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Later, the band grew to include drummer Nicki Capozzi and bassist Felix Robinson. The band was signed by a small label called Grand Slam records in January 1985. While recording the song The Road to Valhalla, both Capozzi and Robinson left the band. Nicki Capozzi was replaced by Dan Spitz, and Felix Robinson was replaced by James Lomenzo. Within a month of joining, Dan spitz left and was replaced by former Anthrax drummer Greg D'Angelo.
The band then finished their debut album, Fight to Survive, which was released on November 9, 1985. A few months later, Grand Slam records went bankrupt.
In 1986, White Lion, with a fictitious "female" member, had a brief part in the Tom Hanks/Shelley Long movie The Money Pit. Early in 1987, the band was signed by Atlantic Records. By then, their debut album was out of print and extremely hard to find.
On June 21, 1987, their second album, Pride, was released (the same day as Keel's Keel album, and Helix's Wild in The Streets) The first single from Pride was 'Wait/Don't Give Up, released on June 1, 1987. However, it took seven months before the song became a hit.
The Pride tour started in July 1987 as White Lion opened for Ace Frehley's 80s band Frehley's Comet. In September 1987, White Lion became the opening band for KISS (who had just started their Crazy Nights tour).
White Lion spent the rest of 1987 on tour with KISS. In January 1988 started opening for AC/DC on their Blow Up Your Video tour.
While opening for AC/DC, the Pride album and Wait single finally charted. Wait hit #8 on the singles chart, while Pride stalled at #11 on the album chart.
In August 1988, the album's second single Tell Me stopped at #58. Around the time this single was released, White Lion played at the Ritz club in New York City. Like Guns N' Roses, White Lion's show at the Ritz was filmed and later aired on MTV.
White Lion concluded the Pride tour by opening for Stryper from September 1988 to February 1989 during Stryper's In God We Trust tour. The Pride album's third single When The Children Cry made it to #3, making Pride one of about 18 hard rock albums to ever have multiple top 10 hits.
In August 1989, White Lion released their third album Big Game. This was followed, in 1991, by Mane Attraction. Unfortunately, by the end of 1991, White Lion had broken up.
As an afterthought, Atlantic Records released the Best of White Lion compilation album in 1992. It must be noted that the song "Radar Love" was included in this album, a cover considered by many, one of the best ever made.
In 1993, bassist James Lomenzo joined former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde in a band called Pride and Glory, while vocalist Mike Tramp started a solo career.
Towards the end of 2003, Mike Tramp said that White Lion was planning to reunite. This statement was quickly denied by the other members.
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This statement was quickly denied by the other members. Ol' Dirty Bastard's death on November 13, 2004 should have a limited impact on the Clan, given that his involvement with the group had been very sporadic for many years. Towards the end of 2003, Mike Tramp said that White Lion was planning to reunite. This renewed interest in the group fuelled rumors that another group album is on the way soon, although nothing concrete has been announced by the Clan themselves. In 1993, bassist James Lomenzo joined former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde in a band called Pride and Glory, while vocalist Mike Tramp started a solo career. The concert was released on DVD shortly afterwards, along with another greatest hits compilation. It must be noted that the song "Radar Love" was included in this album, a cover considered by many, one of the best ever made. 2004 also saw the unexpected return of the Clan to the live stage, and minus Ol' Dirty Bastard and Method Man (who was filming the Fox sitcom Method & Red) they embarked on a short European tour, before coming together as a complete group for the first time in several years to headline the Rock The Bells festival in California.
