Our top ten 4 Non Blondes songs list presents the music of an American band best known for its hit “What’s Up.” The band was formed in 1989 with its original lineup consisting of females only including singer Linda Perry, drummer Wanda Day, bassist Christa Hillhouse, and guitarist Shaunna Hall. 4 Non Blondes were among the most noteworthy bands that helped push the limits of alternative rock genre in the early ‘90s. Unfortunately, the band split following the departure of vocalist Linda Perry who later launched her solo career in 1995.
4 Non Blondes’ Breakthrough and Album Releases
After its formation, the band also impressed a number of major record labels eventually signing a record label with Interscope Records. Other artists who have been associated with Interscope Records at some point include B.B. King, Drive Like Jehu, No Doubt, Elliott Smith, and Fergie. 4 Non Blondes later to issued their only studio album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! through the record label in October 1992.
Bigger, Better, Faster, More! saw 4 Non Blondes explore the blend of alternative rock and hard rock influences. David Tickle, a renowned producer distinguished for his phenomenal work with U2, Toni Childs, and Blondie was tasked with production of this album. Bigger, Better, Faster, More! is home to the best 4 Non Blondes songs including “What’s Up?” “Spaceman,” “Dear Mr. President,” and “Superfly.”
There were several lineup changes that happened during the album’s pre-production phase including the dismissal of drummer Wanda Day who was replaced by Dawn Richardson. While Shaunna features on some songs on the LP, the band recruited other guitarists for this record including Louis Metoyer and Roger Rocha. Bigger, Better, Faster, More! was a mainstream and commercial success in the US and beyond.
In the US, the album topped the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart peaking at number thirteen on the Billboard 200. Bigger, Better, Faster, More! topped the Album Charts in almost ten nations including Germany, Sweden, and Norway. The album made it to the fourth spot on the Albums Chart in the UK. Bigger, Better, Faster, More! was platinum-certified in the US and gold-certified in the UK, selling over six million copies globally.
4 Non Blondes’ Other Musical Pursuits and Legacy
Despite their groundbreaking entry into the music scene, 4 Non Blondes never issued any more records after Bigger, Better, Faster, More! However, the band issued several songs (mostly covers) for a number of soundtracks. The band has covered several songs by Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and The Carpenters.
Lead vocalist Linda Perry proceeded to launch a solo career working with other artists including Pink, Courtney Love, Alicia Keys, and Gwen Stefani among others. While 4 Non Blondes have been seen as a one-hit wonder, there is more to dig for from the band’s platinum record, covers, and soundtrack contributions. Here we present the ten best 4 Non Blondes songs of all time.
#10- Calling All the People
Introducing us to the all-time best 4 Non Blondes songs list is “Calling All the People.” The song serves as the eighth track on the band’s album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! “Calling All the People” had its lyrics penned by the band’s original lineup—The song serves as a perfect exhibition of the lyrical prowess of the band members. Additionally, “Calling All the People” introduces us to the vocal dexterity of the band’s lead vocalist Linda Perry, who would later go on to start her solo music career.
#9- Misty Mountain Hop
Atlantic Records was once home to one of the greatest bands to have ever graced the rock and roll scene, Led Zeppelin. After issuing five albums (all earning multi-platinum certifications) through the record the band launched Swans Song Records, the vessel it would use for its future musical voyage. However, Led Zeppelin disbanded after the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980.
Fifteen years later after the disbandment of Led Zeppelin, Atlantic Records proceeded to release Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin. The album saw several artists/bands record covers of a number of the greatest songs by Led Zeppelin. 4 Non Blondes opened the tribute album with their cover of the song “Misty Mountain Hop.”
Passion and raw talent ooze from 4 Non Blondes’ performance of this song—Probably one of the most underrated cover songs. 4 Non Blondes’ cover version of “Misty Mountain Hop” became a mainstream success in Australia rising to the seventy-eighth spot on the ARIA Songs Chart. Other artists featured on Encomium include Sheryl Crow, Never the Bride, Stone Temple Pilots, Blind Melon, and Duran Duran.
At number eight on our best 4 Non Blondes songs list is “Drifting.” The song serves as the tenth track off the band’s album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! “Drifting” had its lyrics penned by lead vocalist Linda Perry. This song is yet another impressive exhibition of Linda’s vocal abilities. We cannot forget the contribution of cellist Suzie Katayama to this song. Suzie has also played with other artists including Prince and The Revolution, Louie Louie, James Ingram, Belinda Carlisle, David Benoit, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
#7- Morphine & Chocolate
“Morphine & Chocolate” is yet another impressive hit off the band’s album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! This song is delivered in a slow tempo that helps exemplify Linda’s impressive vocal range. “Morphine & Chocolate” also features great instrumentation from the rest of the band members. Linda Perry took the center stage in the songwriting process in most of the band’s releases.
