No Doubt

  • Alternative/Pop New Wave Rock band formed in 1986 from Anaheim California. Members are Gwen Stefani (lead vocals, songwriting), Tony Kanal (bass, keyboards, saxophone, songwriting), Tom Dumont (guitar, keyboards, songwriting), and Adrian Young (drums). While not officially part of the group, Gabrial McNair (keyboards, trombone, backing vocals) and Stephen Bradley (trumpet, backing vocals) have been touring and session musicians for the group since the mid-90s.
  • Brother and sister Eric and Gwen Stefani met vocalist John Spence at a Dairy Queen in 1985 and talked about forming a band. They gathered some local musicians and practiced in their parents’ garage. They named themselves “No Doubt,” because it was one of Spence’s favorite sayings. Kanal went to one of their early shows, and soon joined the band. In December 1987, a few days before they were to play for record industry executives, Spence committed suicide. The show was cancelled, but after a month, they regrouped, with Gwen taking over lead vocals. Dumont joined in early 1988, and Young joined the following year. They developed a rabid fan base with their concerts in southern California.
  • In 1990, they were signed to a recording contract. Their debut album, self-titled No Doubt, was released in 1992. It was an upbeat pop album, very different compared to the grunge music sound that was sweeping the country at the time. As such, the record label did not support the album, or the tour that followed. No singles were released, and very few records were sold. Eric Stefani grew disillusioned with the lack of support from the label, and when the label rejected much of the music planned for the second album, he quit in 1994 to become an animator for the television series The Simpsons.
  • In 1995, No Doubt released their second album, The Beacon Street Collection, on their own record label, with songs recorded in their house on Beacon Street in Anaheim. The album was more ska and punk rock sounding than their first record, and it sold over 100,000 copies – triple what their first album sold. This was enough for their other recording company to finance the next album, Tragic Kingdom, released later that year.
  • Tragic Kingdom was their breakthrough. It was certified diamond (over 10 million copies sold in the U.S. – only 140 albums have ever achieved Diamond status), topping the Billboard 200 album chart. Their single Don’t Speak topped charts all over the world – it is about the end of the romantic relationship between Gwen Stefani and bassist Kanal. Just A Girl also was a hit, reaching #23 on the Hot 100 chart. Recording of the album began in 1993, so Eric Stefani contributed to the album as a songwriter and a musician.
  • In 1998, Gwen Stefani started to contribute vocals to other projects, including work with Prince and The Brian Setzer Orchestra. This set the stage for a solo career in the 00s and 10s, though she continued to be a member of No Doubt at the same time as her other activities. She released solo albums in 2004, 2006 and 2016, as well as a Christmas album in 2017. Four singles have been in the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart – Rich Girl, Wind It Up, The Sweet Escape, and her #1 hit, Hollaback Girl.
  • No Doubt released their fourth album, Return of Saturn, in 2000. The theme of this album shifted from Stefani’s relationship with Kanal to her relationship with Gavin Rossdale, lead singer and guitarist for the band Bush, who would become Stefani’s husband in 2002 (they divorced in 2016, and she now is dating her co-host from The Voice, Blake Shelton). While Return of Saturn managed to sell over 1 million copies in the U.S., only 1 of the 4 singles released managed to chart – Simple Kind of Life reached #38.
  • They had more success with 2001’s Rock Steady. It was certified 2x platinum, with 3 singles charting in the top 15 – Hella Good made it to #13, Hey Baby reached #5, and Underneath It All peaked at #3. The latter 2 songs both won Grammy awards for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal in consecutive years.
  • After a tour in 2004, the band went on hiatus, as Stefani began to focus on her solo career, and the other members of the band worked on other projects. They regrouped in 2009 for a concert tour and in 2012, they released their most recent album, Push and Shove. The album sold modestly, and 1 single, Settle Down, peaked at #34 on the Hot 100 chart. They returned to hiatus status in 2013, and other than a few performances at festivals in 2015, they have not been active.
  • The style of No Doubt evolved over the years, putting them into many genres. The sound that made them popular is ska – that combination of reggae and Carribbean calypso with jazz and R&B – all with a new wave, alt rock feel. Here’s the video to the song that made them famous – Don’t Speak.

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