As an afterthought, Atlantic Records released the Best of White Lion compilation album in 1992. The Pretty Toney Album was critically acclaimed in the mainstream press, and the independently released No Said Date was well-received by the group's hardcore fanbase and hip hop enthusiasts in general for its unpretentious, back-to-basics approach and in-house production. Unfortunately, by the end of 1991, White Lion had broken up. After GZA released Legend of the Liquid Sword in late 2002, the following two years saw a spate of new solo releases, including new works by Cappadonna (The Struggle), Method Man (Tical 0: The Prequel), Raekwon (The Lex Diamonds Story), Ghostface Killah (who, in his new contract with Def Jam Records, changed his pseudonym to simply Ghostface, and released The Pretty Toney Album), Inspectah Deck (The Movement), Masta Killa (No Said Date), Shyheim, Wu-Element producer Mathematics (Love, Hell & Right) and an untitled work by the ODB (recently released from prison, and then signed to Jay-Z and Damon Dash's Roc-a-Fella Records Label). This was followed, in 1991, by Mane Attraction. The group's latest album (as a group) was 2001 Iron Flag, made without the participation of the still-incarcerated Ol' Dirty Bastard, and which received mixed but mostly positive reviews. In August 1989, White Lion released their third album Big Game. 2001 saw the release of Digital Bullet (the second RZA album released as Bobby Digital), Bulletproof Wallets (Ghostface Killah) and The Yin and the Yang (Cappadonna).
The Pride album's third single When The Children Cry made it to #3, making Pride one of about 18 hard rock albums to ever have multiple top 10 hits. The W itself was mostly well-received by critics, particularly for RZA's production, and also gave the group a hit single with the uptempo Gravel Pit (which was supported by an extravagant faux-prehistoric Flintstones-inspired video). White Lion concluded the Pride tour by opening for Stryper from September 1988 to February 1989 during Stryper's In God We Trust tour. Ol' Dirty Bastard managed to escape the club, but was captured by Philadelphia police and sent to New York to face charges of cocaine possession. In April, 2001, he was sentenced to two to four years in prison. Like Guns N' Roses, White Lion's show at the Ritz was filmed and later aired on MTV. Almost finished with his rehab, Ol' Dirty Bastard escaped suddenly and spent one month on the run as a fugitive before showing up onstage at the record release party for The W, the group's new album. Around the time this single was released, White Lion played at the Ritz club in New York City. In 2000 the group reconvened to make a new album: minus Ol' Dirty Bastard who was incarcerated in California for violating the terms of his probation.
In August 1988, the album's second single Tell Me stopped at #58. Fans also bemoaned the lack of RZA input on these albums, which were mostly produced by the Wu-Element producers, other lower-ranking affiliates or by outside producers such as the Trackmasters or the Neptunes. Wait hit #8 on the singles chart, while Pride stalled at #11 on the album chart. Method Man and ODB were still quite popular, and the critics still fawned over GZA and Ghostface Killah, but their sound was becoming heavily imitated by others, and they were no longer superstars of hip hop. While opening for AC/DC, the Pride album and Wait single finally charted. However, with a seemingly never-ending line of mostly poorly-received releases from affiliates such as Killarmy and Shyheim, a greatest hits album, as well as Wu-Tang branded clothing and video games, the market had been saturated with Wu-Tang products, and the second round of Clan member solo albums didn't do as well, either popularly or critically. In January 1988 started opening for AC/DC on their Blow Up Your Video tour. RZA also composed the score for the film Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai, directed by Jim Jarmusch, while he and other Wu-Tang members contributed music to a companion "music inspired by the film" album.
White Lion spent the rest of 1987 on tour with KISS. In the space of just three years, RZA's Bobby Digital In Stereo, Method Man's Tical 2000: Judgement Day, GZA's Beneath the Surface, Ol' Dirty Bastard's Nigga Please, U-God's Golden Arms Redemption, Raekwon's Immobilarity, Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele and Inspectah Deck's Uncontrolled Substance were all released. In September 1987, White Lion became the opening band for KISS (who had just started their Crazy Nights tour). In the midst of such problems, the Clan released yet more solo albums. The Pride tour started in July 1987 as White Lion opened for Ace Frehley's 80s band Frehley's Comet. The investigation never found significant evidence for the allegations. However, it took seven months before the song became a hit. The whole Wu-Tang Clan also fell under suspicion as alleged leaders of a gun-running scheme between Staten Island and Steubenville, Ohio.
On June 21, 1987, their second album, Pride, was released (the same day as Keel's Keel album, and Helix's Wild in The Streets) The first single from Pride was 'Wait/Don't Give Up, released on June 1, 1987. He was also in trouble for missing multiple court dates. By then, their debut album was out of print and extremely hard to find. He was also arrested several times for a variety of offenses, including assault, making terrorist threats, shoplifting, wearing body armor after being convicted of a felony and possession of cocaine. Early in 1987, the band was signed by Atlantic Records. He then announced a name change to Big Baby Jesus, but never followed through. In 1986, White Lion, with a fictitious "female" member, had a brief part in the Tom Hanks/Shelley Long movie The Money Pit. At the Grammy Awards, he protested the Clan's loss (in Best Rap Album) by interrupting Shawn Colvin's acceptance speech.
