Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch Series,” Lilith Fair Edition, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
She grew up in a rural Missouri town and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1984 with a degree in classical music. Her first job out of college was teaching music at an elementary school in St. Louis.
In 1986, she moved to Los Angeles, where she waited tables before landing a gig as a backup singer on Michael Jackson’s Bad tour. She was a backup singer on tours for George Harrison, Joe Cocker, and Rod Stewart before starting her solo career.
Her first album, Tuesday Night Music Club, wasn’t released until she was 31. She blames her late start on the music industry – in the late ’80s record companies were after dance singers like Madonna and Paula Abdul. Crow got her shot when female singer/songwriters came into vogue in the early ’90s with a mature sound that played well to an older audience.
She sang in jingles for McDonald’s. Her line was “It’s a good time for the great taste of McDonalds.”
Like the Dixie Chicks, she was very outspoken in her opposition to the Iraq War, but most of her fans were too. “It’s an egregious act to drag our country and other countries into a war that is based on greed and power mongering,” she said.
She gained a lot of exposure when she opened for The Eagles on their 1994 reunion tour. She was a backup singer on Don Henley’s album The End Of The Innocence.
In 1996 Kevin Gilbert, her former boyfriend and songwriting partner, died of autoerotic asphyxiation, a fetish where people cut off their air supply to get sexual pleasure. It is rumored that this is how Michael Hutchince from INXS died.
Crow is good friends with Stevie Nicks, and inducted Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 2005, she and cycling legend Lance Armstrong announced their engagement. In early 2006, they called it off.
Her father was a trumpet player and her mother played piano and sang. Sheryl recalled to The Guardian: “My earliest, most vivid memories are of them coming home with their friends and playing records – Stan Getz, Stan Kenton, Ella Fitzgerald – and me and my sisters sleeping out on the stairs so we could hear them.”
She dated Eric Clapton for a while. He appeared on her album Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live From Central Park in 1999, around the time of their relationship.
Sheryl Crow performed in “Lilith Fair” 3 times.
She is the mother to two adopted sons. Wyatt Steven Crow was born on April 29, 2007 and Levi James Crow on April 30, 2010.
The first guitar that Crow ever brought was a 1964 Gibson Country and Western acoustic. She said in 2013: “Every song I’ve ever written that made me any money, I wrote on the same guitar. I call it The Moneymaker.”
Crow’s lawyer father defended civil rights and once prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan for ballot-rigging. He received death threats and had to sleep downstairs with a shotgun.
She posed for the UK version of the laddie magazine Maxim in 1999, and for it’s sister publication, Stuff, in America in 2002. Despite these revealing photo shoots, she took younger artists to task for using their sexuality to sell. “You’ve got a bunch of really young women out there who don’t really understand the importance of what they’re doing,” she told Independent Life in 2004. “They allow themselves to be exploited and they actually play that game and use sex to sell themselves. It undermines our credibility as artists.”
Sheryl Crow is an excellent baton twirler. She told Q Magazine: “If you were to go on YouTube they can see that I’ve twirled behind John Mayer on a couple of occasions. It was something I honed in high school and then incorporated into my act much later. Generally, as the end of tour prank, I’d go up and twirl while someone is singing their most sensitive song.”
You know who else is good with a baton? Crow’s friend Stevie Nicks, who twirls in the “Tusk” video.