Being iconic doesn’t necessarily mean you’re popular, or even that your stature lasted more than a couple of years. While I wouldn’t argue today’s featured band is necessarily one of the greatest, there is no debate the album I’ll be discussing has its place in the history books for one of the most recognized albums of the 90s.
Live was formed in York, Penn. in the late 80s. A few guys that went to middle school together formed a band to perform in the talent show. Reaction was positive from friends, and they stuck with it through high school. Going by various other names until 1991, the band finally caught on with a record label. The brought in a true producer who helped them hone in their sound, and made them come up with a name that wasn’t juvenile or silly like all their prior ones had been. Live was born, and they were on their way.
Their sophomore album Throwing Copper was released in April of 1994. The record label expected sales to show only a slight uptick from Live’s debut album. Boy did they undershoot expectations. Between the catchy tracks and a very well recognized performance at Woodstock ’94, this album has sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide. It took until May of 1995 for it to reach number one on the charts, which made music history—52 weeks is the longest gap between an album first charting and finally reaching number one.
To say this album is a 90s icon is probably an understatement. Five tracks on the record saw major radio play as singles, and those may not even be the best songs here. This album helped to start the trend of post-grunge music in that era. Albums like this showed you could have heavy guitar, a very intense vibe, but not just talk about disdain for life and typical teenage angst. It was like grunge had grown up into an adult and I think this album portrays that image perfectly. Other than guitar, it’s a drum heavy album that also focuses on vocals. It’s somewhat rare for a rock band to be known for the vocalist, but Live certainly was.
There is a track on the album called ‘Selling the Drama,’ and quite honestly, that’s how this album flows for me. It’s like watching a dramatic film, complete with crashing crescendos, anger and love. Arguably the biggest hit of the album is ‘Lightning Crashes’, which discusses a classmate that was killed by a drunk driver in 1993. I’ve heard of people almost being put off by how much melodrama was set forth in this album, but I think when you sit back and listen to it as a whole, it’s a great story teller album, maybe the best of its generation.
You probably haven’t heard much Live since the 90s, and if you do hear them on the radio today, it’s probably this record. Twenty years later, and this album is still easily recognized in the music world. Definitely an iconic piece from a great decade of music, and can be yours today for only $5.
Top 3 Tracks: