4 Non Blondes

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4 Non Blondes
Linda Perry pictured in 2008
Linda Perry pictured in 2008
Background information
OriginSan Francisco, California, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock
Years active1989–1994 (one off reunion in 2014)
Labels
Associated acts
  • Malibu Barbi
  • Louis Metoyer Band
Past members

4 Non Blondes was an American alternative rock band from San Francisco, California,[1] active from 1989 to 1994.[2] Their first and only album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More! spent 59 weeks on the Billboard 200.[3] They hit the charts in 1993 with the release of the album's second single, "What's Up?, "[2] and Bigger, Better, Faster, More! sold 1.5 million copies between 1992 and 1994.[3]

Originally, the band was all-female, including lead singer Linda Perry, bassist Christa Hillhouse, guitarist Shaunna Hall, and drummer Wanda Day.[4] However, before the release of the album, Hall and Day were replaced by Roger Rocha (guitar) and Dawn Richardson (drums).

Lead singer Linda Perry left the band in 1994, and the remaining members disbanded shortly thereafter.[5]

Formation and debut album[edit]

Bassist Christa Hillhouse and guitarist Shaunna Hall had been roommates and met drummer Wanda Day when they joined a band she was playing in. When the three left that band, they started playing as a trio, but after seeing Perry sing at a solo performance, Hillhouse and Hall asked her to join as vocalist.

According to Perry, she and Hall were at Nightbreak, a San Francisco club, and when it was mentioned the trio was looking for a vocalist, Perry announced she was a singer, to which Hall replied, "I know". Their first rehearsal was supposed to be at 6:10 pm on October 17, 1989, but shortly after 5:00 pm the Loma Prieta earthquake hit the San Francisco area.[6][7]

The unusual name of the band came from an experience the group had in the Bay-Area with a blonde family. According to Christa Hillhouse, "Right next to us, there's a trash receptacle with a piece of pizza on top and the kid wanted to pick it up. The mom said, `No, it's probably dirty, what with the pigeons and people.' And she stared right at us. We were Non Blondes."[8]

The experience and the name became a symbol that they didn't fit the California stereotype.

They got their start in the San Francisco bar scene, especially lesbian bars, gaining a significant lesbian following.[5][9] In July 1991, the band was signed to Interscope[4] following a performance at the Gavin Convention, where they opened for Primus on Valentine's Day of the same year. As they began pre-production for their debut album, Day was fired and replaced by Richardson. In 1992, while recording Bigger, Better, Faster, More! the album's producer, David Tickle, felt that Hall's guitar playing was "not happening" so she was let go from the band as well.[10]

Guitarist Louis Metoyer finished the record. The album and its song " What's Up?" was released as the album's second single in 1993. It was successful in the United States[11] and in several European countries, peaking at number one in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Roger Rocha joined after completion of the album and stayed with the band until 1994.

Openly lesbian lead singer Linda Perry often performed with a prominent "dyke" sticker affixed to her guitar, including both at the Billboard Music Awards in 1993[12] and on "Late Night with David Letterman."[13]

4 Non Blondes contributed the song "Mary's House" to the film Wayne's World 2 in 1993.[14] They also covered Van Halen's "I'm the One" on the soundtrack for Airheads. They contributed "Bless the Beasts and Children" to a 1994 The Carpenters tribute album If I Were a Carpenter, and "Misty Mountain Hop"[14] to the 1995 Encomium tribute album to Led Zeppelin.

Disbanding[edit]

The group disbanded in late 1994 during the recording of their second album. Linda Perry has cited that she had been unhappy with Bigger, Better, Faster, More! [5] She has also explained that her sexuality had a part to play in her tensions with the group. Perry was an out lesbian, but band members Christa Hillhouse and Dawn Richardson were less comfortable being as open about their sexuality in the early 1990s.[3]

Perry went solo in 1995. She has released solo work, produced and written songs on albums by Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love and Kelly Osbourne.[15]

Hall has recorded, produced, composed for and performed with various artists, including vocalist Storm Large (1999–2001), guitarist Eric McFadden (1995–2001) and funk pioneer George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (2002– ) and released "Electrofunkadelica: e3+FUNKnth = music for the body, mind & soul", a self-produced project in 2006 on Make Music, Not War! Records.

