Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Barenaked Ladies (BNL for short) is a Canadian alternative rock band composed of Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson , Steven Page , Tyler Stewart , and Jim Creeggan . They formed in 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. BNL has a reputation as an excellent live band, and are particularly well-known for improvising amusing songs during their shows.
The band's first tape, Buck Naked, released in 1989, was recorded in basements and bedrooms, and featured only Steve and Ed. Barenaked Lunch (also known as the Pink Tape) was released in 1990, and featured two new band members, Andy and Jim Creeggan. Unfortunately, the tape was mastered incorrectly and plays too fast. As there were very few copies made of both, these tapes are now extremely rare.
The full band's first release of note was the 1991 independent Yellow Tape, the first indie release to achieve platinum status in Canada. Sales of the tape were jumpstarted when BNL were taken off the bill of a concert at Toronto's City Hall because a staffer for then-mayor June Rowlands saw the band's name and felt it objectified women, which catapulted BNL into a media frenzy.
The band's first album, Gordon, released in 1992, was a smash hit in Canada and included some of the band's most well-known songs, including "Be My Yoko Ono" (the single which helped fund the album), "If I Had $1000000" (which spawned a macaroni-throwing tradition at live shows that the band has recently been trying to discourage), and "Brian Wilson" (named after the Beach Boy who later covered the song on a live album).
BNL's second album, Maybe You Should Drive, released in 1994, fared considerably less well with the Canadian public. After the release, Andy Creeggan left the band to begin college and to separate himself from the infighting that had taken place after the album's failure.
The band released Born on a Pirate Ship in 1996 as a quartet. The album received two large boosts from the Jason Priestley-directed video for "The Old Apartment" and the inclusion of the song "Shoebox" on the Friends soundtrack. Kevin Hearn was hired as the keyboardist for the subsequent tour and then was asked to join the band.
The band's greatest success to date and greatest recognition within the United States has come from their fourth album, Stunt, released in 1998, buoyed by the #1 single "One Week". Immediately after Stunt was released, however, Kevin Hearn was diagnosed with leukemia and had to spend several months in the hospital recovering. The band toured, but with friends Chris Brown and Greg Kurstin on keyboards until Kevin recovered enough to rejoin them on the road. The singles "It's All Been Done" (used as the opening theme song on the short lived animated TV series Baby Blues) and "Call and Answer" also came from this highly successful album. The band has also collaberated with singer Tom Jones for a track on his 1999 album Reload.
Maroon, released in 2000, also did fairly well in stores, led by the single "Pinch Me". In 2001, they released a compilation album, entitled Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001. It contains 17 tracks from previous albums, (all of them have been a single, have had their own video, or both) and two new tracks, "It's Only Me (The Wizard of Magicland)" and "Thanks, That Was Fun". The latter was thought by some fans to be a break-up song, because of its title, the fact that it was the last song on the CD, and because its video featured clips from previous videos, but used the Syncro-Vox technique so that the people would lip-sync to the new song.
Everything to Everyone was released October 21, 2003. The first single off the album was "Another Postcard," which received modest radio play. "Testing 1, 2, 3" was the second single off of the album and received a video, but no CD single, while "Celebrity" was released later with a CD single, but no video. "Maybe Katie" and an edited version of "For You" from a concert in Glasgow, Scotland were also released as singles to radio.
With the release of Everything to Everyone, BNL has fulfilled their contract with Reprise Records, which has allowed the band to try internet distribution and an independent album release.
In early 2004, the band began offering full live shows for purchase as either download or CD off of an eponymous website. More recently, the latest studio album as well as a single from it have been added.
BNL just recently completed a pilot for a variety show, tenatively titled Barenaked Ladies Variety Show , and have submitted it to the FOX network. They are now working on music for a production of "As You Like It" with the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario and working on an album at Steven Page's farm.
Both Jim Creeggan and Kevin Hearn have side projects that are worked on during hiatus from BNL touring and studio time. Jim is part of the alternative/jazz trio The Brothers Creeggan, with brother and former BNL member Andy Creeggan and friend Ian McLauchlan. Kevin is the frontman of Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle, who play a mix of alternative rock and jazz with many other eclectic influences. Thin Buckle features players from several other Canadian alternative bands, such as Rheostatics.
Barenaked Ladies have authorized a biography, Public Stunts Private Stories, written by friend of the band and fellow "Scarberian" Paul Myers, brother of actor Mike Myers. It is published in Canada by Madrigal Press. An updated 2003 version includes a different cover, information about Disc One and Everything to Everyone, and fixes several typos found in the original version.
Primary album discography
- Gordon (1992)
- Maybe You Should Drive (1994)
- Born On A Pirate Ship (1996)
- Rock Spectacle (1996)
- Stunt (1998)
- Maroon (2000)
- Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001 (2001)
- Everything to Everyone (2003)
- Barenaked for the Holidays (2004)
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