Ben Harper Biography
Ben Harper was born on October 28, 1969, in Pomona, California USA, 50 miles from Los Angeles; he grew up influenced by Blues, Reggae and Classic-Rock. Starting with his mother's guitar at age six, he eventually developed a distinctive style of his own.
Harper, began playing acoustic slide guitar, performing live around
the Los Angeles area.
He collaborated with actor Morgan Freeman on the soundtrack "Follow The Drinking Gourd" and after signed a deal with Virgin Records in 1992, the guitarist + singer & songwriter made his debut album with "Welcome To The Cruel World"; the record garnered critical attention and good reviews from the press including the L.A. Times.
The second LP, "Fight For Your Mind", came out two years later and Harper with his band, The Innocent Criminals, which consisted of bassist Juan Nelson, drummer Dean Butterworth and percussionist David Leach, toured around the globe to support the album.
In the meantime, Harper, began writing material for the follow-up, "The Will To Live", which was released in 1997; it cracked The Billboard 200 Albums chart at #89.
"Burn To Shine" followed two years later reaching the #67 position on the same chart and its main single, "Steal My Kisses", peaked at #15 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart. Through constant touring, including opening gigs for Dave Matthews Band, the group continued to promote their music around the world playing nearly 200 shows a year.
In the spring of 2001 Virgin put out the double-CD set "Live From Mars", which consisted of 25 songs including covers of Led Zeppelin, The Verve and more. It debuted at #70 in U.S. and sold well especially in Australia.
Two years later, Harper, released "Diamonds On The Inside", his most successful album to date, it peaked at #19 on The Billboard 200 and climbed into the top 10 of the Canadian Albums chart; the fifth studio effort contained the single "With My Own Two Hands" which received strong airplay on radio stations with an Alternative slant and the title-cut eventually inched into the Adult Top 40 chart at #31.
September 2004 saw the release of "There Will Be A Light", a collaboration between Harper and the Blind Boys Of Alabama, the set topped the Billboard Magazine's Top Gospel Albums chart thanks to an excellent selection of traditional gospel tunes, covers and new songs. The collection won a Grammy for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album, while the song "11th Commandment" picked up another Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
In March 2005 Ben Harper unveiled 18 new songs spread across two discs on his seventh studio album, "Both Sides Of The Gun"; it peaked at #7 on The Billboard 200 chart and hit #5 in Canada.
He returned in August 2007 with "Lifeline"; the prolific artist and his band The Innocent Criminals went to Paris to record the Virgin album after finishing the tour in support of "Both Sides Of The Gun". Using only analogue equipment, they laid down 11 tracks in seven days; the disc went straight into the top 10 of The Billboard 200 and hit the top 3 of the Canadian Albums charts; "In The Colors" was the first U.S. radio single off "Lifeline" which also included the Hot Canadian Digital top 100 hit "Fight Outta You".
For the next outing Harper put the Innocent Criminals on hiatus and hooked up with a new group: three Texan transplants to Los Angeles called Relentless7, comprised of guitarist Jason Mozersky, bassist Jesse Ingalls and drummer Jordan Richardson. The resulted album, "White Lies For Dark Times", released in May 2009, peaked at #9 on The Billboard 200 and at #19 on the Top Canadian Albums charts. "Shimmer And Shine", the disc's first single, begins as a double-timed rocker with Richarsdon's drum break, but kicks in with a staggered set of power chords that blend angsty Punk and anthemic Rock. "Fly One Time" was selected as the album's second single.
On May 17, 2011, Virgin Records will release "Give Till It's Gone", Ben Harper's tenth studio album; with "Rock N' Roll Is Free", the set's first single, Harper pays tribute to an audacious art form that continually challenges the status quo. He recorded most of the album at the Los Angeles studio of Jackson Browne.