With her modern spin on classic rock, catchy melodies, and earnest lyrics, Sheryl Crow made her mark as one of the most exciting and sought-after singers/musicians in rock-n-roll. Since the release of her first smash hit single, "All I Wanna Do" from the album Tuesday Night Music Club (1994), Crow's voice dominated the airwaves during the 1990s and into the millennium, helping her to earn a slew of Grammys and American Music Awards. A onetime backup singer to Michael Jackson prior to becoming a famous, the rock goddess released one hit single after another, including "If it Makes You Happy," "A Change Would Do You Good," and "Everyday is a Winding Road," from her 1996 self-titled album. After undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 2006, Crow came back strong with Detours (2008), a heartfelt album where the singer opened up about her new experiences as a mother and cancer survivor. The album also featured Crow's trademark world-weary ballads and breezy melodies, reaffirming her as one of music's most enduring and original artists.
Sheryl Suzanne Crow was born on Feb. 11, 1962 in Kennett, MO. She was born into a family of musicians; her father was a professional trumpet player and her mother was a singer and a piano teacher. Crow learned to play the piano in elementary school and at age 13, she wrote her first song. She went on to major in music at the University of Missouri, where she also played keyboards in a cover band. After graduation, Crow worked two jobs; she was an elementary music teacher by day; a local cover band singer at night. In 1986, Crow moved to Los Angeles to pursue singing full-time. Her first big break was singing back-up vocals for Michael Jackson's international "Bad" tour in 1988. While on tour with the King of Pop, Crow often sang the female duet vocals on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (1987), and was rumored to have had romantic relationship with Jackson. After two years on tour with M.J., Crow resumed her search for a recording contract, only to find that music companies were not interested in her unless she was willing to transform herself into a pop-dance singer.
By refusing to compromise her musical identity, Crow failed to secure a music deal, resulting in her becoming depressed for several months. She revived her career as a session vocalist, performing with more seasoned performers like Sting, Stevie Wonder and Rod Stewart, and along the way, further developed her songwriting skills. Crow's efforts as a session vocalist paid off after she signed a record deal with A&M. Music producer Hugh Padgham and Crow worked on her debut album in 1991, but Padgham's pop sensibilities resulted in a ballad-heavy album that did not represent Crow's musical taste. The album was never released, and Crow became depressed again for almost two years. In 1993, Crow began collaborating with a music group dubbed "Tuesday Night Music Club," that included music engineer Kevin Gilbert, her boyfriend at the time, as well as industry pros like David Baerwald and Brian MacLeod, among others. That same year, the group released Crow's official debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club, featuring the singles "Run Baby Run" and "Leaving Las Vegas." Initially, the album only achieved moderate success, until the release of "All I Wanna Do" (1994), a catchy and breezy ode to living the simple life in sunny Los Angeles. The song became one of the year's biggest hits and launched Crow as a Grammy Award-winning artist virtually overnight.
But Crow's initial success was marred by tragedy. In 1994, she and the Tuesday Night Music Club had a falling out shortly after the singer performed "Leaving Las Vegas" on a late-night talk show and claimed that the song was autobiographical. In reality, one of her collaborators, Baerwald, wrote the song based on a book written by his friend John O'Brien. The book also inspired the 1995 feature film of the same name that would eventually star Nicolas Cage in an Oscar-winning performance. The rift between Crow and the group took a turn for the worse after O'Brien committed suicide shortly after her television appearance. While the deceased's family issued a statement that his death was completely unrelated to Crow, the feud rendered their professional ties beyond repair. More tragedy ensued. In 1996, Crow's ex-boyfriend, Gilbert, died reportedly of autoerotic asphyxiation.
As a comeback and to perhaps prove her legitimacy, Crow wrote most of the songs on her second self-titled album (1996) featuring the smash hits "If it Makes You Happy," "A Change Would Do You Good," and "Everyday is a Winding Road." Her fresh take on classic rock combined with poetry-laden ballads not only elevated Crow's career but also earned her Grammy awards for Best Rock Album and Best Female Rock Vocal in 1996. She also wrote and performed the theme song of the James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997). In 1998, Crow's album The Globe Sessions produced two more Top 20 hits, "Anything But Down" and "My Favorite Mistake," a song that was reportedly about her brief relationship with musician Eric Clapton. The song "Safe and Sound" from her 2002 album C'mon C'mon was also rumored to have been an account of her relationship with actor Owen Wilson, whom she dated in 1999. The album featured the hit single "Soak Up the Sun," which reaffirmed Crow's penchant for catchy lyrics and sunshine melodies. Her collaborations with other artists proved successful as well; in 2001, she produced several tracks on her rock idol Stevie Nicks' album Trouble in Shangri-La and also recorded the duet "Picture" with Kid Rock his album Cocky.
While Crow's relationships with celebrities often made headlines, it was her relationship with multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong that garnered the most media attention. The couple began dating in 2003 and announced their engagement in 2005. In February 2006, the couple split for unknown reasons. Days after announcing their break-up, Crow was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer, forcing her to take time off from her career. Crow told People magazine in July 2006 that Armstrong, himself a cancer survivor, offered to be with her upon learning her diagnosis. She told the magazine that while they considered the idea of reconciliation, they ultimately decided against it. After successful treatment, Crow resumed her career in 2008 with the album Detours, which detailed her battle with breast cancer, relationship with Armstrong, and new life after adopting a son, Wyatt, born in 2007. The single mom adopted another boy, Levi James, in 2010. That same year, Crow released the album 100 Miles from Memphis, featuring the R&B-inspired single "Summer Day."
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Moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue singing full-time
Sang back-up vocals for Michael Jackson during pop icon's international "Bad" tour
Signed a record deal with A&M and worked on an album with music producer Hugh Padgham; album never released
Began collaboration with a group of musicians called "Tuesday Night Music Club"; released debut album <i>Tuesday Night Music Club</i>, featuring the singles "Run Baby Run" and "Leaving Las Vegas"
Achieved mainstream success with the single "All I Wanna Do" off debut album; had a falling out with Tuesday Night Music Club members shortly after
Released self-titled second album, which included the hits "If it Makes You Happy," "A Change Would Do You Good," and "Everyday is a Winding Road"
Wrote and performed the theme song of the James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies"
Produced several tracks on Stevie Nicks' album <i>Trouble in Shangri-La</i>
Fourth studio album <i>C'mon, C'mon</i> spawned the hit single "Soak Up the Sun"
Collaborated with rapper Kid Rock on the duet ballad "Picture"
Released a cover of Cat Stevens' "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (1967) for greatest hits compilation <i>The Very Best of Sheryl Crow</i>
Appeared as a musical performer in the Cole Porter biopic "De-Lovely"
Diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer after a highly publicized split with Lance Armstrong
Made a musical comeback with sixth studio album <i>Detours</i>
Paid tribute to rock and roll with <i>100 Miles from Memphis</i>
Guest starred on episodes of ABC's "Cougar Town"