Counting Crows' frontman was born in Baltimore.
Counting Crows are a staple of rock radio. If you grew up in the '90s, you couldn't escape their soulful, roots-inspired sound—case in point, "Mr. Jones," whose music video today boasts over 184 million views on YouTube. Adam Duritz is the group's main songwriter and vocalist, whose soulful voice and piano remain key parts of the band's sound. Since exploding into the mainstream, the Bay Area group has sold over 20 million records worldwide. Did you know he was born in Baltimore? Read on for more about the frontman below!
Duritz was born in Baltimore on August 1, 1964. His parents, both doctors, raised him and his sister Nicole, in cities around the country from Baltimore to El Paso before settling in Berkeley, California. After attending UC Berkeley, he joined local bands in the Bay Area, including The Himalayans and Sordid Humor.
In 1991, he formed Counting Crows alongside guitarist and producer David Bryson, and they originally performed as a duo. The band's name was derived from the nursery rhyme "One for Sorrow," and their sound drew inspiration from classic songwriters like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. The band's demo launched a competitive bidding war between multiple major labels, which eventually ended with Geffen Records signing them.
Their debut August and Everything After came out in 1993. Produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett, the album sold 7 million copies and spawned the singles "Round Here" and "Mr. Jones." The latter became a huge hit; it topped the Billboard 200 charts and got them appearances on late-night TV and Saturday Night Live. This immediate success would negatively impact Duritz, who suffered a mental breakdown. This quick catapult to fame would shape the follow-up Recovering the Satellites (1996).
From there they released albums into the 2000s—This Desert Life (1999) and Hard Candy (2002), which featured "American Girls" with Sheryl Crow and a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi." Their most recent album Somewhere Under Wonderland (2014) channeled a return to the band's early roots. In total, the band's released 7 albums and sold 20 million of them around the globe.
Duritz has also penned songs for other artists. Along with Bryson, he co-wrote the song "Accidentally in Love" for Shrek 2 that received an Academy Award nomination. He's collaborated frequently with his contemporaries, including artists like Ryan Adams, Dashboard Confessional, and The Wallflowers. In addition to creating original material, he's sought out new artists through his own record labels, E Pluribus Unum and Tyrannosaurus Records.
In the past, Duritz has been frank about his struggles with mental health. In 2008, he announced that he had been diagnosed with Depersonalization disorder (DPD) a condition where the afflicted feel a detachment from themselves, which has impacted his ability to write music.
Lately, the musician has been exploring other creative outlets besides music. In 2018, he started a weekly podcast, The Underwater Sunshine Podcast, where he chats with music journalist James Campion about music, life, and everything in between. In the same spirit, he launched the Underwater Sunshine Fest to showcase the talents of independent artists.
Any Counting Crows fans here? Tell us your favorite song in the comments!