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Collective Soul Biography

Formed in Stockbridge, Georgia, USA, Collective Soul earned their reputation with strong, hook-laden pop rock songs, the best example of which is ‘Shine’, which topped Billboard’s Rock Album Tracks poll in May 1994 and broke into the mainstream Top 20. The band’s history up to then, however, had been a tortuous one spanning more than a decade. Ed Roland (3 August 1963; vocals/keyboards/guitar) grew up in a strict family, with access to music and radio denied by his parents. Despite this, he left Stockbridge to study guitar at Boston’s Berklee College Of Music. When he ran out of money he returned to Stockbridge to work in a 24-track recording studio, where he taught himself production technique and formed the band Collective Soul. (The only surviving member of that version of the band to cross over to the new line-up was drummer Shane Evans.)

After years of rejection from major labels, Roland disbanded Collective Soul in 1992. A year later he was contacted after radio stations expressed interest in ‘Shine’. This led to a recording contract with Atlantic Records and together with his brother Dean Roland (guitar), Ross Childress (guitar), Will Turpin (bass) and Evans, Collective Soul were re-formed. Although the follow-up single ‘Breathe’ failed to replicate the success of ‘Shine’, the band’s debut album Hints, Allegations & Things Left Unsaid (now on Atlantic) was repackaged to become a million-seller by the year’s end.

The quintet began 1995 with ‘Gel’, the first single from their self-titled second album. With strong rotation play from MTV, it was also featured on the soundtrack of the cult movie Jerky Boys. Follow-up singles ‘December’, ‘Smashing Young Man’, ‘Where The River Flows’ and ‘The World I Know’ were mainstream rock hits, with ‘December’ and ‘The World I Know’ also breaking into the pop Top 20. In March 1995, Collective Soul embarked on a major tour supporting Van Halen. They took a break from touring to complete work on a third album, Disciplined Breakdown, which included the hits ‘Precious Declaration’, ‘Listen’ and ‘Blame’. 1999’s Dosage spawned the radio hits ‘Run’ and ‘Heavy’, but the following year’s Blender was a disastrous attempt to court the AOR market.

Collective Soul parted company with Atlantic in 2001 following the release of a greatest hits set. During the same period, lead guitarist Childress was replaced by his guitar technician Joel Koesche. The band re-emerged in 2004 on their own El Music Group label, touting their best album for several years, Youth.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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