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Sugar Ray

Belying their origins as a raucous funk metal band, Sugar Ray created several of the most breezily infectious summer singles of the late '90s, hitting on an appealing combination of sunny pop, lightly funky hip-hop grooves, and reggae lilt. Pegged as likely one-hit wonders after their 1997 breakthrough smash "Fly," Sugar Ray managed to maintain their career momentum far longer than many observers expected, aided in no small part by the pinup-worthy looks of lead singer Mark McGrath. Of course, it also helped that the band was able to duplicate the carefree vibe and effortless catchiness of "Fly" on a string of subsequent singles, including "Someday" and "Every Morning." Not everything Sugar Ray recorded bore the sonic stamp of those songs, of course, but that was certainly the sound that transformed the band into a mainstream entity. Sugar Ray formed in Orange County, the heavily suburban area south of Los Angeles, in 1992. Guitarist Rodney Sheppard, bassist Murphy Karges, and drummer Stan Frazier had been playing parties together in a hard rock/heavy metal cover band, Shrinky Dinx, since the late '80s. Karges served as the touring bassist of L.A. punk veterans the Weirdos in 1990, although a story that Sheppard had once been a cast member on Land of the Lost was patently false. Friend Mark McGrath became the lead singer of Shrinky Dinx after jumping up on-stage to perform one night, and they soon began collaborating on original material. Shows in the L.A./San Diego area helped the band build a regional audience, and a friend of the group even financed a music video for one of their original tunes. The video wound up getting them a deal with Atlantic Records in 1994, albeit owing more to the band's visual presence and potential than the song itself. The threat of legal action by Milton Bradley, which owned the rights to the original Shrinky Dinks toy, forced the band to change its name to Sugar Ray (after boxer Sugar Ray Leonard). Around the same time, they began augmenting their live shows with the turntables of Craig Bullock, aka DJ Homicide, who later became an official member of the group. Sugar Ray released their debut album, Lemonade and Brownies, in the spring of 1995. Dominated by aggressive funk metal, with touches of punk and alternative rock, the record's typically roaring guitars and smart-ass humor seemed to position the band as a potential keg-party favorite. Commercially, however, the album stiffed. Atlantic decided to try again, based on the enthusiasm Sugar Ray generated on their lengthy supporting tour, and sent them into the studio with producer David Kahne (who, among many other credits, had recently masterminded Sublime's commercial breakthrough). The result, Floored, became double-platinum hit thanks to "Fly," a laid-back groove that was seemingly tailor-made for summertime. With help from reggae toaster Super Cat, "Fly" set new airplay records at modern-rock radio and reigned as one of the summer's most ubiquitous hits. The song didn't sound much like anything else in Sugar Ray's repertoire, however, and when Floored failed to produce a significant follow-up hit, many assumed that "Fly" was a fluke that the band would never be able to repeat. After partnerning with Kahne once again, Sugar Ray delivered their third album in early 1999. The title, 14:59, was a wry reference to Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame" dictum, but as it turned out, the group's time wasn't up by a long shot. 14:59 wound up outselling its predecessor, eventually going triple platinum. The first single, the "Fly"-like "Every Morning," shot to number three on the pop charts and became the group's second number one at modern-rock radio. The follow-up singles were successful this time as well, with the hit songs "Someday" and "Falls Apart" consolidated the group's growing reputation for summery, radio-friendly alternative pop. Plus, the album boasted a guest appearance from hip-hop legend KRS-One. The band played Woodstock '99 that summer and made a guest appearance on Run-D.M.C.'s Crown Royal album. In the spring of 2000, McGrath made his acting debut portraying a doctor on an episode of the acclaimed drama ER. Sugar Ray returned in the summer of 2001 with their self-titled fourth album, which entered the charts at number six and gave the band its first-ever Top Ten album; meanwhile, lead-off single "When It's Over" became another substantial hit in the familiar Sugar Ray mold. But in spite of reviews claiming that the band sounded more like a band than ever before, Sugar Ray's sales were ultimately disappointing. Hurt by the relatively lackluster performance of follow-up singles "Answer the Phone" and "Ours," the record failed to go platinum. In the Pursuit of Leisure and its single "Mr. Bartender (It's So Easy)" also underperformed and after the release of The Best of Sugar Ray in 2005, the band was dropped from Atlantic. In 2009 they returned with the single "Boardwalk" along with the album Music for Cougars, both released by the Pulse label. ~ Steve Huey
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Stations Featuring
Sugar Ray

    Patriotic Songs

    Patriotic Songs
    1 song

    Shuffle Hits

    Shuffle Hits
    3 songs

    '90s Alternative

    '90s Alternative
    2 songs

    Pop Holiday

    Pop Holiday
    1 song

    '90s Pop

    3 songs

    Lite Hits

    2 songs

Albums by
Sugar Ray

Top Songs by
Sugar Ray

  1.   Song
  2.   Every Morning
  3.   Little Saint Nick
  4.   Fly
  5.   Someday
  6.   When It's Over
  7.   Silver Bells
  8.   10 Seconds Down
  9.   Mean Machine
  10.   Abracadabra
  11.   Day 'N' Nite
  12.   Falls Apart
  13.   Time After Time
  14.   Under the Sun
  15.   Drive By
  16.   Bring Me the Head of...
  17.   Satellites
  18.   American Pig
  19.   Personal Space Invader
  20.   Rpm
  21.   Cash
  22.   Big Black Woman
  23.   Spinning Away
  24.   When We Were Young
  25.   She's Got the (Woo-Hoo)
  26.   Closer
  27.   Into Yesterday
  28.   Whatever We Are
  29.   Mr. Bartender (It's So Easy)
  30.   Chasin' You Around
  31.   Disasterpiece
  32.   Words to Me
  33.   Answer the Phone
  34.   Right Direction
  35.   Invisible
  36.   Stand and Deliver
  37.   High Anxiety
  38.   Speed Home California
  39.   Anyone
  40.   Breathe
  41.   Tap, Twist, Snap
  42.   New Direction
  43.   Burning Dog
  44.   Streaker
  45.   Snug Harbor
  46.   Rainbow
  47.   Morning Sun
  48.   Love Is the Answer
  49.   Love 101
  50.   Last Days
  51.   Going Nowhere
  52.   Girls Were Made to Love by Collie Buddz
  53.   Dance Like No One's Watchin'
  54.   Blues from a Gun
  55.   In Through the Doggie Door
  56.   56 Hope Road
  57.   Photograph of You
  58.   Is She Really Going Out With Him?
  59.   Stay On by Nick Hexum
  60.   Sorry Now
  61.   Even Though
  62.   Aim For Me
  63.   Live & Direct
  64.   Rivers
  65.   Caboose
  66.   Dance Party U.S.A.
  67.   The Greatest
  68.   Hold Your Eyes
  69.   Rhyme Stealer
  70.   Danzig Needs a Hug
  71.   Psychedelic Bee
  72.   Shot of Laughter
  73.   She's Different
  74.   Heaven
  75.   Ode to the Lonely Hearted
  76.   Scuzzboots
  77.   Iron Mic
  78.   Boardwalk
  79.   Can't Start
  80.   Just a Little
  81.   Ours
  82.   Waiting
  83.   Glory

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