Reporting Courtney E. Smith
Welcome to Radio Feedback, Radio.com’s weekly feature where we ask artists to wax nostalgic on the first time they heard themselves on the radio.
Back in 1993, a woman who’d been Michael Jackson‘s back-up singer finally released her first album. But Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club, named for the gathering of Los Angeles musicians with whom she wrote seven tracks on the album, wouldn’t see a successful U.S. single until 1994 when “Leaving Las Vegas” started garnering radio and video spins. The song would become her breakout hit, followed by more successful singles “All I Wanna Do” and “Strong Enough.”
When Crow finally heard herself on the radio for the first time, she was in a very successful place. Literally.
“The first time I heard myself on the radio, I was in a rented car because my car had broken down,” Crow told Radio.com. “I had an old Corvair and it wasn’t working. I rented a little convertible Volkswagen for the week while it got worked on. I was driving through Beverly Hills of all places and ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ came on the radio. It was just such a California experience: beautiful weather, top down [and] my song came on the radio.”
Crow had relocated to Los Angeles from Missouri, where she was a teacher, to pursue her dream of becoming a singer and songwriter. And that particular California moment was experienced by Crow like many of the city’s commuters: alone in her own car.
“I’m just looking at the cars around me going, ‘That’s me!’” Crow recounted. “It was such a surreal experience and I remember it so well. Obviously nobody knew who I was but… I am a small town girl from Missouri and to be in the height of glamour and money, right there in Beverly Hills and to have your song come on the radio, I felt like, ‘Yes I’ve made it! I’ve made it! Where is everybody? It’s playing!’ It was a really, really fun moment.”
Crow would go on to have many more successful moments with the album, including a notable David Letterman performance and platinum certification of the album in September of 1994.
She’ll continue her successes with the release of her ninth studio–and first-ever country–album on Sept.10, titled Feels Like Home.
“I think that my early records really probably would have gotten played on country music [radio] had they came out now,” Crow said. “But rock’n'roll and pop radio was a lot different when I started up.”