8 September 1960, Richmond, Virginia, USA. Having begun performing with the punk-inspired Young Snakes, Aimee Mann achieved recognition during the mid-80s as the lead vocalist of the critically acclaimed Til Tuesday. Frustrated with the industry trying to push a more mainstream approach - and suggesting that writers outside the band should contribute material - Mann left for a solo career in 1990. Produced by then boyfriend Jon Brion and released in 1993, Whatever was a remarkable set, drawing rave reviews and the generous plaudits of Elvis Costello, with whom she had previously collaborated on the Til Tuesday track, The Other End (Of The Telescope). A literate and skilled composer, Mann attacked the corporate music business on Ive Had It and detailed estrangement and heartbreak on I Shouldve Known and I Know Theres A Word (allegedly concerning her former relationship with Jules Shear). Former Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn was persuaded to contribute distinctive 12-string backing on a set reviving pops traditions of melody and chorus, while placing them in an unquestionably contemporary context.
Imago Records fell apart after Whatever appeared, and after a lengthy battle with the label Mann signed to Geffen Records. 1995s Im With Stupid still appeared to carry emotional baggage from the Shear relationship, although musically the album was a more mellow and relaxed affair. In 1998, Mann married songwriter Michael Penn, made a walk-on appearance in the Coen brothers movie The Big Lebowski, and completed the recording of her new album. When Geffen was swallowed up by Interscope, Mann started being pressurised by her new bosses to make the album more commercial. She escaped the corporate clutches of the new Universal empire by buying back the rights to her album and gaining a release from her contract. In 1999, she released the limited edition Bachelor No. 2 EP, a taster for the following years album of the same name. Nine of her new songs also featured heavily on the soundtrack to Paul Thomas Andersons Magnolia.
Freed from the constraints of a major label, Mann forged ahead with her second album of the new millennium. Opening with the glorious pop rush of Humpty Dumpty, Lost In Space was another collection of supremely well-crafted adult pop. The artists next release, The Forgotten Arm, revolved around the concept of two lovers on the run and took its unusual title from an obscure boxing term.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.