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Five Stages of Gwen Stefani: From Hollaback to comeback, No Doubt and some doubt

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Posted on 15:57, Wednesday, August 24

Vancouver Sun - No Doubt came out of Fullerton as one of many Golden State bands in the seemingly endless Southern California ska revival. That would pretty much sum up the bands career were it not for the fact it had that something special.

It had lead vocalist Gwen Rene Stefani (born Oct. 3, 1969).

Credited with holding the group together through tumultuous times and guiding it to stardom, she also became a solo star. Now, back after a decade-long break, a well publicized divorce, a less-than-satisfactory No Doubt reunion and TV panel show gig, the platinum-tressed celebrity is on tour supporting her third solo outing This Is What the Truth Feels Like.

And here is how she got there:

1994

Tragic Kingdom: Even the most serious No Doubt fans dont own the first two albums from the band. The groups self-titled 1991 Interscope debut bombed and its self-financed followup Beacon Street Collection only fared slightly better. Gwens brother and band co-founder Eric left to become an animator on the Simpsons as Interscope made nice and released this collection documenting the breakup of Gwen and bassist Tony Kanal. Thanks to the single Just A Girl and huge ballad Dont Speak, it hit No. 1.

2000

Rockin Steadily: As media built Stefani into a bonafide celebrity, the band kept knocking out quality recordings. Relentless touring kept the fans happy. Stefani retooled her look and style to become much less the bouncy SoCal ska/punk and much more urban diva. Reviewing No Doubts set at the Plaza of Nations on July 21, 2000, Vancouver Sun writer Kerry Gold said: No Doubts pink-haired and hyperactive frontwoman Gwen Stefani embodies the true spirit of girl power, and rocks to boot.

2004

Solo Stefani: The writing was on the wall when Stefani and Eves 2002 collaboration Let Me Blow Your Mind won the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Here was an artist who didnt need her band anymore. With the group going on what turned into a lengthy hiatus, she dropped Love.Angel.Music.Baby. Clubby, devoted to fashion and boasting a plethora of producers and co-writers  Dr. Dre, the Neptunes, Linda Perry, Dallaas Austin, Andr 3000, Nellee Hooper, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and even Tony Kanal turned up it exploded on the back of the sleek Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single Hollaback Girl. Even the controversy from the Asian community around the alleged silence clauses in the contracts for her four-strong possee of Japanese Harajuku Girls didnt slow sales. Billboard said: Style trumps substance in Stefanis world, making Love, Angel, Music, Baby an ideal guilty pleasure. The Sweet Escape followed in 2006. Stefani became more of a celbutante, taking much deserved time to raise children with husband and Bush singer Gavin Rossdale.

2014

The Voice: Following a forgettable No Doubt tour and 2012 reunion album Push and Shove that didnt catch, Stefani joined old Neptunes cohort Pharrell Williams as a panelist on Season 7 of the U.S. version of The Voice. Her team doesnt win. Time to launch a musical comeback.

2016

This Is What the Truth Feels Like: After finalizing her divorce to Rossdale citing irreconcilable differences in October 2015, Stefani and her Voice co-star and country singer Blake Shelton announced on Nov. 4 they were dating. The news put the two singers in the gossip rags and buzz columns and Stefani was back in the news when her third studio album This Is What the Truth Feels Like arrived on March 18, 2016. While the lead single Used to Love You heralded a more mature, less dance-oriented breakup album. Commercially, the album became her first No. 1 in the Billboard 200, but failed to sell the same numbers of past solo efforts or No Doubt. It notched the lowest first week sales for one of her albums and overall global performance didnt match past efforts. However, this is pretty typical of the industry these days. Whether the accompanying tour cleans up or not will mean more to gauging whether Gwen Stefani is back or not. Shes still an arena act.

Comparatively, her ex-husbands band Bush which No Doubt once opened for plays the Commodore in Vancouver on Oct. 31. 

sderdeyn@postmedia.com

twitter.com/stuartderdeyn

Gwen Stefani: This Is What the Truth Feels Like Tour

Rogers Arena| Thursday, August 25, 7 p.m.|Tickets: Ticketmaster.com

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