1. "Do You Sleep?" - Lisa Loeb
Lisa Loeb holds the distinction of being the first American artist to have a song hit #1 without being signed to a recording label. "Stay" became a huge hit when her friend Ethan Hawke gave a copy of her demo to Ben Stiller who decided to use the song in his movie Reality Bites. Of course she would immediately land a recording contract with Geffen Records and released Tails in 1995. "Do You Sleep?" was Loeb's second big single and while "Stay" is a classic, "Do You Sleep?" showed off more of her already impressive song writing skills.
2. "Who Will Save Your Soul?" - Jewel
Jewel (real name) got her start in music singing in bars and taverns in a small town up in Alaska. She would learn to yodel and eventually take off across the country performing whichever gigs she could to gain exposure, it was during this trip that she famously lived in her car. Her first album Pieces Of You went 15 times platinum and featured 4 singles including "You Were Meant For Me", "Foolish Games" and "Who Will Save Your Soul?". Later on she would change her folky style and release a dance album in 2003.
3. "Sunny Came Home" - Shawn Colvin
Shawn Colvin hails from South Dakota and is most known for her best selling 1996 album A Few Small Repairs which featured the Grammy award winning song "Sunny Came Home". As she was about to accept the award Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard stormed the stage and protested his band's loss of Best Hip Hop Album earlier that night.
4. "Birmingham" - Amanda Marshall
A Radio Broadcasting instructor of days gone by would be sorely upset with me somewhere if I didn't include Canada's Amanda Marshall. After being discovered by Jeff Healy, Marshall set off on a solo career spanning 3 albums and multiple hit singles in her native Canada. Only this song "Birmingham" would hit in the US, perhaps because it's named after a city in one of their states, it reached #43 in 1996.
5. "I'm Hardly Ever Wrong" - The Would Be's
This one just squeeked in. The Would Be's were formed in 1989 in Ireland released one album in 1991 and then promptly broke up. The band was formed by two brothers, but it featured a 17 year old Irish lass Julie McDonnell on vocals. Great news everyone! It appears that The Would Be's reformed in 2012 and released a new album in 2013!!
6. "As I Lay Me Down" - Sophie B. Hawkins
Though this song is not as recognized as her earlier hit "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover", "As I Lay Me Down" saw Sophie B. Hawkins resting atop the Adult Contemporary charts for six weeks. After struggling with record label drama in the late 90's, Hawkins would form her own recording company and released albums throughout the 2000's on her own.
7. "Strong Enough" - Sheryl Crow
It's incredible to look at some of the artists on this list and see how many platinum albums they all have between them and then you realize most of those are from their debut albums. Tuesday Night Music Club was Sheryl Crow's official debut album, after her first attempt was rejected by her record label. The name of the album is a reference to the group of musicians who would meet with Sheryl on Tuesdays to work on the album.
8. "God Made Me" - Chantal Kreviazuk
From Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, Chantal Kreviazuk's debut album Under These Rocks & Stones was a critically acclaimed effort carried by the success of several singles like "Surrounded", "Believer" and "God Made Me". Later albums by Kreviazuk would feature songs co-written by her husand Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace and later still she would begin writing songs for other artists.
Avril Lavinge, Mandy Moore and Christina Aguilera are a few of the acts she wrote for.
9. "Human Behaviour" - Bjork
One of my favourite videos from the 90's, Iceland's Bjork has always walked her own path and released the kind of music she wanted to. This song is a holdover from her days in the band The Sugarcubes, she couldn't really fit the lyrics and odd harmonies in with a punk band. So when she released her solo debut...err...Debut it was obvious which track to get out as #1. With some Eastern inspired percussions "Human Behaviour" is one of her easiest songs to recognize.
10. "Super Nova" - Liz Phair
The queen of indie 90's grunge-rock, Liz Phair had quite the cult following without all the Platinum sales of other entries on this list. Other great Liz Phair songs are "Extraordinary", "Jealousy" and "Whip Smart". Recently Phair release an album Funstyle in 2010 and also reviews books.
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