he act that would become Counting Crows would start in San Fransisco, California, USA in 1991 with Adam Duritz (vocals/keyboards; ex-The Himalayans) and producer/guitarist David Bryson. Starting as an acoustic duo, they would play gigs in and around Berkeley and San Francisco. Friend and guitarist David Immerglück, although never an official member, played with them from time to time; he never joined due to his involvement with other projects at the time. Other musicians and friends came and went, filling in the needed parts to complete a band as the demos got recorded until 1993 when the band had grown to a stable lineup of Duritz (vocals/piano/songwriter) and Bryson (guitar), along with Matt Malley (bass), Charlie Gillingham (keyboards) and Steve Bowman (drums). Later that same year they would sign to 'Geffen Records'.
Before signing to 'Geffen', the band had already recorded demo versions of a number of songs, known as the Flying Demos. The tracks included: Rain King, Omaha, Anna Begins, Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman), Shallow Days, Love and Addiction, Mr. Jones, Round Here, 40 Years, Margery Dreams of Horses, Bulldog, Lightning and We're Only Love. Some songs from the tape later resurfaced (in reworked versions) on the band's debut album August and Everything After; original copies of the tape would also later surface among fans as bootlegs.
September 1993 saw the release of that debut August and Everything After. From the beginning, the band was focused on live performances and the supporting tours for the album lived up to that cause. The track Mr. Jones would be the band's break-out when MTV began playing the video and radio put the track into heavy rotation. The next year saw the act appearing on Saturday Night Live and Late Show with David Letterman, as well as a tour with The Rolling Stones.
The following year, the band played only two gigs. During this time Duritz wrote the set of songs that became Recovering the Satellites (1996). The album came across as heavier than the previous and also saw the debut of second guitarist Dan Vickrey, who had joined back in early 1994.
1999 saw the act perform at Woodstock 99 as well as release This Desert Life; sales helped greatly by the tracks Hanginaround and Colorblind, which was also featured in the movie Cruel Intentions.
Receiving better reviews than previous works mostly due to more radio friendly tracks, Hard Candy (2002) included a cover of Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi. Vanessa Carlton contributed backing vocals to the single version release of the track; a track that also appeared on the soundtrack for Two Weeks Notice movie and was re-released on the future editions of the album; the original version, without vocals by Carlton, appeared on the first album release as a hidden track.
Midway through the Hard Candy support tour, Ben Mize (drums) amicably left to spend more time with his family and pursue his own musical interests; Jim Bogios would replace him.
Films About Ghosts, a best of... album followed in November 2003; the title taken from the lyrics of Mrs. Potter's Lullaby, a track from This Desert Life.
In 2004, the Accidentally in Love appeared on the soundtrack of the computer-animated film Shrek 2. The song was subsequently nominated and performed for an Academy Award.
The live effort New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall, assembled from performances on their 2003 tour for Hard Candy arrived in 2006. The recording also featured additional tracks like Hazy (co-written with tour support act Gemma Hayes) and various vendor-specific additional tracks, such as a cover of Jackson C. Frank's Blues Run the Game.
Amidst touring in July 2007, the band performed live before the Home Run Derby at the 2007 MLB All-Star Game.
Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings (2008) would follow. A year later the act would part ways with 'Geffen' to record independently.
August and Everything After: Live at Town Hall (2011) came as the act's third professional live album and the first concert video of their career, using footage from the Town Hall concert recorded in September 2007. The covers album, Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) (2012) would follow, along with another live effort, Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow (2013). Their next studio album would come in the form of Somewhere Under Wonderland (2014).
Footnote: The name Counting Crows was taken from "One for Sorrow", a British divination nursery rhyme about the superstitious counting of magpies, a member of the crow family. The most common modern version of the rhyme goes as so:
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.
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