Bringing Down the Horse

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Bringing Down the Horse
A field of golden stars on a navy background
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 21, 1996 (1996-05-21)
ProducerT-Bone Burnett
The Wallflowers chronology
The Wallflowers
Bringing Down the Horse
Singles from Bringing Down the Horse
  1. "6th Avenue Heartache"
    Released: April 23, 1996
  2. "One Headlight"
    Released: November 1996
  3. "The Difference"
    Released: May 1997
  4. "Three Marlenas"
    Released: October 25, 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Consumer Guide(neither)[2]
Entertainment WeeklyB[3]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[4]
Orlando Sentinel3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[7]

Bringing Down the Horse is the second album by the American rock band The Wallflowers. It was released worldwide on May 21, 1996. The album was produced by T-Bone Burnett and features hits such as "One Headlight", "6th Avenue Heartache", "The Difference", and "Three Marlenas".

Bringing Down the Horse went quadruple platinum and is the Wallflowers' highest-selling album to date. Three songs from the album were nominated for Grammy Awards; in 1997 the Wallflowers received two nominations, both for "6th Avenue Heartache". In 1998 the band received three additional nominations; two for "One Headlight" and one for "The Difference". "One Headlight" won in both categories it was nominated in. The song was the band's most popular single, reaching no. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock, Modern Rock, and Adult top 40 charts. "One Headlight" is also listed at no.58 in Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs.

Bringing Down the Horse was issued on vinyl for the first time as a double LP set for the album's 20th anniversary, released by Interscope/Universal Music Group, on May 13, 2016.[8]


The Wallflowers released their debut album in 1992 on Virgin Records and subsequently parted ways with the label shortly after the album's release.[9] The band went back to playing clubs in Los Angeles in hopes of securing another record deal. In the year it took to get another deal, the Wallflowers went through a number of personnel changes; the band's bass player Barrie Maguire and drummer Peter Yanowitz both left the band in 1993. Maguire was quickly replaced by Greg Richling, but the drummer position remained open.[10] Soon after Yanowitz's departure, the Wallflowers were noticed by Jimmy Iovine and Tom Whalley of Interscope Records and the band was signed to the label in 1994.[11]


After multiple years away from the studio, the Wallflowers were ready to record. However, they encountered some difficulty in finding a producer willing to work with them. The band sent demo tapes to many producers and one ended up in the hands of T-Bone Burnett. Burnett was impressed with what he heard and agreed to produce the band.[12] The Wallflowers entered the studio to begin recording in 1994. Much of the album was recorded in the Los Angeles area. The band's lineup heading into the studio consisted of lead singer-songwriter/rhythm guitarist Jakob Dylan, bassist Greg Richling, keyboard player Rami Jaffee and lead guitarist Tobi Miller. Early in the sessions, however, Miller quit the band for undisclosed reasons, though he remained on good terms with the band. This left the band without a permanent lead guitarist or drummer. Those positions were temporarily filled by drummer Matt Chamberlain and a number of guitarists including Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fred Tackett, Jay Joyce and Michael Ward, who would go on to become a permanent member of the group.[13]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Bringing Down the Horse further explores roots sounds heard on the band's previous self-titled album but used a more refined approach. This album features an array of instruments normally associated with roots music including banjos, dobros and pedal steel guitars. Dylan commented on the sound of the record by saying, "You can counter different sounds and different things. We were in a certain channel already, and I do remember thinking if we mixed it organically, and we kept chasing that [Americana sound], it probably would sound dated. I wasn’t interested in making a throwback record from the 60's or 70's. I didn’t have any interest in doing that. And that was one of the reasons we had Tom Lord-Alge, who was a very current mixer at the time. We thought that he could counter a lot of these acoustic sounds with something that sounded really fresh and up to date."[14]

Upon entering the studio, Dylan, who wrote all the songs for Bringing Down the Horse, had written some songs that were ready to record but needed more to complete the album. Due to the delay between the band's first album and this album, the songwriting process was staggered. Songs for Bringing Down the Horse were written in a span of roughly 5 years. One of the earliest songs, "6th Avenue Heartache", was written before the band's first album; likely around 1990. Several other songs, such as "God Don't Make Lonely Girls", were written when the band was in between labels. During recording sessions, Dylan wrote seven additional songs for the album including "One Headlight", "Bleeders", "Three Marlenas", "The Difference", "Josephine", "Invisible City", and "I Wish I Felt Nothing".[15] On the lyrical content, Dylan stated, "Every song, fortunately or unfortunately is about feeling massively defeated, because that's what I was living."[16] Dylan later said he wrote "I Wish I Felt Nothing" with the band's pedal steel guitarist Leo LeBlanc in mind, who was battling cancer at the time.[17] LeBlanc had been playing with the Wallflowers for several years and was prominently featured on several songs on Bringing Down the Horse, including "Invisible City" and "I Wish I Felt Nothing". He died shortly after completing the album in 1995. Upon the album's release, the Wallflowers dedicated Bringing Down the Horse to LeBlanc.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jakob Dylan.

