1997 was the year of the first Harry Potter book, Princess Diana’s death and Titanic, but for many young music fans around the world, Hanson made it their year to remember.
Hanson’s first major album, ‘Middle Of Nowhere’, was released in May 97 and gained them a huge audience, largely through the success of ‘MMMBop’, which was #1 in 27 countries.
From 97 through 98, Hanson toured with this album and earlier songs, before recording the self-penned major album #2, ‘This Time Around’, released in 2000.
At this time, Hanson’s label was going through a corporate merger, which disrupted album #3, ‘Underneath’; their persistence, passion and refusal to compromise led to its release on Hanson’s own label, 3CG Records, in 2004.
Since 97 Hanson have released 6 studio albums and toured tirelessly. They regularly perform at music festivals around the world and host their own festival, The Hop Jam, in Tulsa each May.
The character of this band is defined by a gutsy commitment to raw and rootsy music-making which draws from the heritage of 50s and 60s rock‘n’roll and tips its hat to the greats of the Oklahoma sound. And with that Hanson have built a reputation to envy, with New York’s Village Voice once describing them as “the finest straight up rock band in America”.
Hanson have connected closely with their fan base and earned a level of loyalty that has helped them survive corporate mergers, the fragility of independent music and changes in the way music is consumed.
Isaac Hanson recently acknowledged the dedication of their fans in a statement about the upcoming tour:
“This year is not only about the two decades of music, it’s about celebrating the incredible community of fans who have been with us, singing along year after year.”
The Hanson brothers began performing publicly 25 years ago and 20 years have passed since ‘MMMbop’ became an ear-worm to capture the passion of a generation. Today Hanson continue to enthral audiences with stunning live performances, which overdose on pure energy.
The media loves to talk about Hanson as the sunny, blonde sound of 97 but it often neglects their long journey of commitment to making music that is honest, creative and rooted in the soil of American soul, gospel and rock.
This weekend Hanson perform at SXSW, headlining the Tulsa Showcase and paying tribute to the Oklahoma legend, Leon Russell. Their visit comes exactly 23 years after their first appearance here singing a capela at a softball game.
So don’t believe a word if you hear they are making a comeback or having a reunion. They never went away. Hanson have been doing their day job with resilience and imagination while others have come and gone.
To quote a recent statement from Taylor Hanson:
“Making music together for 25 years is a milestone that we had to acknowledge, and what better way to do it than with an anniversary tour.”
The ‘Middle Of Everywhere Tour’ will feature their diverse sound from teens to thirty-somethings, referencing 6 albums and featuring the new song, ‘I Was Born’.
The ‘Middle Of Everywhere Tour’ starts in Europe on June 1st and travels across the USA in September and October. See here for tour details.
Check out this great interview with Hanson on Spin.com.
Hanson announced their tour with a video message:
They’ve also released a teaser video of their next song, ‘I Was Born’:
*Guest writer Chris Easom has been a fan of Hanson since 2000, and is one half of Mmmboptastic, a UK-based Hanson fan site.