from the album Tragic Kingdom (1995)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #23 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9
Today's song of the day comes from the ska-punk rock band No Doubt, who originally came together in the mid-80's, led by guitarist/keyboardist Eric Stefani and his sister Gwen singing backup while John Spence was the lead singer, and bunch of other musicians who were replaced pretty early. One of the first replacements was bass player Tony Kanal, who was also dating Gwen on the sly at the time, as well as sax player Eric Carpenter. But just as they were going to get their big break playing for major label execs, Spencer ended his life, with the band splitting up for a bit before reuniting eventually with Gwen as the lead vocalist. Adding drummer Adrian Young and lead guitarist Tom Dumont, the band solidified the core of the lineup that remains to this day. Finally signed by Interscope Records, the band released their self-titled debut album in 1992. However, neither the album nor any singles got any notice on the radio or in the stores beyond their Southern California base, as ska-punk was in a lull at that point overtaken by heavier rock sounds. But after waiting three years, in which a farmed-out record of outtakes The Beacon Street Collection was released independently and was pretty successful, No Doubt returned with their second Interscope album Tragic Kingdom. The lead single from the record, "Just a Girl", was a pop-punk gem that spotlighted Gwen's squeaky yeah assertive voice over a fast-breaking production that in 1995 quite fit in with the Green Days and the like of the day. Radio was on board, and suddenly the band found themselves with their first hit. Written by Gwen with Dumont, it was produced by Matthew Wilder, himself a hitmaker from the 1980s with his top ten "Break My Stride". However by the time "Just A Girl" was released, Eric had left the band, and doesn't appear in the iconic music video even though he plays keys with his own solo on the track...
"Just A Girl" became No Doubt's first top-40 pop hit in May of 1996. The song also climbed to #10 on Billboard magazine's Alternative Rock radio chart as well. Internationally, the single reached the top ten in Australia (#3), Norway (#4), Iceland (#7), New Zealand (#9), and Ireland (#10). In the UK, the single originally peaked at #38, but a re-release after their much biggest success with "Don't Speak" cause the song to return to rise to #3. It also made the top-40 in the Netherlands (#14), Sweden (#14), Austria (#21), Germany (#24), France (#28), Belgium (#30W/#37F), and Switzerland (#31). At the Grammy Awards in 1997, the band was nominated for two categories, Best Rock Album (which went to Sheryl Crow for her self-titled set), and Best New Artist (which country ingenue LeAnn Rimes took home).
(Click below to see the rest of the post)