1 August 1958, New York, USA. The brother of actors Sean and Christopher Penn (the former the one-time husband of Madonna), Michael Penn achieved a mainstream breakthrough with his 1989 AOR debut for RCA Records, March. Extracted from it, the single No Myth reached the US Top 20 and established Penn as a commercial force, not least through the extensive airplay granted its accompanying video. However, his second effort, 1992s Free-For-All, betrayed an artist lacking direction.
Mann was then silent for half a decade before re-emerging in 1997 with a third album for a new label, Epic Records. The delay in relaunching his career was reportedly aggravated by a protracted dispute with former employers RCA and a change in his management. The resulting album saw Penn move away from the studio-based writing of his previous recordings, with the drum machines dropped in favour of a band-type situation. The musicians involved included Dan McCaroll (ex-Lloyd Cole) and keyboard player Patrick Warren. Two of the 11 songs on Resigned featured Tommy Coopers string arrangements, both displaying what many critics judged to be Beatlesque qualities. Meanwhile, his connections with the film industry led to him scoring music for the Paul Thomas Anderson features Hard Eight and Boogie Nights. Penn married singer-songwriter Aimee Mann in December 1997.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.