A few months later, Grand Slam records went bankrupt. The same year, 1998, Ol' Dirty Bastard began a long career of erratic behavior, landing him in both the headlines and jail on a regular basis. The band then finished their debut album, Fight to Survive, which was released on November 9, 1985. A compilation album, Wu-Tang Killa Bees: The Swarm, was also released showcasing more Wu-affiliated artists as well as including new solo tracks from the group members themselves. Within a month of joining, Dan spitz left and was replaced by former Anthrax drummer Greg D'Angelo. The group's close associate Cappadonna, who first appeared on Raekwon's debut and was a large presence on both Ironman and Wu-Tang Forever, followed the group project with March 1998's The Pillage, and soon after Killah Priest (like Cappadonna a close associate of the Clan, though not an official member) released Heavy Mental to great critical acclaim. Nicki Capozzi was replaced by Dan Spitz, and Felix Robinson was replaced by James Lomenzo. However, the live tour supporting the album was cancelled halfway through amid rumors of internal disputes.
While recording the song The Road to Valhalla, both Capozzi and Robinson left the band. The group members also appeared much more ambitious lyrically than on 36 Chambers, with many verses on the album being dense stream-of-consciousness narratives heavily influenced by the teachings of the Five Percent Nation. The band was signed by a small label called Grand Slam records in January 1985. The sound of the album mostly built upon the sounds of the previous three solo albums, with RZA increasing his use of keyboards and string samples, as well as for the first time assigning much of the album's production to his proteges True Master and 4th Disciple (known as the "Wu-Elements"). Later, the band grew to include drummer Nicki Capozzi and bassist Felix Robinson. It was eagerly anticipated and entered the charts at number one ; no mean feat for an album that made very little attempt to have wide commercial appeal, and whose lead single Triumph was a five minutes plus nine-MC "posse cut" with no chorus. After moving from Denmark, Mike met guitarist Vito Bratta, forming a band. With solo careers established, the Wu-Tang Clan came back together to release the enormous double album Wu-Tang Forever in June 1997.
The band was formed in New York
City in 1984 by Denmark-born vocalist
Mike Tramp. Although these albums were released as solo albums, the rule of RZA behind the
boards and the large number of guest appearances from other Clan members (Raekwon and Ghostface's albums only had two or three
actual solo tracks each and both included tracks which only included other Clan members and not themselves) means they are
usually considered as important to the group's evolution as the group albums proper.
This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of article quality. GZA's Liquid Swords had a similar focus on inner-city criminology to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, yet was far darker, both in GZA's grim lyrics and in the ominous, forbidding production which saw RZA heavily reliant on keyboards for the first time. Raekwon the Chef's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was a diverse, theatrical criminological epic that saw RZA move away from the raw, stripped-down beats of the early albums and towards a richer, cinematic sound more reliant on strings and classic soul samples. 1995 saw two significant and well-received albums from the group members. Ol' Dirty Bastard found success soon after with Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version, which saw the 36 Chambers sound become even rawer and rough-edged.
RZA's hands-on approach to Tical, which extended beyond him merely creating the beats to devising song concepts and structure, would continue throughout the first round of solo projects from the Clan members. Method Man was the first member of Wu-Tang to hit stardom with his November 1994 solo album, Tical, produced by the RZA who continued with the grimy, raw textures he explored on 36 Chambers. The Gravediggaz released 6 Feet Deep in August of 1994, which became easily the most famous work to emerge from hip hop's small sub-genre of horrorcore. RZA was the first to follow up on the success of 36 Chambers with a side project, founding the Gravediggaz with Prince Paul (a producer, most famous for De La Soul), Frukwan (of Stetsasonic) and Poetic (of the Brothers Grimm).
Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers did indeed establish the group as a creative and influential rap group in the early nineties (it was released in 1993), allowing GZA, RZA, Raekwon, Method Man and Ol' Dirty Bastard to negotiate solo contracts. Though there was some difficulty in finding a record label that would sign the Wu-Tang Clan while still allowing each member to record solo albums with other labels, Loud/RCA finally agreed and the debut album Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers was popular and critically-acclaimed, though it took some time to gain momentum. The Wu-Tang Clan first became known to hip hop fans, and to major record labels, following the release of the independent single Protect Ya Neck, which immediately gave the group a sizeable underground following. The group have also developed various acronyms for the name (as hip hop pioneers like KRS One and Big Daddy Kane did with their names), including "Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game" and "Wisdom, Universe, Truth, Allah, Nation, and God".
The name of the group itself originates from the Wudang (or Wu-Tang) Mountains in the Hubei province of China which are a traditional center of Chinese martial arts. The two cousins (GZA and RZA) created their rap nom-de-plumes by mimicking the sound that the words Genius and Robert would make when scratched on a turntable. The RZA is the producer of the group's albums, as well as many of their solo projects. The group quickly became known for hardcore violence, thumping, surreal beats and a warped sense of humor, all filtered through allusions to ancient Chinese folklore, mythic legend and martial arts film. The GZA is the de facto leader of the group, as well as being widely regarded as the best lyricist among the group.
The founders of the Wu-Tang Clan were GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard and RZA (who also formed the by-then-defunct All In Together Now Crew). This was the plan from the group's inception: the group would make each of them famous enough to launch multiple side projects, and take over the hip-hop community through saturation of like-minded rappers. All of the nine members have released solo albums and have performed under several subprojects with other Wu-Tang "Family" members and musicians outside the Clan. There are nine original members of the Wu-Tang Clan.
The Wu-Tang Clan is a pioneering hardcore rap group, originally from Staten Island, New York, USA (Staten Island is referred to as "Shaolin" in their lyrics). 2004 Disciples of the 36 Chambers: Chapter 1 (Sanctuary). 2001 Iron Flag (Columbia). 2000 The W (Columbia).
1997 Wu-Tang Forever (Loud). 1993 Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud). UGodz-Illa. Lucky Hands.
Golden Arms. Four-Bar Killer. Baby Huey. Universal God of Law.
Baby U. 4-Bar Killer. U-God (birth name: Lamont Hawkins)
RZArecta (from resurrector - waking up the mentally dead). Prince Rakeem. Prince Dynamite. Prince Delight.
the Scientist. Chief Abbot. The Abbot. Bobby Digital.
Bobby Steels. RZA ("The Rizza") (birth name: Robert Diggs)
Shallah. Rick Diamonds. Louis Diamonds. Lex Diamonds.
Raekwon the Chef (short name: rae) (birth name: Corey Woods)
Joe Bannanas. Dirt Schultz. Cyrus. Unique Ason.
Prince Delight. the Specialist. the Bebop Specialist. The Projessor.
Dirt McGirt. Freeloading Rusty. Joe Bananas. Ol' Dirt Dog.
Big Baby Jesus. Ol' Dirty Bastard (short name: ODB, dirty) (birth name: Russell Jones) (deceased)
Long John Silver. The Ghost Rider. Johnny Dangerous. John-John Blaizini.
John-John McLane. Hot Nixon. Ticallion Stallion. Tical.
The Panty Raider. Shakwon. MZA ("The Mizza"). Methtical (Meth-tical).
Johnny Blaze (from the comic Ghost Rider). Method Man (short name: meth) (birth name: Clifford Smith)
High Chief. Masta Killa (short name: masta) (from the film Shaolin Master Killer) (birth name: Elgin Turner)
Manifesto. Ayatollah. Rebel INS. Fifth Brother.
Inspectah Deck (short name: ins, deck) (birth name: Jason Hunter)
Justice. Allah Justice. The Genius. GZA (pronounced "The Jizza") (birth name: Gary Grice)
Ghost Deini. Black Jesus. Ironman (from the comic Iron Man). Wally Champ.
Starkey Love. General Tony Starks. Tone-Tanna. Pretty Toney.
Ghostface. Tony Starks (from the comic Iron Man). Sun God. Ghostface Killah (short: ghost) (birth name: Dennis Coles)