After leaving the Blondes in 1991, Day continued drumming with Malibu Barbi,[16] and then Bad Dog Play Dead. In late 1992, an accident crushed her legs and broke her back, which made drumming very painful.[citation needed] She moved out of San Francisco in 1995, spent some time in Arizona and eventually went back to Salt Lake City.[citation needed] Day died on July 10, 1997,[17][18] and is buried in Tropic, Utah.

Hillhouse maintains the official website for 4 Non Blondes.[19]

Reunions[edit]

Linda Perry and Christa Hillhouse reunited in 1999 in support of Perry's solo tour.[20]

On May 11, 2014, the group reunited to perform a concert at a fundraiser entitled "An Evening For Women: Celebrating Arts, Music and Equality" which was held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. Perry produces the annual event for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to raise money for the center. According to Perry, "the majority of the money goes to the youth center program, which is basically kids that get thrown out on the street by their own parents for being gay."[21]

The six songs on the track list were "Train", "Spaceman", "The Ladder", "Mighty Lady", "Superfly" and "What's Up?," and the fundraiser was organized by the Los Angeles LGBT Center.[22]

Members[edit]

  • Wanda Day – drums (1989–1991; died 1997)
  • Shaunna Hall – lead guitar (1989–1992)
  • Christa Hillhouse – bass guitar, vocals (1989–1994, 2014)
  • Linda Perry – vocals, rhythm guitar (1989–1994, 2014)
  • Dawn Richardson – drums (1991–1994, 2014)
  • Louis Metoyer – guitar (1992)
  • Roger Rocha – lead guitar (1992–1994, 2014)

Timeline

Discography[edit]

Studio album [edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US
[23]
AUS
[24]
AUT
[25]
GER
[26]
NLD
[27]
NO
[28]
NZ
[29]
SWE
[30]
CH
[31]
UK
[32]
1992 Bigger, Better, Faster, More! 13 4 1 1 1 1 10 1 1 4

Live album [edit]

  • Hello Mr. President (Live in Italy 1993) (1994)

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US
[37]
AUS
[24]
AUT
[38]
BEL
[39]
FRA
[40]
GER
[26]
NLD
[41]
NOR
[42]
NZ
[43]
SWE
[44]
SWI
[45]
UK
[32]
1992 "Dear Mr. President" 40 79 Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
1993 "What's Up?" 14 2 1 1 3 1 1 1 2 1 1 2
"Spaceman" 117 85 19 24 28 25 23 18 53
"Mary's House" Wayne's World II soundtrack
"Drifting" Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
1994 "I'm the One" Airheads soundtrack
"Superfly" Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
1995 "Misty Mountain Hop" 78 Encomium
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Videos[edit]

