Dido had already delivered a solid hit album with her solo debut, No Angel. The ethereal collection of songs quietly chugged toward platinum status (“Here With Me” becoming the theme to the TV show “Roswell” helped) more than a year after its June 1999 release.
The album finally cracked the Billboard 200 at #144 on May 21, 2000. Meanwhile, the one-time singer for trip-hop group Faithless toured as an opening act for the Barenaked Ladies and Sting, among others.
Then Eminem stepped in.
The X-rated rapper sampled Dido’s “Thank You” as the hook for “Stan” on his May 2000 Marshall Mathers LP. When “Stan” became a hit in late 2000, Eminem took Dido on the road and invited her to perform with him on “Saturday Night Live” in October.
Dido’s album subsequently soared, cracking the top 40 and finally reaching its peak in February, when it hit #4 after almost 10 months on the charts. The album is firmly lodged in the top 20 and has sold 3 million copies to date.
The road was even steeper for rap-rockers Crazy Town. Their debut, The Gift of Game, was released in November 1999 to little acclaim and scant attention. Two early singles, the metal-rap “Toxic” and the new-wave rocker “Darkside,” failed to break big on the radio. The group struggled with Shellshock’s drug relapses and room-trashing outbursts, which got them yanked from last summer’s OzzFest tour. It looked like their ride was over.
By cleaning up and toeing the line, however, Crazy Town got that rare third shot and hit a home run. Two years of touring with the likes of Buckcherry, Methods of Mayhem and the Red Hot Chili Peppers was about to pay off.
Their uncharacteristically poppy tune “Butterfly” became a smash radio hit, first breaking alternative radio’s top 10 in October 2000, then crossing over to top 40 and adult-alternative radio in December. Less than two months later, The Gift of Game sneaked onto the Billboard 200 chart at #9.
Not wanting to be pigeonholed as a pop group, band and label purposely released two harder-edged singles before hitting fans with “Butterfly.”
“We wanted to put out songs that represented us correctly,” said Shellshock of the risky strategy. “If we had just come out with ‘Butterfly,’ then who would really know what we’re all about? Before we let you see our sensitive side, you have to know our dark side. It’s better to be feared than taken for granted, right?”
But it was the “Butterfly” crossover that finally exposed the band, a scenario the manager of fellow slowpoke group Incubus argued is one of the few ways an unknown rock band such as Crazy Town can break wide open.