"All I Wanna Do" is one of the most unlikely breakout songs ever released. A pop confection on an album full of earnest roots rockers, it was also an outlier among the grunge and hip-hop that dominated cultural discourse during the first half of the 1990s. Were it not for a series of quirks of fate involving a used bookstore, an obscure poet, and an informal group of Los Angeles musicians who called themselves the Tuesday Music Club, "All I Wanna Do" might not even have seen the light of day. The song’s climb to the top of the charts was all but impossible, yet it made Sheryl Crow a star. Read more…
Around 1990, producer Bill Bottrell built a studio in what was then a less-than-desirable area of Pasadena, CA called Toad Hall. This setting hosted a weekly group of musicians called the "Tuesday Night Music Club" which birthed the title of Sheryl Crow's debut album.
Sheryl's boyfriend at the time, multi-instrumentalist, Kevin Gilbert, introduced her to this scene, and the group of musicians who collaborated to write and record music suiting her talents.
As the legend goes, Bottrell had stocked the studio shelves with books from a local store. This not only helped with sound diffusion in a rather cavernous room, but one book of poetry in particular also helped to inspire one of the most successful songs of the 1990's. Within the book "The Country of Here Below," by Wyn Cooper, Sheryl (or Bottrell depending on who tells the story) came across the poem "Fun." Sheryl and co. then penned lyrics based on the prose for the hit song "All I Wanna Do."
That this melancholy poem, starring two down and out day-drinkers, would spark one of the most cheerful and successful songs of all time is the kind of story often found in the music business. Also on brand in that industry is the resulting lawsuits and bad-blood that came following the success of the song. Although it is said that Cooper made good money from the publishing credit he received, there was an ugly battle regarding how much he really deserved. In addition, Bill Ripley, the real-life character at the bar in the poem whom Cooper quoted as saying "All I want is to have a little fun before I die," unsuccessfully sued for his own writing credit.
Nevertheless, this song helped to launch the career of Sheryl Crow, a talented performer who finally broke out of her role as backing vocalist for other artists.