Driven by a love of all things 2-Tone and led by reluctant star Gwen Stefani, Orange County hopefuls No Doubt made their public debut at Long Beach’s Fender’s Ballroom in early 1987.
Original vocalist John Spence committed suicide by shooting himself in a deserted parking lot located in Anaheim, California, on 21 December 1987. He was 18 years old.
No Doubt disbanded but decided to regroup after several weeks with Alan Meade taking over vocals. When Meade left the band, Gwen – who had been the backing vocalist until then – replaced him as lead singer
The band were eventually signed by Interscope Records and their self-titled debut album was released in 1992. The album’s distinctly upbeat pop/cartoon sound sharply contrasted with the then-dominant grunge movement.
Eric Stefani left No Doubt in 1994 to resume an animation career with the cartoon TV series The Simpsons.
The release of 1995’s Tragic Kingdom and the single Just a Girl finally provided mainstream commercial success and No Doubt began touring in support of the album – which grew into a 27-month international tour.
The second single Spiderwebs (1996) was also successful, and Don’t Speak, released as the third single, topped the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay for 16 weeks.
No Doubt was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Album at the 1997 Grammy Awards. They were later nominated for two more Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal – both for Don’t Speak.
By the end of the year, half of the songs on Tragic Kingdom had been released as singles, and the album was certified eight times platinum.
In 2000, the band released Return of Saturn. The album featured a darker tone and was more lyrically advanced than No Doubt’s previous work. The album was critically acclaimed but was not commercially successful, and the lead single, Ex-Girlfriend, failed to chart.
Highly influenced by Jamaican dancehall music and recorded primarily in Jamaica, the band’s 2001 studio album, Rock Steady, produced two hit Grammy-winning singles, Hey Baby and Underneath It All. Both singles managed to reach the top five on the Billboard Hot 100.