Released in the fall of 1993 —smack in the middle of the alternative grunge boom —the Counting Crows’ debut album August and Everything After sounded like a blast from rock’s more organic, rootsier past. Dreadlocked frontman Adam Duritz managed to simultaneously draw comparisons to Bob Dylan and Van Morrison with his literate songwriting and soulful vocals, while the band’s music seemed tapped from the same Americana wellspring that nourished the Band. The album spawned a handful of Modern Rock hit singles —”Mr. Jones” (#2, 1993) and “Round Here” (#7, 1994) —climbed to #4, and went on to sell 7 million copies as the band seemed to connect with fans of both alternative and classic rock.
After recording August and Everything After, Counting Crows performed at the 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, representing absent inductee Van Morrison. The debut album was released later that year and began its 93-week chart run at the beginning of 1994, a year that found them opening for the Rolling Stones. Recovering the Satellites, released at the end of 1995 debuted at #1, eventually going double platinum behind the Modern Rock hits “Angels of the Silences” (#3, 1996), “A Long December” (#5, 1996), “Daylight Fading” (#26, 1997), and “Have You Seen Me Lately?” (#34, 1997).
In 1998 Counting Crows released a double live album, Across a Wire: Live in New York (#19), with one disc spotlighting an intimate performance for VH1’s Storytellers and the second a more uptempo set recorded for MTV’s Live From the 10 Spot. Produced by Cracker frontman David Lowery, This Desert Life debuted at #8 in 1999 and spawned the #28 hit “Hanginaround.”
A Long December
Big Yellow Taxi
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American Music Awards
1995 Favorite Alternative Band *
1995 Favorite Pop / Rock Album: August and Everything After
1995 Favorite Pop / Rock New Artist
MTV Video Music Awards
1994 Best New Artist *
1997 Best Group Video: A Long December
* = winner