10 Phenomenal Sheryl Crow Songs

Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Sheryl Crow performing at Arnold Hall in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Jan. 1,1999. 

Grammy Award-winning Sheryl Crow’s career began as a small town school teacher turned jingle singer ("It's a good time for the great taste of McDonald's") and eventually, backup singer for Michael Jackson (aka the King of Pop). As impressive as that was, Crow dreamed of having a successful solo career. As fate would have it, she was introduced to a group of musicians who called themselves the “Tuesday Night Music Club,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

In between recording and touring, Crow is a hard-core philanthropist, bringing awareness to everything from cancer research and education to wildlife and addiction. We're celebrating her birthday today (Feb 11), by revisiting 10 songs from her early body of work.

“If It Makes You Happy” (1996)

“So what if right now everything's wrong?”

Two music videos for the song were made, but to the surprise of no one, the version where Crow puts on a show in the endangered species section of a museum (dressed to kill) is most memorable. The song peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100 chart.

“My Favorite Mistake” (1998)

“I'm no fool to this game”

In 1998, fans wondered who Crow penned her “favorite mistake.” At the time, she told Billboard, "I'm the only person who will ever really know. I'm really private about who I've had relationships with, and I don't talk about them in the press.” In 2002, she followed up with Billboard adding, “the mystery will always remain in the songs, besides, didn’t we love that we were never quite sure who “You’re So Vain” was about. Note: It is now 2016 and the cat is out of the bag about that. The song peaked at No. 2 on the Adult Pop Songs chart.

“Everyday Is A Winding Road” (1996)

“Everybody gets high, everybody gets low”

“A road song” that caught the attention of Prince, who covered the track on his album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. The song peaked at No. 4 on the Adult Pop Songs chart.

“Leaving Las Vegas” (1994)

“I'm standing in the middle of the desert waiting for my ship to come in”

During her MTV Unplugged set, Crow revealed, “this was the first song people actually knew who we were, and started coming to see us play.”  And in typical Vegas fashion, Elvis impersonators and Showgirls make their way into the video. The song peaked at No. 8 on the Alternative Songs chart.

“Safe and Sound” (2002)

“There's beauty in release”

A hauntingly beautiful breakup song dedicated to Crow’s ex, actor Owen Wilson. Live performances of the song, including the version below, should not be missed.

“Strong Enough” (1994)

“Just try and love me if you can”

Crow points out that the lyric “strong enough to be my man” is straight from the book of country, and with crossover appeal, the song peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100 chart.

“All I Wanna Do” (1994)

“I like a good beer buzz, early in the morning”

Crow’s breakthrough hit from her debut album was inspired by a poem titled “Fun” and was almost scrapped from the album. In an interview with Guitar.com, Crow said, “everyone thought it was a throwaway. It wasn't even considered as a single for me.” Luckily it made the cut – peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart.

“Soak Up the Sun” (2002)

“It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got”

If you haven’t read the lyrics, the upbeat track, partially inspired by the Columbine shootings, is entirely overshadowed by its bright and optimistic video. For example, the lyric “I've got my 45 on so I can rock on” has a double meaning. Is it referring to a gun or a record? “It was much edgier than what came across,” says co-writer Jeff Trott. The song hit No. 1 on the Adult Pop Songs chart.

“Steve McQueen” (2002)

“You won't catch this freebird, I'll already be long gone”

A tribute to late actor, motorcycle enthusiast and "king of cool.” Crow channels an "all-American rebel" in the video, and “ain't takin' shit off no one” as she makes her big getaway in a fast machine. There's also an ode to “All I Wanna Do,” with the lyric “I still wanna have some fun.” The song peaked at No. 13 on the Adult Pop Songs chart.

“Anything But Down” (1998)

“Maybe we're just killing time”

A powerful anthem about a one-sided relationship. “You are a raging sea, I pull myself out everyday.” The video showcases conflict between a person (Crow) and their subconscious – a push and pull. The song peaked at No. 7 on the Adult Pop Songs chart.

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