Counting Crows has always been an important band to me. Their first album, August and Everything After, was also the first CD I ever owned. I was in eighth grade, and had just won a Sony Discman in a karaoke contest, back when portable CD players were still new enough for this to be a big deal. I borrowed the Counting Crows CD from a friend at school, and listened to it almost nightly. I wasn't the happiest kid in the world - hell, I'm still not the happiest kid in the world - and I felt like I could identify with the darker tracks like Raining in Baltimore and Perfect Blue Buildings. I still find those songs beautiful. I finally got my own copy for Christmas, and I have continued to enjoy that album to this day, although I no longer religiously listen to it.

I was thrilled when Recovering the Satellites came out in 1996. Of course my CD collection had grown by leaps and bounds since I got my hands on their first CD, but I had heard the single A Long December dozens of times on the radio, liked what I heard, and bought the new album with high hopes. I was a bit disappointed when I heard it, though. Their sound had definitely changed; not necessarily for worse, but it wasn't what I had fallen in love with. I really liked A Long December and the closing track, Walkaways, but the rest of the songs, while good, weren't really memorable.

I next encountered Counting Crows through the film Cruel Intentions. Adam Duritz composed Colorblind, a hauntingly beautiful piece, specifically for the movie, and I loved it. Colorblind ended up on their next album, This Desert Life, but I opted not to buy it. I had heard Hanginaround, a single from This Desert Life, on the radio, and I didn't really care much for it. Three years later, I finally decided to buy it. While at first I was underwhelmed by the album, it has definitely grown on me. "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" and "Amy Hit The Atmosphere" are great tracks.

Counting Crows released Hard Candy in July 2002. I bought it not too long after This Desert Life, and it's good, but not great. "Holiday in Spain" is beautiful, and I really dig their "Big Yellow Taxi" remake, but the rest of the record hasn't had time to grow on me. I do like it, but I doubt Counting Crows will ever be as big as they were when the "Round Here" and "Mr. Jones" singles were released.

The band's version of the "Counting Crows" poem is part of A Murder of One, the last track on August and Everything After. It is as follows:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy.
Three for girls, and
Four for boys.
Five for silver,
Six for gold.
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.

Current Band Members

David Bryson - Guitar
Adam Duritz - Vocals
Charles Gillingham - Keyboard
David Immergluck - Guitar
Matt Malley - Bass
Ben Mize - Drums
Dan Vickrey - Guitar

History

In 1989, Adam Duritz and David Bryson were introduced to each other by Daved Immergluck. Duritz and Bryson immediately began to write songs together. The two started performing together in coffeehouses and small clubs, and came up with the name Counting Crows, based on the poem in the above writeup.

In August of 1991, the duo recruited Matt Malley, Charles Gillingham, and Steve Bowman to record a demo and join them, performing at clubs in San Francisco. In February 1992, they got their first big break performing at a BMI New Music Showcase. Just two months later, they signed with DGC Records.

The band recorded August and Everything After during the fall of 1992 and winter of 1993. In August of '93, Dan Vickrey joined. The album, produced by T- Bone Burnett, was released September 14 of that year. Counting Crows toured in support of August and Everything After from late 1993 through June of 1994, performing on Saturday Night Live and opening for the Cranberries, Cracker and other groups. In summer of '94, the band went on its own toors, having Alan Duritz' favorites open up for them. They also joined the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge Tour as special guests in August of '93, and toured Europe in '94. Ben Mize replaced Steve Bowman as drummer shortly before the band went to Europe.

In May of 1995, the band started writing material for their next album. Throughout the winter of '95/'96, they recorded the album, Recovering the Satellites. It was produced by Gil Norton and released October 8, 1996 as a double album on vinyl. A week later, Recovering the Satellites was released on CD and casette, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200.

From November to December of 1996, Counting Crows toured the U.S. Cake and Fiona Apple were among the opening acts. In New York, Adam Duritz badly injured his knee, but the show went on and no performances were cancelled. They become the first band to appear on Late Show With David Letterman for two nights in a row. Throughout '97, Counting Crows toured Europe and the U.S. again, and performed for an episode of VH-1 Storytellers in August.

On July 14, 1998, the band released Across a Wire - Live in New York. During late 1998 and most of 1999, they recorded This Desert Life, choosing for the third time to do the whole thing in a Hollywood house while living there. The album was released November 2, 1999.

In January 2000 the band began to release a series of official bootlegs, By the time we got to woodstock in January and Faced the Promised Land in May. Beginning in July of that year they co-headlined with Live. On July 9, 2002, they released their latest album, Hard Candy, produced by David Lowery.

