Legend has it that the Electric Light Orchestra’s leader Jeff Lynne wrote all of Out of the Blue sequestered in a chalet in the Swiss Alps in just one month. Whether or not Mr. Lynne performed such a Herculean task we’ll never truly know, but at the time of the record’s release in October 1977, the musician’s songwriting had certainly reached its zenith.
Mr. Lynne, too, has regarded that particular period to have been a prolific time: ”The songs started to flow and most of them came quickly to me. To have all those hits, it was just…It was just amazing really. Going from doing okay for probably three or four years to suddenly being in the big time, it was a strange but great thing.”
The Cardigans’ debut album Emmerdale (1994) and second album Life (1995) established them as a formidable national act, but it wasn’t until their single “Lovefool,” from the album First Band on the Moon (1996), was included in the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet that the Swedish band had truly conquered the world.
Steve Gustafson (bass), Dennis Drew (keyboards), Chet Cardinale (drums), Robert Buck (guitar) and Teri Newhouse (vocals) formed Still Life in 1981. Gustafson invited Natalie Merchant to perform vocals and guitarist John Lombardo joined as well. When Teri Newhouse left the band, Natalie Merchant became the lead vocalist. Still Life changed its name to Burn Victims and then to 10,000 Maniacs, an homage to the horror movie Two Thousand Maniacs!
Thirty four years later, while line-ups have changed and Natalie Merchant embarked on a solo career, Steve Gustafson and Dennis Drew are the only remaining founding members of the group. But 10,000 Maniacs is still going strong. With Mary Ramsey on vocals and viola, the band is touring in support of their most recent record, Twice Told Tales, an album of traditional folk songs from the British Isles.