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10,000 Maniacs

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Biography

An acclaimed, multi-platinum selling American alternative rock outfit whose agreeable blend of jangle pop and folk-rock helped to define college rock scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, 10,000 Maniacs (named after the low-budget horror movie 2,000 Maniacs) were formed in Jamestown, New York, in 1981 by singer Natalie Merchant and guitarist John Lombardo. Other members of the sextet were Robert Buck (guitar), Steven Gustafson (bass), Dennis Drew (keyboards), and Jerry Augustyniak (drums). The group gigged extensively and recorded independently before signing with Elektra and making The Wishing Chair in 1985. Co-founder Lombardo left the band in 1986, and they continued as a quintet, releasing their second album, In My Tribe, in 1987. This album broke into the charts, where it stayed 77 weeks, peaking at number 37. Blind Man's Zoo, the 1989 follow-up, hit number 13 and went gold. After 1992's Our Time in Eden had finished its run on the charts, Merchant announced that she was leaving for a solo career. MTV Unplugged was released a few months after her departure. The remaining 10,000 Maniacs decided to continue performing, adding the folk-rock duo John & Mary (original member Lombardo and violinist/vocalist Mary Ramsey). The new lineup released Love Among the Ruins. Merchant released her first solo album, Tigerlily, in the summer of 1995 and a follow-up, Ophelia, in 1998. In 1999, the remaining Maniacs released The Earth Pressed Flat on Bar/None. Sadly, a year later lead guitarist and founding member Robert Buck, who co-wrote some of the band's classics like "Hey Jack Kerouac," "What's the Matter Here?," and "These Are Days," died of liver failure on December 19, 2000. He was 42. Following Buck's death, 10,0000 Maniacs took a year-long hiatus, reconvening in December 2001 to play a benefit concert with Jeff Erickson (now playing guitar). After this concert, Gustafson, Drew, and Augustyniak assembled a new lineup of 10,000 Maniacs featuring guitarist Erickson and vocalist Oskar Saville, who previously sang with Rubygrass. Over the next four years, this version of the Maniacs toured regularly -- their profile was raised somewhat in 2004 when Rhino released the career retrospective Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings -- and in 2006, Mary Ramsey began playing the occasional concert with the band. Saville left the band in 2007 and Ramsey returned to her role as frontwoman. 10,000 Maniacs remained a staple on the folk-rock circuit right into the new decade, and in 2011 they released their first new recording in a decade: an EP called Triangles, which appeared on their label, Ruby Wristwatch. That year, the group also played two 30th anniversary concerts in their hometown of Jamestown, New York, then set out to record a new album in 2012. The resulting Music from the Motion Picture -- the first new 10,000 Maniacs album in 14 years -- appeared in February 2013. Not long after its release, Bob Wachter (who had played drums with the group back in 1981 before Augustyniak joined on full-time basis) died at the age of 49. John Lombardo re-joined the band in 2014 as they were recording the album that became Twice Told Tales, a 2015 collection of British folk covers. The following year saw the band celebrating their 35th anniversary with the release of Playing Favorites, a collection of their best-known songs recorded live in Jamestown, New York. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   These Are Days
  3.   Because the Night
  4.   Trouble Me
  5.   Candy Everybody Wants
  6.   Hey Jack Kerouac
  7.   Peace Train
  8.   Like the Weather
  9.   Eden
  10.   Everyday Is Like Sunday
  11.   What's the Matter Here?
  12.   To Sir With Love
  13.   Don't Talk
  14.   Starman
  15.   Verdi Cries
  16.   My Mother the War
  17.   Tolerance
  18.   More Than This
  19.   A Campfire Song
  20.   Jezebel
  21.   Gold Rush Brides
  22.   How You've Grown
  23.   Hello in There
  24.   Tension
  25.   Live for the Time of Your Life
  26.   Poppy Selling Man
  27.   On & On (Mersey Song)
  28.   Arbor Day
  29.   Lilydale
  30.   I'm Not the Man
  31.   Noah's Dove
  32.   The Lion's Share
  33.   You Happy Puppet
  34.   The Big Parade
  35.   My Sister Rose
  36.   Gun Shy
  37.   The Painted Desert
  38.   Cherry Tree
  39.   I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You
  40.   Dust Bowl
  41.   Hateful Hate
  42.   Shining Light
  43.   Planned Obsolescence
  44.   Chautauqua Moon
  45.   Downhill
  46.   Tiny Arrows
  47.   Fine Line
  48.   Whippoorwill
  49.   Triangles
  50.   Gold
  51.   When We Walked on Clouds
  52.   I Don't Love You Too
  53.   Hidden in My Heart
  54.   Time Turns
  55.   In the Quiet Morning
  56.   Smallest Step
  57.   Beyond the Blue
  58.   Cabaret
  59.   Glow
  60.   Once a City
  61.   Ellen
  62.   The Earth Pressed Flat
  63.   Tension Makes a Tangle
  64.   Everyone a Puzzle Lover
  65.   Among the Americans
  66.   The Colonial Wing
  67.   Scorpio Rising
  68.   Can't Ignore the Train
  69.   Across the Fields
  70.   Girl on a Train
  71.   Love Among the Ruins
  72.   Rainy Day
  73.   Pit Viper
  74.   Daktari
  75.   National Education Week
  76.   Grey Victory
  77.   Poor de Chirico
  78.   Katrina's Fair
  79.   The Latin One
  80.   Stockton Gala Days
  81.   If You Intend
  82.   Poison in the Well
  83.   Headstrong
  84.   Eat for Two
  85.   City of Angels
  86.   Orange
  87.   Groove Dub
  88.   Anthem for Doomed Youth
  89.   Few and Far Between
  90.   Let the Mystery Be
  91.   You Won't Find Me There
  92.   A Room for Everything
  93.   Cotton Alley
  94.   Circle Dream
  95.   It's a Beautiful Life
  96.   Somebody's Heaven
  97.   Maddox Table
  98.   Back O' the Moon
  99.   Just as the Tide Was a Flowing
  100.   All That Never Happens
  101.   Big Star
  102.   Green Children
  103.   Please Forgive Us
  104.   Jubilee
  105.   Wildwood Flower
  106.   Death of Manolete
  107.   Even With My Eyes Closed
  108.   Who Knows Where the Time Goes?
  109.   Rainbows
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