Music – 1990s

Tori Amos

Tori Amos was born Myra Ellen Amos in August 1963. Raised, as Amos put it, with "a peace pipe in one hand and a cross in the other," the daughter of a Cherokee mother and Methodist minister father redefined the role of female singer-songwriters in the 1990s by addressing persecution in religion, relationships, and sex(...)

Traveling Wilburys, The

Reversing the usual process by which groups break up and give way to solo careers, The Traveling Wilburys were a group made up of successful solo stars. The group was organised by former Beatle George Harrison, former Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison - thus representing three generations of rock stars. In 1988, the five (who had known(...)

Underworld

One of the most popular intelligent techno acts to emerge during the genre's ascendance during the 1990s, Underworld began life in the late 80s as a funk-rock group including vocalist Karl Hyde and guitarist Rick Smith. The two had formed the new wave band Freur and released Doot-Doot in 1983. Get Us Out of Here followed two years later,(...)

Unsane

Formed in the downtown late 80s New York scene which threw up the likes of Pussy Galore, Cop Shoot Cop and Boss Hog, Unsane underwent drug deaths and departures before arriving at the prime lineup of singer-guitarist Chris Spencer, bassist Dave Curran and former Foetus and Swans drummer Vinny Signorelli, recording their landmark third album Scattered,(...)

Urge Overkill

Urge Overkill formed in Chicago in 1985 and made their full-length debut four years later with Jesus Urge Superstar, a heavy and riffcentric effort produced by Steve Albini. They followed it in 1991 with The Supersonic Storybook and supported Nirvana on the American Nevermind tour the same year. But the Urge story doesn't really begin until their 10" Stull EP of 1992. It featured(...)

Vanilla Ice

It's understandable why Robert Van Winkle chose not to use his real name when embarking upon a career in Rap music. A white rapper was a laughable enough concept at the beginning of the 1990s. But one with a name that made him sound like a Dutch investment banker was never going to be taken seriously(...)

Verve, The

On 15 August 1990, an un-named band played its first gig at the Honeysuckle pub in Poolstock, Wigan. It would be six months before they would play again - by which time they were called The Verve. From the beginning, Richard Ashcroft (pictured) was the focal point of the group. A brooding, gangling vocalist whose(...)

Vince Jones

There was a time when I thought I hated Jazz. I hadn't listened to anything worth a second listen and Dixieland really got up my nose (and still does). Once I was introduced to Vince Jones, all that changed. Born in Glasgow, Vince and his family moved to Australia when he was 11 years old.(...)

Vivabeat

Discovered in Los Angeles in 1979 by Peter Gabriel, Vivabeat were the first American signing to the British Charisma label. The band came and went, and few noticed - in fact, they are so obscure today that Charisma's all-encompassing 1993 box set ignored them. Their adventurous, worldly 80s pop has dated less than many of(...)

Wedding Present, The

This rapid-fire band of jangly punk/poppers formed in Leeds in 1984. Outside of the hermetic world of John Peel's Festive 50 (where they were forever kings), The Wedding Present rarely received their critical due in their late 80's heyday. Snobbery dictated that they were routinely derided as grey, provincial and ordinaire, perennially churning out dirges about adolescent infatuations(...)

Weezer

In the early 1990s, singer Rivers Cuomo had an awkward girlfriend who was routinely picked on. His efforts to stick up for her inspired Weezer's breakthrough, Buddy Holly (August 1994) - a track whose bubble-grunge hooks and lines such as "I look just like Buddy Holly/And you're Mary Tyler Moore" helped the band reach a nation of(...)

Weird Al Yankovic

Wonder Stuff, The

Formed in Stourbridge, West Midlands, in 1986, The Wonder Stuff amassed a sizeable local following and released an EP, It's A Wonderful Day, in 1987. Along with other Midlands hopefuls Pop Will Eat Itself, Crazyhead and Gaye Bykers On Acid, The Wonder Stuff were lumped in under the banner of 'grebo rock' by the music press. But(...)

You Am I

Centered around the prolific songwriting skills of singer/guitarist Tim Rogers, You Am I is one of the most successful and internationally admired Australian bands of the 1990s. Rogers formed You Am I in December 1989 with school friend Nick Tischler and older brother Jaimme Rogers. Mixing the gritty early 70s raunch of The Rolling Stones,(...)

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