Craig Allen says: ‘Meet Counting Crows’
New Jersey 101.5 has YOUR tickets to see Counting Crows at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, on the Aug. 29! All you have to do is call in when you hear one of their songs. And If you become an NJ Insider (all it takes is an email address or Facebook account), you can get a leg up — we'll tell you in advance when the songs are going to be played.
"Counting Crows" formed in Berkeley, California, in 1993.
Singer Adam Duritz and guitarist David Bryson had started playing the San Francisco coffeehouse scene under the name in 1991.
"Counting Crows" was taken from the British nursery rhyme "One For Sorrow," about the superstitious counting of magpies (crows). Duritz had heard the rhyme in a movie!
Starting as a duo, another friend, guitarist David Immergluck, joined the emerging band from time to time, but declined membership as he was active in two other area bands.
As time went by, demos were recorded, and others came aboard to assemble a full band.
By 1993, the Counting Crows were: Adam Duritz on lead vocals (he would also occasionally play piano, and was the main songwriter), David Bryson on guitar, Matt Malley on bass guitar, Charlie Gillingham on keyboards, and Steve Bowman on drums.
The band signed with Geffen Records in 1993.
The debut album, "August And Everything After" was released late in 1993.
The first hit single, "Mr. Jones" refers to Duritz's childhood friend and band mate, Marty Jones. It tells the story of working musicians dreaming about making it big...
MTV started featuring the video in heavy rotation in December 1993...and that ensured that Counting Cows would be "big stars" (to quote the song).
"Mr. Jones" would land at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in early 1994.
"Round Here" was the next chart hit (#31/1994).
I was "playin' the hits" on a top-40 station that leaned "alternative," and we also played
"Einstein On The Beach (For An Eggman), which just missed the top-40 (#45/1994).
An early Counting Crows demo song, "Einstein" appeared on the "DGC Rarities" album in 1994 (along with other hit makers including Nirvana, Weezer, Hole, and Beck).
"Rain King" would be the last single from the debut album (#66/1994).
"August And Everything After" would sell 7 million copies.
David Vickrey, a second guitarist, would join the band in early '94...
Counting Crows would tour extensively through 1993 and 1994...both in support of other bands (including Cracker, the Cranberries and Midnight Oil), and then as headliners.
Counting Crows also toured with the Rolling Stones in 1994.
All the touring, and "success" would take its toll...drummer Steve Bowman left the band, and Adam Duritz suffered a widely reported nervous breakdown (not his first).
Counting Crows only played 2 live shows in 1995...which gave Duritz the time to write new music.
"Recovering The Satellites" hit store shelves in October 1996.
It was considered a concept album, with Duritz's songs dealing with the topics of new found fame, picking up the pieces of a family life, and social life, and fixing a psyche shattered by fame.
"A Long December"...
...would return the band to the top-10 (#6/1997).
"Daylight Fading" would stop at 51 on the pop charts, but would fare better on the Adult Contemporary Chart (#20/1997).
After 9 months of near constant touring, Duritz developed nodules on his vocal cords...necessitating some time off, and the cancellation of some shows.
The double live album "Across A Wire: Live In New York City" was released in late 1997.
Counting Crows would perform at Woodstock '99."
"Hangingaround" (#28/1999) was the hit off the "This Desert Life" album.
Before hitting the road to co-headline with the band "Live," the guys again asked long-time session player, and friend, David Immergluck to join the band on a permanent basis. This time, he said yes (and he remains with the band today, playing a wide variety of guitars, the mandolin, and singing background vocals).
Counting Crow's fourth studio album, "Hard Candy" was released in June 2002. It was a more upbeat album, than the previous efforts.
"American Girls" did not appear on the Hot 100...but did respectably on the adult charts (#24/2002). Sheryl Crow sings backup vocals with Counting Crows!
I was in between radio jobs that summer, and was doing a favor, holding down afternoons on the top-40 station in State College P.A.....I had a "Smash Or Trash" feature on the show, and "American Girls" did well. We "added" the song. I was surprised (and disappointed) that this "hit" didn't do well on top-40 radio!
Next time would be the "charm!"
A cover version of Joni Mitchell's 1970's smash "Big Yellow Taxi" would take Adult Contemporary radio by storm!
Vanessa Carlton sang backing vocals on the single edit of the song...the album version (without Carlton) would be included on early copies of the album, as a "hidden track." The hit version of the song would be included on later "Hard Candy" albums.
Featured on the soundtrack to the movie "Two Week's Notice," "Big Yellow Taxi" would stop at #42 on the Hot 100, but, do much better with adult radio...(#5/2003).
During (and after) the "Hard Candy Tour," several band members would come and go.
The guys would also tour with John Mayer at this time...
Counting Crows would release the "Greatest Hits" album "Films About Ghosts" in November 2003.
Counting Crow's next big hit would also be featured on a movie soundtrack!
"Accidentally in Love" appeared on the popular "Shrek 2" soundtrack. It would be added to later issues of the 2003 Greatest Hits CD.
"Accidentally" would (only) be a #39 hit on the Hot 100...but go to #3 on the Adult Contemporary Chart in 2004. The song was nominated for an Academy Award.
A live album would be released in 2006, comprised mostly of 2003 "Hard Candy Tour" performances.
In 2009, Counting Crows left Geffen records.
The band then offered a free download of their 2003 live recording (cover version) of Madonna's "Borderline." Check it out...its different...!
For the next few years, the members of Counting Crows would tour together...tour with individual friends...and work on individual projects.
"August And Everything After: Live At Town Hall" came out in 2011. It would be the band's third live album, made up of performances from a 2007 tour. "Echoes Of The Outlaw Roadshow," another live album, came out in 2013.
In late 2013, the guys went back into the studio to record a new album, "Somewhere Under Wonderland."
"Palisades Park" was released on the Capitol Records label in July of last year...
What else is the band up to? Click HERE for their official website! It includes lots of band news, great concert photos, and official videos...and more!
Enjoy the Counting Crows all weekend, with New Jersey 101.5!