Bradley Nowell from Sublime died 25 years ago today: May 25, 1996. Let’s take a look at his musical legacy a quarter-century later.
Sublime's first release, a compilation of demos recorded from 1989-1991, was released on cassette by Skunk Records in 1991.
Sublime's debut single, originally released in 1991, didn't become a hit until radio picked up on it in 1995. It was then re-relased in EP form by Skunk Records.
The band's proper full-length debut came in June of 1992, again on Skunk Records (it would later be re-released by major-label MCA). To this day, it remains one of the highest-selling independent releases of all-time, selling over 2 million copies to date.
Sublime's experimental second album showed, among other things, that Nowell & Co. had a wicked sense of humor to go along with their chops and eclectic musical influences.
"Badfish" has quite a history in the Sublime discography: it originally shows up on their 1991 demo tape, then sees a proper single release in January of 1993 as part of '40 Oz. to Freedom' before being pushed out on the 1995 EP released by MCA.
Sublime's third and final studio album was released on July 30, 1996--two months after the death of Bradley Nowell. Of all the tragic deaths of '90s rockers, the timing on Nowell's is perhaps the most heartbreaking.
Released after Nowell's death in 1997, "What I Got" was only the second official Sublime single. It has gone on to become the band's most popular song.
The other "signature song" in Sublime's catalog, "Santeria" was released as a single in January of 1997.
The parade of posthumous single releases in 1997 continued with "Wrong Way." At the time of Nowell's death in 1996, the music industry lamented such a talent passing on just as his band was about to reach superstardom. Time has shown that his talent transcended his death, as the bands legacy and popularity only grew in the wake of his dying.
If you're able to find a CD single release of this one, you'll get alternate versions of the song by rap group The Pharcyde and Wyclef Jean of The Fugees.
Technically a compilation album, this 1997 release also features unreleased material and remixes. Its platinum status is a testament to the love music fans had and continue to have for the late Bradley Nowell.