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Ryan’s “Throwback Thursday” Band of the Week – Sugar Ray [VIDEO]

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You love their catchy, laid-back, summer anthems like, “Fly”, “Every Morning”, and “When It’s Over”, but did you know Sugar Ray didn’t always crank out such radio-friendly fare?

Before becoming Top 40 radio darlings in the late ’90’s after “Fly” became a massive breakout hit and helped sell two million copies of their album, Floored, Sugar Ray were a Southern California band fusing together elements of hard rock, punk rock, heavy metal, and funk.

Like the rest of the world, “Fly” was my first introduction to the band as the song was in heavy rotation at USI’s radio station, AM820, when I started there in the summer of ’97. It was also through that college radio experience I discovered their first album, 1995’s Lemonade and Brownies (featuring one of the hottest album covers ever, in my opinion), which showcased Ray’s originally heavier sound with songs like “Iron Mic”, and “Mean Machine.”

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As the band matured, their sound took on the friendlier sound the general public is more familiar with. Songs like, “Someday”, and “Every Morning” became instant hits for the band with easy-to-sing-a-long-with lyrics, and infectious chorus’ that stick in your head for days. I will assume the amount of money they made as a result of the success of “Fly” more than likely influenced the shift in their sound as well.

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2009’s Music for Cougars, was the last album released by the band, and from the sound of things, it may be the last time the original members ever release an album together again as original members Murphy Karges and Stan Frazier sued lead singer, and token eye candy, Mark McGrath along with guitarist Rodney Sheppard, in October of 2013 claiming the two renegotiated band contracts that led to Karges and Frazier losing a major share of their income from royalties.

Fun Facts: 

  • Mark McGrath showed he is a virtual encyclopedia of pop culture and music knowledge during his run on VH1’s short-lived Rock ‘N’ Roll Jeopardy back in 1998.
  • McGrath is also a proud metalhead.
  • McGrath and Sheppard continue to tour as Sugar Ray and will once again headline the annual “Under the Sun” tour. A tour McGrath founded that brings together some of the biggest bands of the ’90’s. This year’s event will also feature Uncle Kracker, Smash Mouth, and Blues Traveler.

Check Out My Other Throwback Thursday Bands

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