Belly (band)

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Belly
Belly Sire Reprise.JPG
Belly, 1993
Background information
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Alternative rock, dream pop, jangle pop
Years active 1991–1996
Labels Sire, Reprise, Warner Bros., 4AD
Associated acts L7, Throwing Muses, The Breeders
Past members Tanya Donelly
Thomas Gorman
Fred Abong
Gail Greenwood
Chris Gorman

Belly was an alternative rock band formed in 1991 by former Throwing Muses members Tanya Donelly (who was also in The Breeders) and Fred Abong. The band was based in Boston, Massachusetts, though all of the original members grew up in Newport, Rhode Island. The band consisted of Donelly on lead vocals and guitar, Abong on bass, Tom Gorman on guitar, and Chris Gorman on drums. Tom and Chris, who were brothers, were childhood friends of Donelly's; they had previously played in the hardcore punk band Verbal Assault.[1] On at least one tour date (in February, 1993) in Albany, NY, former Throwing Muses member, Leslie Langston, lent a hand on bass.[2]

Formation and Star 1992-1993[edit]

Donelly named the band "Belly" because she thought the word was "both pretty and ugly."[3] Their EP, Slow Dust (1992), made it to number one on the UK indie chart. Soon after, their single "Feed the Tree" made the Top 40 in the UK Singles Chart and their first album, Star (1993), hit number two on the UK Albums Chart.[1]

In the United States, the album was RIAA certified gold, largely based on the success of "Feed the Tree" on Modern Rock radio stations and MTV, where the video was featured as part of MTV's Buzz Bin videos and Alternative Nation video show for much of 1993. Two follow-up singles were released, "Gepetto" and "Slow Dog," but neither matched the initial success of "Feed the Tree." Star was consequently nominated for two Grammys. The album went on to sell over 800,000 copies in the US alone and two million worldwide.[citation needed]

In the spring of 1993, they embarked on a US tour supported by Radiohead.

King and break-up 1994-1996[edit]

Just after the release of Star, bassist Fred Abong left and was replaced by Gail Greenwood. Greenwood was originally a guitar player in a Boston-area metal band before being recruited to play bass in Belly. The live sound of the band evolved to accommodate her style, with its shows featuring more electric guitar than before and less of the dreamy quality of its first album.

As a result, the group's next album, King (1995), was more rock and roll-oriented. The album was not a popular success and the band was stuck between mainstream and underground acceptance.[1] King saw its numerous singles fail to sustain any significant airplay on Modern Rock radio. The videos for "Now They'll Sleep" and "Super Connected" received little airplay on MTV US outside of limited airings on 120 Minutes, although they were well received on MTV Europe. Belly appeared on the April 20, 1995 cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The band also performed "Super Connected" on the Late Show with David Letterman in June that year. It was one of the band's last major U.S television appearances.[4]

In 1995, Belly was one of the support bands for R.E.M. on their world tour.

Aside from touring with R.E.M, the band extensively toured in the US with Catherine Wheel and Jewel as support acts. Both acts were emerging into the American mainstream at the time, and Belly helped them with exposure. Catherine Wheel's 1995 release Happy Days was the band's first of two albums to break into the Billboard 200; the LP's second single "Judy Staring At The Sun," featured Donelly's vocals, and became a Modern Rock hit in the U.S. peaking at No. 22. She was also featured in the video for the song and it became popular on MTV's 120 Minutes.

Belly vocalist Tanya Donelly's voice has been described as having a "fiery spark" with a "sweet rasp in her throat,"[5] with a style described as "down to earth."[6] According to an account in the Chicago Tribune, which described Belly as a "cute-as-a-button band", Donelly once approached the microphone during a performance and deliberately "burped."[6]

In 1996, Donelly broke up the band; she has since released several solo albums.[1] Greenwood went on to stints in L7 and Benny Sizzler, and the Gorman brothers began careers as commercial photographers based in New York City.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

EPs[edit]

  • Slow Dust (1992)[1]
  • Seal My Fate (1995)

Singles[edit]

  • "Gepetto" (1992) [7]
  • "Feed the Tree" (1993) [7]
  • "Moon" (1993) [7]
  • "Slow Dog" (1993) [7]
  • "Super Connected" (1995) [7]
  • "Now They'll Sleep" (1995) [7]
  • "Red" [Promo] (1995) [7]
  • "Seal My Fate" (1995) [7]
  • "Sun" [Promo] (1995) [7]
  • "Are You Experienced" (1994)[1]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Generation X
  • Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix (1993) – "Are You Experienced?"
  • Just Say Roe (Just Say Yes Vol. 7) (1994)
  • With Honors (1994)
  • UMPF (1995)
  • Mallrats (1995)
  • Sharks Patrol These Waters (1995)
  • This Is Fort Apache (1995)
  • Tank Girl (1995)
  • Safe and Sound (1996)
  • A Bunch O' Hits: The Best Rock...Volume 1 (1996)
  • In Defense of Animals, Volume 2 (1996)
  • Twister (1996)
  • The Rolling Stone Women in Rock Collection (1998)
  • Lifetime Intimate Portrait: Women in Rock (1999)
  • Out of Bounds: A Journey Through Modern Rock (1999)
  • Double Shot: Pop Alternative (2000)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 73–74. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  2. ^ "Belly Biography". Retrieved Oct 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ 4ad.com[dead link]
  4. ^ "Belly - RS 706 (April 20, 1995)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  5. ^ Jude Rogers (17 November 2006). "Tanya Donelly, This Hungry Life". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-07-97. "... her fiery spark and the sweet rasp in her throat haven't aged. Her allegorical songwriting, most famously showcased on Belly's 1993 hit Feed the Tree, ..." 
  6. ^ a b Brooks Whitney (June 6, 1995). "That Cute-as-a-button Band Belly Is An Innie". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-07-97. ""Tanya's a regular girl," ... Tanya walked up to a microphone and burped into it. ... down to earth this "in" band is. ... cute pop-rock band" 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Belly Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.