  1. "One Headlight" – 5:13
  2. "6th Avenue Heartache" – 5:37
  3. "Bleeders" – 3:41
  4. "Three Marlenas" – 4:59
  5. "The Difference" – 3:50
  6. "Invisible City" – 4:48
  7. "Laughing Out Loud" – 3:39
  8. "Josephine" – 5:09
  9. "God Don't Make Lonely Girls" – 4:49
  10. "Angel on My Bike" – 4:22
  11. "I Wish I Felt Nothing" – 5:04

Japanese edition bonus tracks

  1. "Used to Be Lucky"
  2. "6th Avenue Heartache" (Acoustic)
  3. "Angel on My Bike" (Live)

Special Edition bonus tracks

  1. "Used to Be Lucky"
  2. "Heroes" (David Bowie cover)


The Wallflowers

(Note that Mario Calire is credited as drummer but does not perform on this album; he joined the band after recording and prior to release.)

Additional musicians

Sales chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak position
Billboard Heatseekers[18] 1
The Billboard 200[19] 4
Canadian Albums[19] 6


Year Single Chart Position
1996 "6th Avenue Heartache" Adult Top 40[20] 26
1996 "6th Avenue Heartache" Mainstream Rock Tracks[21] 10
1996 "6th Avenue Heartache" Hot 100 Airplay[22] 33
1996 "6th Avenue Heartache" Modern Rock Tracks[20] 8
1996 "6th Avenue Heartache" Top 40 Mainstream[20] 25
1997 "One Headlight" Mainstream Rock Tracks[23] 1
1996 "One Headlight" Modern Rock Tracks[24] 1
1997 "One Headlight" Adult Contemporary[24] 30
1997 "One Headlight" Adult Top 40[24] 1
1997 "One Headlight" Top 40 Mainstream[24] 2
1997 "Three Marlenas" Mainstream Rock Tracks[25] 21
1997 "Three Marlenas" Modern Rock Tracks[26] 17
1997 "The Difference" Adult Top 40[27] 14
1997 "The Difference" Mainstream Rock Tracks[28] 3
1997 "The Difference" Modern Rock Tracks[27] 5
1997 "The Difference" Top 40 Mainstream[27] 19
1998 "One Headlight" Hot 100 Recurrent Airplay[29] 7

End of decade charts[edit]

Chart (1990–1999) Position
U.S. Billboard 200[30] 86

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
USA May 21, 1996 Interscope Compact Disc, cassette tape 90055
Canada & Europe June 1996[31] MCA Compact Disc, cassette tape
United Kingdom August 1996[31] MCA Compact Disc, cassette tape
Japan 1997 Universal/MCA Compact Disc 24018

†This version contains bonus tracks


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  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 15, 2000). "The Wallflowers". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 9780312245603.
  3. ^ Mirkin, Steven (May 31, 1996). "Bringing Down the Horse". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  4. ^ Gardner, Elysa (June 9, 1996). "POP MUSIC; On His Own, Not a Complete Unknown". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Staunton, Terry (1998). "The Wallflowers: Bringing Down the Horse". NME. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000.
  6. ^ Gettelman, Parry (June 7, 1996). "The Wallflowers". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Altman, Billy (February 2, 1998). "The Wallflowers: Bringing Down the Horse". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 2008.
  8. ^ Lantinen, Christopher (March 14, 2016). "Wallflowers' Bringing Down the Horse getting reissued". Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Wallflowers". The Truth About That First Record. iTunes Originals. 2005. iTunes.
  10. ^ "The Wallflowers Who's Who: Barrie Maguire". The Wallflowers Network. Archived from the original on July 16, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  11. ^ "The Wallflowers Who's Who: Greg Richling". The Wallflowers Network. Archived from the original on July 16, 2006.
  12. ^ Hirshey, Gerri (June 12, 1997). "Jakob's Ladder". The Wallflowers Network. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 13, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  13. ^ "Bringing Down the Horse: Credits". All Music. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  14. ^ Dylan, Jakob. "Q&A: The Wallflowers' Jakob Dylan Remembers Bringing Down the Horse". American Songwriter.
  15. ^ "Behind the Music: Bringing Down the Horse (The End Result)". The Wallflowers Network. Archived from the original on October 13, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  16. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony. "Don't Look Back". Archived from the original on October 13, 2006.
  17. ^ Beviglia, Jim (October 12, 2012). "Q&A: The Wallflowers' Jakob Dylan Remembers Bringing Down the Horse". American Songwriter.
  18. ^ Letkemann, Jessica (June 6, 2011). "News – The Ready Set Covers The Wallflowers:". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 13, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  19. ^ a b "Bringing Down the Horse – The Wallflowers". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  20. ^ a b c "6th Avenue Heartache – The Wallflowers". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  21. ^ "Mainstream Rock Tracks". Billboard. September 21, 1996. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  22. ^ "Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard. October 26, 1996. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  23. ^ "Mainstream Rock Tracks". March 1, 1997. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  24. ^ a b c d "One Headlight – The Wallflowers". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  25. ^ "Mainstream Rock Tracks". Billboard. November 15, 1997. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  26. ^ "Three Marlenas – The Wallflowers". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  27. ^ a b c "The Difference – The Wallflowers". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  28. ^ "Mainstream Rock Tracks". Billboard. July 26, 1997. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  29. ^ "Hot 100 Recurrent Airplay". Billboard. May 9, 1998. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  30. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  31. ^ a b Reece, Douglas (August 31, 1996). "Wallflowers Are Getting Attention on Interscope". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 20.