Sheryl Crow’s First Album Is an Unreleased Mystery Because She Refused to Debut It

Sheryl Crow is one of the world’s bestselling musical artists, a singer who effortlessly transcends genres. Crow has been a staple in the entertainment industry for well over two decades, and while she has made headlines many times for her romantic relationships with other high-profile people such as Lance Armstrong, Crow has always preferred to keep the focus on her music. Crow has released numerous popular albums over the past 25 years — but notably, she decided against releasing the very first album that she completed, for a very interesting reason. 

Sheryl Crow comes from a small town

Sheryl Crow wearing black and leaning against a wall.
Sheryl Crow | Neilson Barnard/EHBB15/Getty Images for Blackbird Productions

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Crow was born in 1962, in the small town of Kennett, Missouri. Raised in a working-class family, to a mother who taught piano lessons and a father who worked as both a lawyer and a trumpet player, Crow became interested in music from a very early age.

She got involved in athletics while in high school and went on to attend the University of Missouri, where she studied music composition, performance, and education. After Crow graduated from the University of Missouri, she worked for a time as a music teacher while trying to figure out her next career move.

She started to sing with local bands on the weekends to try to establish some connections to the music industry — and in the mid-’80s, she began to sing advertising jingles for television commercials. In 1987, Crow toured with the superstar Michael Jackson, singing backup for the artist on his Bad tour. 

Why did Sheryl Crow refuse to debut her first album?

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After Crow toured with Michael Jackson, she landed opportunities to work with other major stars such as Don Henley, Jimmy Buffett, and Stevie Wonder. She began to earn acclaim within the industry for her powerful voice and songwriting talent, and in 1990,

Crow embarked on the process of writing her own album. In 1992, Crow recorded the album, and set a release date for September of that year. 

However, Crow’s debut album was not meant to be. The artist ended up coming to an agreement with the record label, making a decision to not release it.

Crow later revealed that she thought the album was too highly-produced and “too slick,” making it not a good representation of her sound. Crow’s plans for musical success weren’t sidelined for long, however — her 1994 hit “All I Wanna Do” made her a star, earning Crow fans all around the world. 

How many albums has Sheryl Crow released?

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Even though Crow’s first album was not meant to be, she went on to record a total of 11 other albums, including the hit records Feels Like Home and Detours. She has recorded in several genres, primarily country and pop. Crow has received a slew of awards and honors during the course of her career, including nine Grammy Awards and over 30 nominations.

She has consistently received critical acclaim throughout her career for her soulful voice, political activism, and habit of remaining outspoken with her fans at all times. 

These days, Crow remains hard at work, writing songs and playing music, while lying low at her home in Nashville, Tennessee. She might not have had the easiest road to the top, but there’s no doubt that for Sheryl Crow, all the years of struggle have definitely paid off in a big way.