mixed Midwestern roots rock with elements of adult contemporary pop, fashioning a sound that earned critical acclaim during the '80s and commercial recognition during the following decade.
populated the rhythm section. Although based in Waukesha, Wisconsin,
began building an audience 20 miles east in Milwaukee, and their success in that town helped gain them a contract with Slash Records, with manufacturing and distribution handled by Warner Bros.
worked with T-Bone Burnett on their debut album, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams
, which appeared in 1986 to warm reviews. They recruited another big-name producer, Talking Head Jerry Harrison
, to helm 1987's Outside Looking In
, which found the band reduced to a trio after the departure of Hoffman
. Outside Looking In
broke into the Billboard Top 100, and the BoDeans
grew their audience by touring alongside U2
, appearing on Robbie Robertson
's self-titled solo album, and receiving the honor of Best New Band by Rolling Stone
magazine. By the time they released their third album, Home
, in 1989, keyboardist Michael Ramos
and drummer Danny Gayol
had joined. This lineup stayed intact for the release of 1991's Black and White
, but the BoDeans
went without a drummer once again on their next recording, Go Slow Down
Following the release of a double-disc live album, Joe Dirt Car
, the band returned in 1996 with Blend
. Around the time of Blend
's release, "Closer to Free" -- a song that had originally appeared on 1993's Go Slow Down
-- became a hit, due in large part to its exposure as the theme song for the TV show Party of Five
. "Closer to Free" eventually cracked the Top 20, becoming the most successful single of the band's career. The BoDeans
were arguably more popular than ever, but the band took a break during the late '90s, with both frontmen devoting time to their solo careers.
By 2004, the band had reconvened and signed with a new label, Zoe. Resolution
was released that year, followed in 2005 by Homebrewed: Live from the Pabst
left the group in 2006 and was replaced by Eric Holden
, who appeared on 2008's Still
. By this point, the bandmates had found a new home on 429 Records, and they remained with that label for the release of Mr. Sad Clown
in 2010 and Indigo Dreams in 2011, the latter of which saw the departure of Llanas
, citing "differences of opinion." The band's eleventh studio album, American Made, arrived the following year.