumentation and Morissette’s vocals were recorded in one or two takes each; those original demo vocals were still used when the tracks were redone in a professional studio later. WK

You Oughta Know

Thematically the song pointed the direction of the album as well. Alanis “snarls, at the top of her formidable lungs, about egregious slights – from parents who suffocate with their expectations.” TMAll I Really Want and Forgiven fester with a barely suppressed rage against institutionalized hypocrisy and what she sees as the emotional dishonesty of the male species.” PR The album’s biggest hit, Ironic, is “Alanis speaking her piece about the perils of being a girl in a fickle-as-fuck world, singing like an acoustic guitar.” RS On lead single You Oughta Know, Alanis “turns jealous bile into something worth hearing EW as she “unleashes her rage at a lover who dumped her for another, threatening to disrupt dinner and taunting him: ‘Everytime I scratch my nails down someone else’s back,’ she rasps, ‘I hope you feel it.’” EW


Alanis “isn’t a particularly good singer” AMG but she has a “knack for bringing listeners into the center of her storm” TM as she “chews up and spits out the lyrics in a style reminiscent of Tori Amos at her most melodramatic.” PR She provided an “inside look into the minds and moods of young women who’ve been jilted and scorned,” ZS refuting the “wisdom about how anger is not a terribly constructive emotion.” TM “Every teenage girl who owned it says, ‘she’s not annoying, damn it! She’s me!’” ZS

The album garnered six Grammy nominations, of which Alanis snagged Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song, and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. She missed out on Best New Artist and Song of the Year. Until 2010, “she was the youngest person to receive the Album of the Year award, at age 21.” WK It was “a defining disc for her generation.” ZS

Resources and Related Links:


Saturday, May 27, 1995

Hootie & the Blowfish hit #1 with Cracked Rear View: May 27, 1995

Originally posted May 27, 2012.

Cracked Rear View marks the commercial debut of these college buddies from South Carolina.” AZ It became “the success story of 1994/1995,” AMG building from a July 1994 release to topping the Billboard charts eleven months later and selling ten million copies during 1995 alone. WK “It’s a startling, large number, especially for a new band, but in some ways, the success of the record isn’t that surprising.” AMG “Although Hootie & the Blowfish aren’t innovative, they deliver the goods, turning out an album of solid, rootsy folk-rock songs that have simple, powerful hooks.” AMG

Hold My Hand

Hold My Hand has a singalong chorus that epitomizes the band’s good-times vibes.” AMG With their pop hooks, it’s no surprise that ‘Hold My Hand,’ Let Her Cry, and Only Wanna Be with You were all big hits. Granted, “none of the tracks transcend their generic status, but they are strong songs for their genre, with crisp chords and bright melodies.” AMG

Let Her Cry

Generally “bands given to blunt popcraft and elementary guitars generally favor singers up toward the whiny end of the dramatic spectrum.” RC However, lead singer Darius Rucker’s “gruff baritone has more grit than the actual songs.” AMG He “takes his vocal cues from what Gregg Allman made of blues and soul” RC and his “grit adds an extra layer of substance to a music already deeply comforting in its formal certainties.” RC

Only Wanna Be with You

In addition, with “Mark Bryan’s muscular guitar framing Jim Sonefeld’s bluesy, energetic southern folk rock tunes” AZ the crew made “the kind of thoroughly likable album people sing along with on the car radio. When Rucker demands, ‘Stand up and let me see you smile,’ there’s something that feels real and convincing behind it; sure, it’s a formula, but a sincere one, and it works over and over again.” AZ

“At their core, Hootie & the Blowfish are a bar band, but they managed to convince millions of listeners that they were the local bar band.” AMG “There may not be a lot of virtuosity behind it, but there's plenty of fun” AZ “and that’s why Cracked Rear View was a major success.” AMG


Resources and Related Links:

Monday, March 13, 1995

Radiohead released The Bends: March 13, 1995

image from

Release date: 13 March 1995
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Planet Telex / The Bends / High and Dry (3/11/95, #73a US, #17 UK, #18 MR) / Fake Plastic Trees (5/9/95, #65a US, #20 UK, #11 MR) / Bones / Nice Dream / Just (9/2/95, #19 UK, #37 MR) / My Iron Lung (10/8/94, #24 UK) / Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was / Black Star / Sulk / Street Spirit (Fade Out) (1/22/96, #5 UK)

