Sheryl Crow: Tuesday Night Music Club
Publicity photo A&M Records
Album ReCue, a part of FUV's EQFM initiative, takes an on-air and online look back at influential releases by women that altered our perspective not only of the artist, but her invaluable impact on music history. Above, listen to a conversation with Alisa Ali and Darren DeVivo about Sheryl Crow's 1993 debut, Tuesday Night Music Club, and below, Laura Fedele's overview.
Yes, there really was a Tuesday Night Music Club, and yes, it spawned an album that launched a music career. The details of how that happened have been argued about ever since, but as we all now know, the talent of Sheryl Suzanne Crow is inarguable.
Before that somewhat rocky chapter, Crow had certainly paid her dues. Born of musical parents, a music major in college, she started out teaching autistic kids. She spent her twenties singing commercial jingles, doing session work, and then touring with Michael Jackson and Don Henley on backup.
After a bummer of a first album attempt experience, she started going with her then-boyfriend Kevin Gilbert to informal jam and songwriting sessions at the LA studio of producer Bill Bottrell (who produced the Tuesday Night Music Club record, and also worked with Jackson, Tom Petty, ELO, Elton John and Shelby Lynne, and who reunited with Crow for her 2008 release, Detours). Also in the room were David Baerwald and David Ricketts (of David & David), Brian MacLeod, and Dan Schwartz.
Crow was the one with a recording contract, so that’s where their creations landed. She explained the title and the situation, and everyone is credited, of course. But as Steve Huey wrote for AllMusic, Crow found out that “success came at a price,” as beefs arose. Regardless, she powered forward with an extensive tour for what would be the first of the 11 studio albums she’s released through a rich and varied career.
“There are people out there that are built the way they’re built and they’re never gonna be happy with the way anything turns out,” she said in an interview with Reuters in 2009. “If the record had sold 5,000 they would have been happier than the fact that it sold as many as it did.” Of course the income from the smash hit was enough to change all their lives.
The big song that broke the record open was "All I Wanna Do," which we all heard on the radio every day in 1994. The lyrics, about getting a good beer buzz going in a bar facing a car wash, were from a poem by Wyn Cooper; the royalty checks allowed the poet to quit his day job.
The strength of follow-up singles “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Strong Enough” and “Can’t Cry Anymore” kept Crow on the radio and people in the record stores. Tuesday Night Music Club has sold about 10 million copies overall. The album also won Crow three Grammy Awards in 1995: Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
As a notable debut record, and as a piece of pop culture, TNMC stands up strong to this day. Go see a Sheryl Crow concert now and you’ll find yourself singing along with the crowd about drinking and placing bets, and tearing up a little for “Lie to me, I promise I'll believe / Lie to me, but please don't leave.” She’ll be up there on stage enjoying every moment, guitar in hand, her bold voice shining like her big, beautiful smile.
WFUV's EQFM Album ReCue: Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club