"December promise you gave unto me December whispers of treachery" Collective Soul from the song December.
Collective Soul - Things Left Unsaid
Collective Soul was one of the definitive bands of the post grunge rock era of the 90's. The bands uniquely textured guitar sound and emotionally charged performances broke them into the mainstream. Singer and song writer lyrics along with the guitar work of his brother Dean Roland have made a significant impact to the musical landscape of the 90s.
The Alternative Rockers
In the two decade of bands existence they have seen mainstream success, legal troubles, sold out arena shows and a catalogue of steady rock based albums cementing their place as one of Rock music's well respected bands. Collective Soul have sold nearly 20 million albums world wide. The band has transcended from the post grunge movement to mainstream rock style in their latter albums. Collective Soul was also invited to play at the Woodstock Concert in 1994 and in 1999.
Lead singer and primary songwriter Ed Roland and his brother were born in Atlanta, Georgia and very early in their life they showed their ability and passion for music. Ed Roland even went to Berklee College of Music in Boston to study music and guitar. An alumni that includes iconic singer Melissa Etheridge and guitar legend Steve Vai. After graduating, Ed Roland started recording demos of compositions which he had written.
The Early Years
He was also working at Atlantic records mixing artists songs. Along with his brother he formed Collective Soul. After pursuing for almost two years they were able to get a recording contract albeit a small record label called Rising Storm and they released "Shine" which became a hit and received heavy radio airplay. Atlantic eventually signed them and the first album "Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid" was released. The album featured the hit single Shine was an uplifting single with a lot of positive energy in the songwriting. Over the years the song has grown to become one of the torch-bearers of the 90's alternative rock movement. The first went double platinum and also secured them a spot as an opening act for Aerosmith's Get a Grip tour. Back in North America they also played a club and theater tour.
The sophomore effort "Collective Soul" was released in 1995. The album is often considered as one of the best albums of the post grunge era. The album with its incredible maturity in songwriting and the complex composition was an international hit. Heavy radio and video airplay of singles "December" and "The World I know" brought the band widespread acclaim. The album has sold 3 million copies in the US and almost 8 million in Canada. The record was produced by Ed Roland himself, a melodic sounding rock sounding effort with almost Beatlesque choruses. It cemented the position of the band as one of the best of that era. The constant touring only added to their ever growing fan base. They also opened for rock legends Van Halen in the same year
The band had sold nearly 10 million albums worldwide yet it is reported that they were living on weekly wages as their manager had the publishing rights to their catalogue. A legal battle ensued between the band and the management to settle the financial and ownership of the business. The band recorded their third album largely inspired by their troubles called "Discipline Breakdown". Released in 1997, it debut at no16 in the US charts but quickly dropped off. The album was certified platinum. It lacked singles which was present on the first two. The band did tour on the back of the album but the popularity had dipped
After settling the legal issues, the band recorded "Dosage" which was their last US platinum seller and gave them a hit single "Heavy" which stayed on top of Rock charts for 15 weeks. The production duties were handled by Ed Roland again and the record has been criticized for the over production and less spontaneity. But it was their next album which drew the greatest flack - "Blender" was a complete change in their music and the band image. They were no longer the ragged rough boys but now had become more like pop idols. They album released in 2000 even had a duet with Elton John and a song which sounded like dance music. The band alienated a lot their core fans from this misfire.
Dosage and Later Years
After a break in recording and two year sabbatical the band released "Youth" in 2004 which failed to impress as it lacked cohesiveness and was a commercial disappointment. A collaboration with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra for their live album "Home" was critically acclaimed but barely managed to chart. Two more albums "Afterworks" in 2007 and the self-titled "Collective Soul" were aimed at claiming past glory.
Collective Soul music is one of the finest sounds of the post grunge era on 90s. But their latter albums have not made the same impact; however they remain a working band after 20 years and continue to tour all across the world.
Did you know that...
- ...the bands name comes from a phrase in the book The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand
- ...Collective Soul were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame
- ...legendary country music star Dolly Parton, covered the Collective Soul song Shine