Thirty years ago, The Black Crowes, led by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, released their debut album Shake Your Money Maker. The album was, as Rolling Stone described, “a guitar-par-ty cracker that marries Southern R&B crunch and Anglo cock-strutting attitude.” At a time when journalists were mourning the death of rock as cheesy pop and hair metal dominated the charts, The Black Crowes emerged from Atlanta to resuscitate it. The authentically gritty blues-rock album, whose title is an homage to blues legend Elmore James, went double platinum in its first year. Needless to say, in a pre-social media, pre-smartphone world, the quick rise to stardom coupled with a zero f**ks attitude led to complete chaos. The Melody Maker crowned them “The most Rock n’ Roll Rock n’ Roll Band in the world” and The Black Crowes didn’t disappoint. Within their first years, The Black Crowes had toured with rock legends AC/DC, Robert Plant, and Aerosmith, and their first Rolling Stone cover story retold a firsthand account of the band notoriously being kicked off the ZZ Top tour for their anti-establishment, anti-corporate rants on stage.
Their storied history has the common denominators of any famous band: bad label deals, addiction, band breakups and makeups, epic sold-out tours (including one where Jimmy Page joined the band), marriages and divorces, all while prolifically releasing eight studio albums, four live albums and selling over 35 million records. The two things that make and break the band has always been the dueling rockstar brothers.
Chris and Rich wrote several hit songs all before the age of 23, while infamously butting heads their entire career. The band called it quits forever in 2013 with each brother vowing to never play or speak again.
February 13, 2020 marks the official 30th anniversary of quintuple platinum album Shake Your Money Maker. On November 11, 2019 radio legend Howard Stern, one of The Black Crowes' earliest supporters, shocked fans and rock journalists alike by announcing the reunion of Chris and Rich Robinson, who will tour as The Black Crowes once again, playing the iconic record start to finish.
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