Tuesday, May 7, 2013

melissa etheridge

Melissa Lou Etheridge stimulated, attracted, and captivated us with the raspy obsessive ruminations of her emotional eponymous debut. Etheridge began playing the guitar at the age of eight in Leavenworth, Kansas.  She studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston before dropping out to go to Los Angeles to work on a career in music.  Bill Leopold discovered her and became her manager; and, with increased visibility from her live club performances, a bidding war began over her including major labels such as A&M, Capitol, EMI, and Warner Bros.  She signed with Island Records; but the initial recordings for her debut album were rejected by the label for being too polished.  She cut ten tracks in four days in stripped down style that was more reminiscent of her live shows.  The sessions featured Melissa Etheridge on acoustic guitar, guitar, and vocals; Wally Badarou and Scott Thurston on keyboard; Craig Krampf on percussion and drums; Kevin McCormick on bass; Johnny Lee Schell on guitar; and Waddy Wachtel on guitar.  Production credits include Melissa Etheridge, Niko Bolas, Craig Krampf, and Kevin McCormick; with Chris Blackwell and Rob Fraboni as executive producers.

Etheridge considers:    "If you listen to my first album, it's very personal. Because I had to say 'I' and 'you' it became very direct -- there are lines, even in my first album, there's lines like, 'I've got Delilah in my hair' and... stuff like that was sort of blurry but it was open to interpretation. And anybody was welcome and I find it to be a challenge, very creative and it made me work harder ... I fell in love with rock n’ roll music when I was a kid, when I was teenager in the seventies. Good Lord – I head banged to Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen and listened to Joni Mitchell and The Eagles and all these great artists, who seemed to be …it seemed like they were playing music and they had a mission. They were writing because they were artists that had something to say and to reflect back onto our society. You know, you’d hear The Who’s 'We Don’t Get Fooled Again' - and you’d listen and go, 'Yeah, they’re singing the truth – cool. I can’t wait until I get up there and sing the truth. I want to be an artist.' And then somewhere down the line, I got caught up in the eighties, and music ended up being about money. By the time I was releasing albums in the late eighties, 1988, it was 'Yeah, yeah, be an artist – but we’ve got to make sure you have a hit song.' I was able – thank goodness I was in a record company, Island Records with Chris Blackwell, who signed like U2 and Bob Marley and he understood artists – but then he sold the record company to a corporation. And I have to talk to accountants about my project! And it was saddening in my heart as an artist."

'Melissa Etheridge' went to forty-eight in Sweden, thirty-six in Germany, twenty-two in the US, sixteen in Austria, nine in the Netherlands, and number three in Australia. It has been certified double platinum and triple platinum in Canada.


"Similar Features" – 4:42
made it to number ninety-four on the US pop chart, ninety-three in Canada, thirty-four in Australia, and number six on the US hot mainstream rock tracks chart.  

"Chrome Plated Heart" – 3:59
charted at number twenty-two on the US hot mainstream rock tracks chart.  

"Like the Way I Do" – 5:23
hit forty-two on the US pop chart, twenty-eight on the US hot mainstream rock tracks chart, and number sixteen in Australia.  

"Precious Pain" – 4:15

"Don't You Need" – 4:59

"The Late September Dogs" – 6:33

"Occasionally" – 2:36

"Watching You"  – 5:33

"Bring Me Some Water" – 3:52
made it to number thirty-four in Canada, ten on the US hot mainstream rock tracks chart, and number nine in Australia. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

"I Want You" – 4:07

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