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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Rewind: 1993 Natalie Merchant Announces She is Leaving 10,000 Maniacs to pursue a Solo Career

August 5th 1993 Natalie Merchant told MTV that she was leaving She had been with the band since 1981, firstly as a vocalist alongside Rob Buck's ex-wife Terri Newhouse. Newhouse left the band in July that year and Merchant took over the lead vocals and songwriting duties at the tender age of 17.

Their first release was the March 1982 EP 'Human Conflict Number 5'.
In 1983 they released their debut album, 'Secrets of the I Ching'. The album was very well received among critics and even the legendary John Peel took a shine to the band. 'My Mother the War' (first UK TV performance) had some success on the Indie Chart as a result of airplay and touring in the UK.
The band got a real break in 1984 when they signed to Elektra Records and released 'The Wishing Chair'. The album included the most excellent 'Scorpio Rising'.

But it would be the follow-up, 'In My Tribe' that would gain for them the success they richly deserved.

The album, produced by Peter Asher, would contain many songs that would become fan favourites. My own choices from this album would be 'What's the Matter Here', 'Hey Jack Kerouac', 'Like the Weather', 'Don't Talk', 'City of Angels' and 'Verdi Cries'.

'Blind Man's Zoo' would follow in 1989 and became their most successful album chartwise reaching #13 in the USA and #18 in the UK. The album is loaded with so many great songs that it's hard to spotlight anyone of them. It's still one of my favourite albums of theirs.

The final studio album that Natalie Merchant appeared on with 10,000 Maniacs is the brilliant 'Our Time In Eden'.
'These Are Days', 'Candy Everybody Wants', and 'Few and Far Between' were the single releases. The other standout tracks for me are 'Stockton Gala Days', 'Jezebel', and 'Tolerance'.
One of the strange things about this album is that playing viola and providing backing vocals was Natalie's replacement Mary Ramsey. Merchant had already indicated to fellow band members in 1991 that she would be departing once she had completed recording on the 'Our Time in Eden' album, but it didn't become public knowledge until 1993.

One of the final acts to perform before leaving the band would the the MTV Unplugged show in April 1993 and the album would be released in October 1993 and it's a fine testament to just how good live they were.

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