Wishing Natalie Merchant A “Wonder”ful Birthday

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(Photo courtesy of last.fm)

(Photo courtesy of last.fm)

Today is singer [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Natalie Merchant[/lastfm]‘s birthday, so Jack FM is making “Trouble Me” by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]10,000 Maniacs[/lastfm] our Song of the Day!!

And yes, it’s true.  In ’99, we went to Lilith Fair.  We thought it would be the perfect place to pick up chicks.

Natalie Merchant first found success as the lead singer and primary lyricist for the alt-rock band 10,000 Maniacs.  Formed in 1981, the band independently released two albums, Human Conflict Number 5 and Secrets of the I Ching, before signing with Elektra Records in 1984.

A year later, 10,000 Maniacs released their major-label debut album, The Wishing Chair.  Although the album was not a hit commercially, it was well-received by critics and brought more visibility to the band.

Their breakthrough came in 1987 with the release of In My Tribe.  Peaking at #37 on the Billboard 200, In My Tribe spent 77 weeks on the charts and sold more than two million copies.  The single “What’s the Matter Here” was a Top 10 hit on Modern Rock radio.

The follow-up, 1989’s Blind Man’s Zoo, was an even bigger success for 10,000 Maniacs, and it solidified the band’s status as a major player in the music world.  The album landed at #13 and produced the hit single “Trouble Me,” which is Jack’s Song of the Day.  “Trouble Me” appeared on several charts, including Billboard‘s Hot 100 where it went to #44.

After the release of the double-platinum Our Time in Eden, Natalie Merchant announced she was leaving the band, saying she “didn’t want art by committee anymore.”  On August 5, 1993, Natalie officially parted ways with 10,000 Maniacs.

Two years later, she released her debut solo album, Tigerlily.  It was a critical and commercial success, selling over five million copies and peaking at #13 on the Billboard 200.  Tigerlily spawned three Top 40 hits for the Jamestown, New York singer:  “Carnival,” “Wonder” and “Jealousy.”

Since then, Natalie Merchant has continued making music on her own terms.  Her most recent release was last year’s Leave Your Sleep.  A concept album, Leave Your Sleep is a collection of music adapted from 19th and 20th century British and American poetry about childhood.  It debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Top Folk Albums chart.

Here’s Natalie Merchant performing “Wonder” on The Late Show with David Letterman.  Wow, Dave looks so young!

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