  • 1992 – "Dear Mr. President"
  • 1993 – "What's Up?"
  • 1993 – "Spaceman"
  • 1994 – "Superfly"
  • 1995 – "Misty Mountain Hop"
  • 1996 – "4 Non Blondes vs BBC"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Work Category Result
1993 MTV Video Music Awards "What's Up" Best Alternative Video Nominated
1994 Danish Music Awards Best International Hit Won
Brit Awards Themselves International Breakthrough Act Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morrissey, Alanis (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 355. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  2. ^ a b Larkin, Colin LarkinColin (2009), Larkin, Colin (ed.), "4 Non Blondes", Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780195313734.001.0001/acref-9780195313734-e-62502, ISBN 978-0-19-531373-4, retrieved March 10, 2020
  3. ^ a b c Halperin, Shirley (July 26, 2015). "Linda Perry's Breaking Point". Billboard. Vol. 126 no. 23. pp. 48–51 – via EBSCOhost Middle Search Plus.
  4. ^ a b Hunt, Dennis (September 30, 1993). "4 Non Blondes; Color them unpredictable". Hamilton Spectator.
  5. ^ a b c Bono, Chastity (September 15, 1995). "Linda Perry: The lesbian singer of 4 Non Blondes goes solo with a bold and honest album". The Advocate. Vol. 609. pp. 37–40.
  6. ^ Indiana, Gary (July–August 1991). "4 Non Blondes Interview". Flipside Magazine.
  7. ^ "Earthquake". Time Magazine. Time Inc. October 30, 1989. Archived from the original on December 24, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  8. ^ Martin, Louise (September 24, 1993). "Mane of the game is success". The Age.
  9. ^ Walters, Barry (September 17, 1996). "Nonblonde ambition". The Advocate. Vol. 716. pp. 81–82. ISSN 0001-8996.
  10. ^ Chun, Kimberly. "Noise: Miss understood". The San Francisco Bay Guardian. The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  11. ^ "Linda Perry interview". Guitar Center. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  12. ^ Shorey, Jerry Portwood,Jon Freeman,Brittany Spanos,Suzy Exposito,Stacy Lambe,Zoe Camp,Marcus Borton,Eric; Stone, Rolling (June 1, 2019). "Music's Unsung LGBTQ Heroes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  13. ^ Williams, Carla (October 15, 2004). "Music Video". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "4 Non Blondes Triumph Following A 'Shaky' Start". Billboard. December 11, 1993.
  15. ^ De La O, Maria (October 1, 2011). "What's up with Linda Perry: The lesbian rock legend shares her heartbreak with a new album". Curve.
  16. ^ Hall, Shaunna. "Life and Times of Wanda Day". Loudith Faire. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  17. ^ "Death: Wanda Marie Day". Deseret News. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  18. ^ Kimberly Chun. "Miss Understood". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  19. ^ Christa, Hillhouse. "CHILLHOUSE MUSIC". Four Non Blondes. Christa Hillhouse. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  20. ^ Christa, Hillhouse. "Linda Perry Tour 1999". CHILLHOUSE MUSIC. Christa Hillhouse. Archived from the original on April 24, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  21. ^ Jess (March 31, 2011). "Linda Perry Starts Pink's Party, Defends Christina Aguilera, Is Legendary". Autostraddle. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  22. ^ Breihan, Tom (May 11, 2014). "Watch A Reunited 4 Non Blondes Play "What's Up" For The First Time In 20 Years". Stereogum. Spin Media. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Chart Stats – 4 Non Blondes". billboard.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  24. ^ a b Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
  25. ^ "Discographie 4 Non Blondes". AustrianCharts.at. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  26. ^ a b "Suche nach '4 Non Blondes'" [Search for '4 Non Blondes']. Charts.de (in German). Media Control AG. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  27. ^ "Discografie 4 Non Blondes". DutchCharts.nl. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  28. ^ "Discography 4 Non Blondes". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  29. ^ "Discography 4 Non Blondes". Charts.ord.nz. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  30. ^ "Discography 4 Non Blondes". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  31. ^ "Discography 4 Non Blondes". SwissCharts.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  32. ^ a b "Official Charts > 4 Non Blondes". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  33. ^ "Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2011. Note: User must define 'Artist' search parameter as "4 Non Blondes".
  34. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  35. ^ "Gold/Platin". Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Archived from the original on November 24, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  36. ^ "Certified Awards Search" Archived May 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved on November 17, 2011. Note: User needs to enter "4 Non Blondes" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history.
  37. ^ "4 Non Blondes". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  38. ^ "4 NON BLONDES IN DER ÖSTERREICHISCHEN HITPARADE". Austriancharts.at. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  39. ^ "4 NON BLONDES – WHAT'S UP?". Ultra Top. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  40. ^ "4 NON BLONDES DANS LES CHARTS FRANÇAIS". lescharts.com. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  41. ^ "4 NON BLONDES IN DUTCH CHARTS". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  42. ^ "4 NON BLONDES IN NORWEGIAN CHARTS". Norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  43. ^ "4 NON BLONDES IN NEW ZEALAND CHARTS". charts.nz. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  44. ^ "DISCOGRAPHY 4 NON BLONDES". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  45. ^ "4 NON BLONDES – WHAT'S UP?". Hitparade.ch. Retrieved December 7, 2013.

External links[edit]