All of us at Beacon Street Online would like to wish and congratulate No Doubt on the 15th anniversary of their fifth album Rock Steady which was released on this day in 2001.
The band had so much fun while making Rock Steady and the album was notably written and recorded all over the world from Los Angeles to London to Jamaica. No Doubt also reached out and collaborated for the first time with influential artists and producers including Prince, Sly & Robbie, The Neptunes, William Orbit, Dave Stewart and Ric Ocasek.
During a discussion over dinner in late 2000, the band members decided they wanted to explore dancehall-style rhythms for their next album. No Doubt began work on the album in January 2001 by creating beats on Pro Tools at guitarist Tom’s apartment. The group often tried recreating beats from other song files on the computer, which resulted in modified versions of the original rhythms. They worked with producer Philip Steir at Toast Studios in San Francisco during this time, where the beginnings of “Hey Baby” emerged. Many of the demos recorded during these early sessions were used in the final tracks, rather than completely reworking the songs.
No Doubt shared footage of them recording Rock Steady on their official website prior to the album’s release titled The Jamaican Sessions.
Gwen then headed to London shortly after and the whole band ended up joining her to finish recording “Detective”. No Doubt then teamed with Eurythmics member Dave Stewart and wrote what would become a Grammy winning song for the band, “Underneath It All”, in ten minutes. Then they were then off to Jamaica and worked with producers and toasters on “Hey Baby”, “Underneath It All” and “Start The Fire”. No Doubt returned to Los Angeles to work with hip-hop producers Timbaland and Dr. Dre on two songs that didn’t make the final cut, “It’s A Fight” and “Wicked Day”. Though the band only worked with The Car’s Ric Ocasek on two tracks, “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Platinum Blonde Life”, Gwen says that she wanted to work more with him. Once the final songs were chosen for Rock Steady, the band was off to London to mix the album with Mark ‘Spike’ Stent.
“Waiting Room”, which was co-written with Prince, was actually written during the Return of Saturn sessions.
Rock Steady peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart and the album spawned many fan favorites and successful hits for the band including “Hey Baby”, “Hella Good”, “Underneath It All” and “Running”. Rock Steady has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and earned No Doubt two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (both for “Hey Baby” and “Underneath It All”.)
The “Hey Baby” single was the first from Rock Steady and was released on October 29, 2001. The song was chosen by the band first because of it’s “upbeat and confident” sound to represent the album. “Hey Baby” debuted at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for close to six months. The track was also a huge success around the world hitting the Top 10 in multiple countries, even debuting at #2 on the UK singles chart. No Doubt won their very first Grammy Award for “Hey Baby” in 2003 winning Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The Neptunes’ produced “Hella Good” was released as the second single in April 2002 and was nominated as well for a Grammy Award the following year for Best Dance Recording with a remix version by Roger Sanchez taking home the award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. “Hella Good” remains one of the band’s most recognizable songs to-date with that infectious drum opening which helped make the song a staple during tours, including Gwen’s most recent This Is What the Truth Feels Like solo tour in this past summer.
No Doubt’s third and most domestically successful single, “Underneath It All”, was released in the summer of 2002 and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was complimented by a creative and colorful music video directed by Sophie Muller that highlighted many looks of Gwen. Like the previous two singles, “Underneath It All” has a permanent spot on future tours and has become such an iconic song in the band’s catalog.
“Running”, the final single from Rock Steady, was released on July 1, 2003. The touching video made the single even more special for fans that featured never-before-seen photos and footage spanning the band’s history that was used later during the Rock Steady tour. No Doubt performed “Running” in a special acoustic setting for A Home for the Holidays, a telethon that raised money for A Family and Me.
After embarking on a small theater/club tour in early 2002 hosted by TRL, the band set out on a successful world tour supporting Rock Steady that brought them to cities that they hadn’t visited since the Tragic Kingdom era. No Doubt documented and recorded two shows while in Long Beach, California over November 22-23, 2002. The band released their Rock Steady Live on DVD the following year as well as the limited-edition Boom Box boxset.
The Rock Steady era was incredibly successful for No Doubt and they still speak fondly of those years together as a band. Many highlights and honors came for No Doubt including Adrian and Nina’s first child, Gwen’s marriage and the band being honored with the Key to the City of Anaheim, California in November 2002. No Doubt also were given the honor shortly after of performing at Super Bowl XXXVII and took home their first Grammy Awards for both “Hey Baby” and “Underneath It All.” No Doubt also collaborated with different artists and producers for the first time and the risks paid off.
We’re extremely proud of No Doubt and the work they put into Rock Steady now 15 years later!