Before These Crowded Streets

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Before These Crowded Streets
DMB - Before These Crowded Streets.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 28, 1998 (1998-04-28)
Recorded1997–1998, The Plant Studios, Sausalito, CA & Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY
GenreAlternative rock, jazz fusion, progressive rock
ProducerSteve Lillywhite
Dave Matthews Band chronology
Live at Red Rocks 8.15.95
Before These Crowded Streets
Listener Supported
Singles from Before These Crowded Streets
  1. "Don't Drink the Water"
    Released: 1998
  2. "Stay (Wasting Time)"
    Released: 1998
  3. "Crush"
    Released: September 8, 1998
  4. "Rapunzel"
    Released: 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[2]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[3]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[5]
USA Today3/4 stars[7]

Before These Crowded Streets is the third studio album by Dave Matthews Band, released on April 28, 1998. It was the last official album by the group to be produced by longtime producer Steve Lillywhite until 2012's Away from the World and their first album recorded at The Plant Recording Studios in Sausalito, California.[8] The album title is taken from the lyrics of the song "The Dreaming Tree."[9] It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts after selling 421,000 units in its first week of release knocking the Titanic soundtrack from the top spot after a run of 16 consecutive weeks at #1.[10]

Track listing[edit]

Special guest Tim Reynolds is featured on all tracks.

No.TitleWriter(s)Guest musician(s)Length
1."Pantala Naga Pampa"Dave Matthews 0:40
2."Rapunzel"Matthews, Stefan Lessard, Carter BeaufordButch Taylor6:00
3."The Last Stop"Matthews, LessardBéla Fleck6:57
4."Don't Drink the Water"MatthewsAlanis Morissette, Béla Fleck7:01
5."Stay (Wasting Time)"Matthews, Lessard, LeRoi MooreTawatha Agee, Cindy Myzell, Brenda White King5:35
6."Halloween"MatthewsJohn D'earth, Kronos Quartet5:07
7."The Stone"MatthewsJohn D'earth, Kronos Quartet7:28
8."Crush"MatthewsButch Taylor8:09
9."The Dreaming Tree"Matthews, LessardGreg Howard8:48
10."Pig"Matthews, Lessard, Beauford, Moore, Boyd Tinsley 6:57
11."Spoon"MatthewsAlanis Morissette, Béla Fleck7:33

Several short musical interludes appear between songs:

  • A clip in which LeRoi Moore is heard answering his cell phone follows "Rapunzel."
  • A clip of flute music follows "Don't Drink the Water."
  • A string passage by the Kronos Quartet serves as a segue from "Halloween" to "The Stone."
  • An outtake featuring Bela Fleck and Alanis Morissette follows "The Stone."
  • A clip of "Doobie Thing" an early DMB instrumental song, follows "The Dreaming Tree."
  • A clip of "Anyone Seen the Bridge?", a live show transition song, and a short excerpt of "Deed is Done," an unreleased song from the previous tour, follows "Pig."
  • A clip now referred to as "The Last Stop Reprise" follows "Spoon."

Deleted songs[edit]

Songs that were recorded during the sessions, but were not included on the final cut:[11]

  • "Help Myself" – Licensed for the Scream 2 soundtrack in lieu of "Halloween", which the band decided was too good to leave off the album.
  • "Don't Burn the Pig" – Evolved into "Pig" during the sessions.
  • "Get in Line"
  • "MacHead"
  • "#40 (Always)"


"MacHead" was a song recorded during the album's sessions, but it was never completed, so did not make the album. Producer Steve Lillywhite named the song, claiming it sounded like a cross between the sound of Paul McCartney and Radiohead.[12] The song's existence is only known from an image on the 1999 fan calendar with a list of the working titles of the other songs on this album and from an alleged meeting in which Jake Vigliotti claims to have heard said recording.

"[MacHead] is a song that we were working on for [Before] These Crowded Streets and it's a song that we just never got to completion before we finished the album. Who knows, maybe one of these days we'll finish it and record it again, but we finished the album before we finished the song."[13]

— Boyd Tinsley, May 2006

Some fans familiar with the idea of "MacHead" speculated it had been developed, renamed, and added to the band's catalog.[12] They speculate that "MacHead" developed into "Bartender", which debuted in January 1999 at a Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert just months after the April '98 release of Before These Crowded Streets. In November 2009, Jake Vigliotti claims to have heard 6 different demo takes of "Machead" from an early 1997 recording session for the album,[14] effectively confirming its existence to the fan community.[15]

In a 2010 interview with Cali from CBS Radio, Stefan Lessard was asked to give his thoughts on Machead. He replied that "Machead's this little number that I believe was the last song to possibly make it on Before These Crowded Streets and I think there's a recording I have of it somewhere. So it's just finding a recording of it and listening to it and that's on our homework list." [16] As of May 2018, no official recording has surfaced.



Year Chart Position
1998 The Billboard 200 1[17]
1998 Top Canadian Albums 6[citation needed]
1999 Top Internet Albums 17[citation needed]


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Before These Crowded Streets – Dave Matthews Band". AllMusic. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Browne, David (May 8, 1998). "Before These Crowded Streets". Entertainment Weekly. New York. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  3. ^ Weingarten, Marc (April 26, 1998). "Dave Matthews Band, 'Before These Crowded Streets,' RCA". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  4. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (April 16, 1998). "Before These Crowded Streets". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  5. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (2004). "Dave Matthews Band". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 519–20. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Berrett, Jesse (June 1998). "Dave Matthews Band: Before These Crowded Streets". Spin. New York. 14 (6): 132. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  7. ^ Gundersen, Edna (May 5, 1998). "Stretching the usual boundaries 'Streets' a delight; Shepard disappoints". USA Today. McLean. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  8. ^ Jacobson, Jeff. Dave Matthews Band: Busted Stuff Guitar and Vocal, 2002, page 2, Cherry Lane Music Company.
  9. ^ "The Dreaming Tree" opens with these lyrics: "Standing here / The old man said to me /"Long before these crowded streets / Here stood my dreaming tree" / Below it he would sit / For hours at a time"
  10. ^ "Crowded At The Top: DMB on the Charts". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Dave Matthews Band". Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  12. ^ a b "Dave Matthews Band". 2003-11-03. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  13. ^ Maliszeski, Joe (2006-05-02). "Boyd takes ESPN By Storm (Wimbledon Music) (Machead)". Archived from the original on 4 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  14. ^ "Dave Matthews Band". Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  15. ^ "Dave Matthews Band". Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  16. ^ "More With Cali & Stefan on the DMB Tour Bus". CBSRadio. 2010-06-10. Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  17. ^ "Dave Matthews Band – Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 27 April 2014.