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Sheryl Crow Debuts All Over Again

Sheryl Crow performs at the Children Mending Hearts Gala in Hollywood on Feb. 18, 2009. (Getty Images)

Sheryl Crow crashed onto the music scene in 1993 with her debut CD, Tuesday Night Music Club. By the next summer it had gone viral, and in 1995 it won three Grammy awards. Now the album has been re-released as a deluxe edition, and Crow looks back on her career with host Scott Simon.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

In the summer of 1994, Sheryl Crow crashed onto the American music scene.

(Soundbite of song, �All I Wanna Do�)

Ms. SHERYL CROW (Singer-Songwriter): (Singing) All I wanna do is have some fun. I got a feeling I'm not the only one. All I wanna do�

SIMON: Well, everything changed after that for a woman who used to be an elementary school music teacher, for the audience, and a lot of other female artists. Sheryl Crow comes from a musical family. She sang backup vocals with Michael Jackson, Don Henley, Rod Stewart. Then in 1993, came �Tuesday Night Music Club,� her debut CD. By the next summer, it had gone viral. In 1995, it won three Grammy awards.

�Tuesday Night Music Club� has now been re-released as a deluxe edition. The original songs are accompanied by outtakes and rarities, plus documentary footage from the �Tuesday Night Music Club� tour. Sheryl Crow joins us from the studios of member station WNYC in New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

Ms. CROW: My pleasure.

SIMON: That song became a kind of anthem, didn't it?

Ms. CROW: It did. You know, and it was a funny story. That was the last pick of the record. We sequenced the record and, you know, tried to build a story there, a beginning, a middle and an end, and could not figure out where that song could possibly fit. And it was really at the last minute that that song made it into the playlist of that album and ultimately, became the biggest hit. So you never know.

SIMON: You were an elementary school music teacher?

Ms. CROW: I was.

SIMON: This was in Kennett?

Ms. CROW: Way back when music existed in the school district. I was in the St. Louis school district.

SIMON: Now, first, I've got to ask - does it ever�

Ms. CROW: Mm-hmm.

SIMON: Does it ever happen that somebody comes up to you and says...

Ms. CROW: Oh, yes. In fact, when I - I guess maybe - probably the third or fourth year of touring, went through St. Louis and had a group of kids who kept yelling Kellison, Kellison, and I thought they were yelling Alison, while I was playing. And I finally said, I don't - maybe that's - I don't play Alison. I love the song, but I don't play it. Elvis Costello. And they were yelling Kellison, which was the elementary that I'd taught at. They came backstage...

SIMON: Oh.

Ms. CROW: And they were all, you know, they were old enough to be married and have their own kids. And I remember them, it's - you know, it was a very important time, and I loved being a school teacher.

SIMON: Let's listen to �Can't Cry Anymore.�

(Soundbite of song, �Can't Cry Anymore�)

Ms. CROW: (Singing) Took your car, drove to Texas. Sorry, honey, but I suspected we were through. And I can't cry anymore. Since I left, been feelin' better, 'cause that's what you get when you stay together too long. And I can't cry anymore. Wouldn't it be good if we could hop a flight to anywhere, well, so long to this life, so much for pretending. Bad luck's never ending, and now I know that. Money comes in, but the fact is�

SIMON: What it's like for you to hear that song now?

Ms. CROW: Oh, you know, it sounds kind of hokey, but my heart just fills up. It was such a special time and it is - I think it's of my - of all my albums, the most unique album in that it really does capture a time and a place. And it captures the essence of who I was at that time. I was very raw around the edges and was hanging out late night in bars, and smoking and drinking and conspiracy theorizing with all these guys that I was very close to. And you know, it was of a time.

SIMON: How you doing now?

Ms. CROW: I am so great. I am - you know, I've entered a really beautiful, serene phase of my life. Unfortunately, you get - you let go of sort of that us against them. And some of your edge goes away, which I think - we've watched a lot of our young, fiery artists become adults and we go well, they don't write the great stuff anymore. But there is just something wonderful about getting older, you know? There is something wonderful about living in the gray instead of the black and white.

SIMON: You've had some health problems as, I suppose, most everybody knows. And you're...

Ms. CROW: Yeah, I had breast cancer in 2006. I am - knock on whatever this particular desk is made of�

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Probably not wood, yeah.

Ms. CROW: It's Formica, I think.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: OK. That'll work, too, though.

Ms. CROW: That works.

SIMON: And you're doing fine.

Ms. CROW: I'm doing great, yes.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: There's a second CD along with the reissue of the original album, with rarities, outtakes. And let's listen to one of these, if we could: �Coffee Shop� on disc number two, number one.

(Soundbite of song, �Coffee Shop�)

Ms. CROW: (Singing) I never meant this long to stay, I moved here, seems like yesterday, it feels like that in a coffee shop. I live upstairs with three other girls, and it's not free, babysitters all are we, they did not hear me down here. I'm singing, screaming loud and clear, free refills for everyone, hang out long enough, and I will be someone�

SIMON: You know, you listen to most outtakes and you're reminded why they are outtakes.

Ms. CROW: Mm-hmm.

SIMON: But that's great.

Ms. CROW: Oh, that's so nice. I had a funny conversation with my manager, who -this was kind of his baby. He really worked hard on putting this all together. And I said, I just don't think I can go back and listen to some of that stuff because it's going to remind me of why it didn't make it on the record. And there is some stuff on here that really - I listen to it and go, oh, that's actually really good. You know, it improved with time.

SIMON: You have a son now, right?

Ms. CROW: I do, a 2-and-a half-year-old.

SIMON: So I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to get you to talk about him for a minute or so?

Ms. CROW: Well, he is fantastic in every way.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: I suspected as much.

Ms. CROW: It's a lot of fun, you know. He is newly potty trained, and that's a whole new�

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CROW: �adventure, and he is - really in the last couple of months, has really started talking a lot. And it's gotten really fun. I see his little personality coming out and his sense of humor. And he's quite a ham, and I don't know where he gets that. But loves an audience, loves music, is always playing on something, and I fear he is going to want to be a musician.

SIMON: What's his favorite word right now; can you tell?

Ms. CROW: Mine.

SIMON: Oh, OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CROW: I always go around, there's a wonderful - in "Nemo," there's the flock of gulls that are always looking for fish and going mine, mine, mine. So I just follow him around the house going mine, mine, mine.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: I guess I've been saving this for last. Why re-release "The Tuesday Night Music Club� now, 16 years later?

Ms. CROW: Yeah. There's a real fondness with people who were the diehard, the early on fans, those people that started out with me when I was very unknown and have been tried and true all the way through. And also, it was the beginning, I think, for strong women singer-songwriters. And so there is an importance attached to this album that was really lost on me as I was out promoting my own music. And as we've come back to it, I've sort of gotten hip to the specialness of it.

SIMON: Ms. Crow, thanks so much.

Ms. CROW: Thank you.

SIMON: Sheryl Crow - her first album, �Tuesday Night Music Club,� has been re-released in a special deluxe edition.

(Soundbite of song, "Coffee Shop") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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