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Call it a sensation, a phenomenon, a juggernaut. Three brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, firmly implanted "MMMBop" into global cultural consciousness. Since then, they've traveled the world, appeared on countless TV shows and magazine covers, documented their signature brand of pop-rock on the multi-platinum home video "Tulsa, Tokyo and the Middle of Nowhere" and racked up more than 12 million in album sales (for their major label debut "Middle of Nowhere" and "Snowed In," the holiday collection they miraculously found time to make). They are Isaac, Taylor and Zachary - you know, Hanson - and their appearance on the scene sparked a movement of positivity and pure fun as infectious as their music.
With each consecutive concert performance, Hanson amassed more fans - case in point: an audience of more than 20,000 in an Australian parking lot. Yet Hanson's cred and chops have impressed plenty of movers and shakers: they notched #1 on the prestigious Village Voice Jazz & Pop Poll, scored rave reviews across the board, from Spin and Rolling Stone to The New York Times, earned the respect of their industry with three Grammy nominations and drew Oscar-nominated film director Gus Van Sant, fresh from Good Will Hunting, to helm the video for their third single "Weird".
As Hanson take stock of what they've
accomplished and begin planning for the future, the time is right to
go back to their roots. Hence, "3
Car Garage: The Independent Recordings '95-'96", which culls
material from MMMBop, one of the two independent albums Hanson
made prior to their Mercury Records contract. The idea to re-release
this music came as a way to satisfy millions of Hanson fans
clamoring for the out-of-print album. But "3
Car Garage" also serves to underscore the musicianship,
songwriting flair, and determination that has always driven the
The 11 tracks - all self-produced, original Hanson compositions - were recorded in Hanson's hometown of Tulsa, and have all the raw charm you'd expect from a home recording played on thrift-store gear. In addition to early versions of "MMMBop," "Thinking of You" and "With You in Your Dreams," re-recorded for "Middle of Nowhere," there are a number of timeless-youthful tunes like "River" and "Day Has Come" featuring Isaac on lead vocals.
Yet the greenhorn appeal gets balanced from the brothers' innate gift for crafting melody and that signature flair for harmony they began to tap into when they first discovered music. That was in 1990, when their father's career in the oil industry took the family to South America, where the boys binged on Time-Life rock 'n' roll-era records from the '50s and '60s. "When everybody else was listening to MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, we were into Bill Haley and Carl Perkins," says Taylor. Back in the States, they went from impromptu a cappella performances to teaching themselves instruments (in case you didn't know, Isaac's the guitarist, Taylor handles keyboards and Zac plays drums) while collaborating on their own tunes.
Hanson's first professional appearance at a Tulsa music festival in 1992 coincided with the height of grunge - obviously, their blissed-out uplifting music wasn't the flavor of the week. Still, the young group persevered, performing as often as possible - not out of stardom fantasies but a pure love of playing. Local listeners kept coming back; a few brave souls in the music business started believing. . .and the rest, pretty much, is recent history.
Despite the millions of sales, fans, frequent flier miles and far-flung offers that are Hanson's here-and-now present, they remain humble. "You think, 'I don't deserve this in the slightest,'" says Isaac. "We just make music." When it comes to what's ahead, Hanson remain focused, but philosophical. "If fans say they don't like us anymore, that's just life," says Zac.
In this life, it's a safe bet that fans or no fans, Hanson will be making music. Even if they have to go back to the garage.
Hit songs include --
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