However, there is a change of guard on “Morphine & Chocolate”. The song was solely penned by guitarist Shaunna Hall. “Morphine & Chocolate” saw the band seek the services of Dave Ricketts. Dave has played with other artists including Olivia Newton-John, Meredith Brooks, Toni Childs, and Sheryl Crow.
At the sixth spot on our all-time best 4 Non Blondes songs list is the tremendous hit “Train.” The song serves as the album’s opening track to the band’s studio album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! “Train” had its lyrics penned by the band’s lead vocalist Linda Perry. The song features some impressive harmonica tunes delivered by Judy Rudin. Rudin has also played with Rick Blessing and The Kids of Widney High.
#5- Pleasantly Blue
“Pleasantly Blu” is one of the fan-favorite tracks by 4 Non Blondes. This song is listed fourth on the band’s album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! “Pleasantly Blue” is a song written by the band’s lead singer Linda Perry—The lyrics to the song are a tad bit tempestuous adding to the song’s melancholic feel. Without a doubt, Linda Perry’s vocals are outstanding, crowning her as the focal point of 4 Non Blondes’ musicianship.
However, there’s more than just great vocals by Linda in this song! The singer goes on to deliver one of her best performances on the acoustic guitar. “Pleasantly Blue” sampled the hook/riff of the hit “The Jean Genie” by David Bowie.
“Superfly” is yet another impressive hit by 4 Non Blondes from Bigger, Better, Faster, Mine! The song was among the final releases by the band (issued in March 1994). “Superfly” finds 4 Non Blondes exploring some hard rock sound influences as felt with both the song’s instrumentation and Linda’s vocals.
This song is among the few releases by the band to feature an accompanying music video. “Superfly” had its lyrics penned by Linda in collaboration with Katrina Sirdofsky. Katrina is best known for her early affiliations with the glam metal band Vain, Christina Aguilera, Lizzie West, and Death Angel.
#3- Dear Mr. President
After some while solidifying their ground through multiple live performances, members of 4 Non Blondes hit the studio to record their debut single “Dear Mr. President.” The song would later make it to the band’s album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! “Dear Mr. President” was penned by the band’s lead vocalist Linda Perry. The song’s lyrics were heavily misinterpreted by most listeners.
Bassist Christa Hillhouse would come to the band’s defense revealing that despite the song being issued when George Bush was president, its lyrics were not really about him. However, Christa noted that the song’s lyrics alluded to the American problems and the feeling that someone in government is responsible.
The bassist noted that “Dear Mr. President” was aimed at the hierarchy of power and government in the US (but not an assault on George Bush). “Dear Mr. President” earned the band some reputation in the UK—The song would eventually become a hit in New Zealand where it peaked at number forty on the official music chart. Pink would later in 2006 issue a song with a similar title (albeit with different lyrics).
“Spaceman” was issued as the third single off the band’s album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! This song is the second most successful release by 4 Non Blondes on the mainstream. “Spaceman” was penned by Linda Perry in collaboration with guitarist Shaunna Hall (who plays additional guitars on the song). The song features additional musicians Suzie Katayama on the accordion and Rory Kaplan on the mellotron.
Rory has also played with Belinda Carlisle, The Crusaders, Natalie Cole, Edgar Winter, and Yellowjackets. The song was a minor radio hit—It also performed fairly well in the mainstream peaking at number fifty-three on UK Singles Chart. The song made it to the seventeenth spot on the Billboard Under Hot 100 Chart. “Spaceman” also made it to the ARIA Singles Chart peaking at number eighty-five.
#1- What’s Up?
Number one on our ten best 4 Non Blondes songs list is “What’s Up?” The song was issued as the second single of the band’s 1992 album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! “What’s Up?” was penned by Linda Perry who would later pen lyrics for songs by reputable artists including Pink and Christina Aguilera. Notably, the song’s title features nowhere in the song’s lyrics.
This move was engineered to avoid confusion of this hit with the 1971 hit “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. “What’s Up?” was a mainstream success peaking at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart. “What’s Up?” topped the charts in a few nations including Norway, Germany, and Denmark among others.
The song also earned platinum certification in a number of nations including the UK. “What’s Up?” settled for a gold certification in the US selling over seven hundred thousand copies. The song was sampled in the hit “Put Your Hearts Up” by Ariana Grande.
4 Non Blondes Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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