Discography

Studio Releases:
Hard Candy - 2002
This Desert Life - 1999
Recovering the Satellites - 1996
August and Everything After - 1993

Compilations:
Films About Ghosts: The Best Of Counting Crows - 2003

Live Releases:
Across A Wire - Live in New York City - 1998

Singles:
If I Could Give All My Love 2 - 2003
If I Could Give All My Love 1 - 2003
Big Yellow Taxi (US Radio Promo) - 2003
Big Yellow Taxi (UK 2) - 2003
Big Yellow Taxi (UK 1) - 2003
American Girls Pt. 2 - 2002
American Girls Pt. 1 - 2002
Mrs. Potter's Lullaby - 1999
Hangin' Around - 1999
Mr. Jones Live - 1998
Daylight Fading - 1997
A Long December - 1997
Angels of the Silences - 1996
Rain King (Australia) - 1995
Rain King (International) - 1994
Round Here - 1994
Mr. Jones - 1994

Some historical and release information was gathered from http://www.countingcrows.com.

While also the name of a band, 'Counting Crows' is the reference name of a nursery rhyme; it is also called a divination rhyme due to the fact that the number of crows seen is a premonition. This counting rhyme is believed to have originated from crow or magpie augry. There are many variations to this rhyme, due to different time periods and geographical locations. The older ones seem to have originated in Europe, and use magpies instead of crows, whereas the newer versions have originated in North America and use crows.

In old Europe, it was believed lucky to see a single magpie, as demonstrated in this nursery rhyme: Magpie, magpie, chatter and flee, Turn up thy tail, and good luck to me.

In addition, though, depending on the number of crows, magpies, or ravens in a murder (flock), something different was supposed to happen in your life or the lives around you. I was able to find seven significantly different versions of the 'Counting Crows' rhyme, and they are as follows:

One's lucky,
Two's unlucky,
Three is health,
Four is wealth,
Five is sickness
And six is death.


One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three's a wedding, four's a birth,
Five is Heaven, six is Hell,
Seven is the Devil himself.


One crow sorrow,
Two crows joy,
Three crows a letter,
Four crows a boy.


One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil's own sel'.


One for sorrow, two for joy,
Three for a girl, four for a boy,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told,
Eight for a wish, nine for a kiss,
And ten for a time of joyous bliss.


One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for birth,
Five for rich, six for poor,
Seven for a witch; I can tell you no more.


One for sadness, two for mirth,
Three for marriage, four for birth,
Five for laughing, six for crying,
Seven for sickness, eight for dying,
Nine for silver, ten for gold,
Eleven a secret that will never be told.


Each of these variation have origins from the 1800s and earlier. Silver and gold were still used as monetary units (real silver and gold); God and Satan were absolutes, and superstition abounded concerning the Devil: he would take your daughter, destroy your home, etc.; and being sick could easily mean death.

Granted, these rhymes are non-specific; however, this is what gave them their believability. For instance, if one were to see two crows (two for mirth), and went to the local tavern and heard a joke which made them laugh, then the premonition had come true.

The 'Counting Crows' rhymes aren't simply relegated to the past, though. In fact, they are still used as present-day artistic influences: The band Counting Crows derives their name from the rhyme; they also have a song from their first album, August and Everything After, concerning this rhyme, whose title is 'A Murder of One'. 'Counting Crows' was a recurring theme in Moonlight and Vines, written by Charles de Lint. His wife, Mary Anne Harris, wrote a song by the name of 'Crow Girls' centering around the theme of the counting rhyme. In addition, in the movie 'The Crow', you can hear young Sara chanting this rhyme in the background of one of the flashbacks.

While 'Counting Crows' is an old nursery rhyme, now aimed at young children, it is a wonderful example of how most things never really disappear, and how the past can influence the future.

Ornithomantic European crow augury by which future events are divined by the number of crows seen at a given time. The custom of counting crows led to the development of divinatory rhymes:

From The Folklore of Birds by Laura Martin:

One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil's own sel'.

From the Dictionary of Superstitions published by Oxford University Press:

One for sorrow,
two for mirth,
three for a wedding,
four for birth,
five for rich,
six for poor,
Seven for a witch,
I can tell you no more.

Q.station23 asks: "is this related to the English tradition of counting magpies? One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret, never to be told...

A.Yes. One possible explanation why it's crows rather than magpies now is that the crows are winning. They are legion - at least everywhere I've lived - but rare is the magpie. All the more reason why the magpie should have sustained its mystical significance, but humans are funny that way.


www.shades-of-night.com/aviary/rhyme.html

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