COUNTING CROWS Biography - Music bands & groups


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Name: Counting Crows                                                                       
Origin: San Francisco, California, United States                                           
Counting Crows is a rock band originating from Berkeley, California. The group             
gained popularity in 1994 following the release of its debut album August and             
Everything After, which featured the hit single "Mr. Jones." The band's                   
influences include Van Morrison, R.E.M., Nirvana, Bob Dylan and The Band.                 
They received a 2004 Academy Award nomination for the song "Accidentally in               
Singer Adam Duritz (former member of the Bay Area band The Himalayans) and                 
guitarist Dave Bryson formed Counting Crows in San Francisco in 1991. As well as           
his experience in The Himalayans, Duritz had contributed to recordings by the             
Bay Area group Sordid Humor, though never a member. Counting Crows began as an             
acoustic duo, playing gigs in and around Berkeley and San Francisco.                       
By 1993 the band had grown to a stable lineup of Duritz, Bryson, Matt Malley (bass),       
Charlie Gillingham (keys) and Steve Bowman (drums), and it was a regular on the           
Bay Area scene. The same year, the band signed to Geffen Records. On January 16,           
1993, the band, still relatively unknown, filled in for Van Morrison at the               
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, and was introduced by an enthusiastic Robbie           
Robertson. They remain the only unknowns ever to play the ceremony.                       
At some point before signing to Geffen, the band recorded demo versions of a               
number of songs, known as the 'Flying Demos'. These later surfaced among the               
Counting Crows fanbase. Tracks include "Rain King", "Omaha", "Anna Begins", "Einstein     
on the Beach (For an Eggman)", "Shallow Days", "Love and Addiction", "Mr. Jones",         
"Round Here", "40 Years", "Margery Dreams of Horses", "Bulldog", "Lightning" and           
"We're Only Love".                                                                         
Various songs from this tape would later resurface on the band's debut album               
August and Everything After; the songs contained on the tape featured different           
music and in some instances different lyrics.                                             
The band took its name from a divination rhyme about the crow, heard by Duritz             
in the film Signs of Life. The rhyme is used at the end of the song "A Murder             
of One" on the album August and Everything After: "Well I dreamt I saw you                 
walking up a hillside in the snow / Casting shadows on the winter sky as you               
stood there, counting crows / One for sorrow, two for joy / Three for girls and           
four for boys / Five for silver, six for gold / Seven for a secret never to be             
told." In the poem, the act of counting crows is particularly useless. Duritz             
reveals that a name is just a name, and, with that, is useless and can be                 
anything. The divination also appears in the 1973 novel Secret of the Seven               
Crows by Wylly Folk St. John: "One crow means sorrow, two crows mean joy, three           
crows a wedding, four crows a boy, five crows mean silver, six crows mean gold,           
seven crows a secret that's never been told." In the UK, the rhyme is well known           
but uses magpies rather than crows. A popular superstition states that if one             
sees a single magpie, one should greet it in the form of good morning/afternoon/evening   
Mr Magpie to deflect the "sorrow".