Sales (in millions): 1.5 US, 0.9 UK, 3.5 world

Peak: 88 US, 6 UK


Review: “The first half of Nineties rock was shaped by Nirvana, and the second half was dominated by Radiohead.” RS500 Thanks to the success of the anti-hero song “Creep” and parent album Pablo Honey, Radiohead burst onto the scene as a sort of Brit version of grunge for alt-rock losers. That album, however, “in no way was adequate preparation for its epic, sprawling follow-up, The BendsAMG which “married a majestic and somber guitar sound to Thom Yorke's anguished-choirboy vocals, drawing on the epic grandeur of U2 and the melancholy of the Smiths.” RS500

The Bends is what really led to Radiohead becoming “a blue chip band.” AZ “Building from the sweeping, three-guitar attack that punctuated the best moments of Pablo Honey,” AMG “The quintet honed its talent for bombastic Brit Rock, yet still preserved an edge of unpredictability.” AZ They “create a grand and forceful sound that nevertheless resonates with anguish and despair – it’s cerebral anthemic rock.” AMG

“If the CD proved anything, it was that Radiohead could find solid ground between pop experimentation and the tradition of born-in-the-bone, balls-out rock.” AZ “Occasionally, the album displays its influences, whether it’s U2, Pink Floyd, R.E.M., or the Pixies, but Radiohead turn clich├ęs inside out, making each song sound bracingly fresh.” AMGThe Bends is full of instantly catchy numbers, but a the same time, none seem fit for radio.” DV This “is essentially Radiohead’s way of creating a bridge between that initial wave of ‘90s angstery…what we’ve come to call indie rock.” EK

“It makes the record compelling upon first listen, but it reveals new details with each listen.” AMG The Bends “marries…ambitious, and often challenging, instrumental soundscapes to songs that are at their cores hauntingly melodic and accessible.” AMG “Thom Yorke’s tortured lyrics give the album a melancholy undercurrent, as does the surging, textured music.” AMG For example, “the truly demented My Iron LungAD is a song which has “a catchy hook that makes you bob your head...then they get all avant garde on you.” DV

My Iron Lung

Planet Telex “explodes from the speakers with a depth to the sound that just wasn’t there on Pablo Honey.” AD “A sound like wind coming in through a crack in your window, the song bleeds into a trippy feedback squall.” DV

High and Dry

Even as the group became experimental, they still maintained an ability to make inroads at radio. “Creep” could well have been a one-hit wonder for the band in the States, but songs like High and Dry and Fake Plastic Trees suggested Radiohead could find a home at alternative radio. An “emphasis on melodic hooks keeps things from getting as mushy as most mope-rock.” DBW For example, Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was “has a grandeur about it, a wonderful ballad with a sad, lost atmosphere and great production and mixing.” AD “The closing Street Spirit, which revolves around a fascinating repeating guitar figure and intriguing Thom Yorke lyrics, is almost worth the price of admission alone.” AD

Fake Plastic Trees

“In addition, there are “tunes that rely on sudden dynamics changes…and get some energy going” DBW such as Just, whose “harder guitars…appealed to Radiohead’s American fans” DV and “the extremely U2-like Bones.” DBW That song and Nice Dream “are mood pieces, attempts at moving forwards ably supported by the excellent production of John Leckie, without whom neither song would amount to anything more than the prettier moments from the very un-acclaimed Pablo Honey.” AD


Still, while The Bends was a leap forward from Pablo Honey, it is a record which has gained status with perspective. Songs like “Sulk and Black Star are coming from a band that was still trying to find their sound.” DV When the follow-up album, OK Computer became one of the decade’s game changers, “The Bends received its due for being that bridge, the changing space, between a young band with a fluke hit to a mature working group pushing the boundaries of rock music.” JM By comparison to OK Computer, “The Bends is pretty gosh-darn conventional…There are places all through it that betray a distinct whiff of…classic rock.” EK

Street Spirit

Resources and Related Links: