In December 1987, Mötley Crüe hit rock bottom. Three years to the month after singer Vince Neil was in a devastating drunk driving accident, bassist Nikki Sixx overdosed on heroin and was pronounced clinically dead for two minutes. He was revived -- with an adrenaline shot to his heart -- but the band and its management decided enough was enough with the quartet’s reckless behavior. It needed to get sober.
In early 1988, Sixx, Neil and fellow bandmates Mick Mars and Tommy Lee jointly entered rehab and group therapy to fight their demons. But it was the band’s fifth album, Dr. Feelgood, released the following year on Sept. 1, 1989, on Elektra Records, that gave the group its true deliverance moment.
With over 6 million copies sold in the United States, according to the RIAA, the landmark album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 -- Mötley Crüe’s first and only release to do so -- and spent 109 weeks on the chart. It spawned five hits: the title track, which reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100; “Kickstart My Heart”; “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)”; “Without You”; and “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).” While the band lost out on a Grammy -- despite two nominations for best hard rock performance -- it took home an American Music Award for best heavy metal/hard rock album in 1991. Following its release, Mötley Crüe -- in peak live form -- launched a world tour that spanned 150-plus shows across 11 months.