Lenny Kravitz was born in New York
the son of Jewish Hollywood producer Sy Kravitz and Bahamian actress Roxie Roker (of The Jeffersons), Lenny grew up in wealth.
His parents moved to California Having taught himself bass, piano, guitar, and drums at an early age and developed his singing voice in the California Boys Choir and the Metropolitan Opera, he attended Beverly Hills High School and performed under the artist name, Romeo Blue (see picture).
At that stage, he was heavily influenced by Prince.
His parents were friends with jazz greats Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fizgerald, Bobby Short and Miles Davis so he grew up in a musical household although he would pursue a career in rock rather than jazz.
Lenny and Lisa
In the late 1980's, Kravitz returned to New York to pursue a musical career. He ended sharing a house with Lisa Bonet who played Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show. The two would fall in love and would marry.
In New York, Kravitz would broaden his influences beyond Prince to classic rock and soul artists such as Hendrix, the Beatles
, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Marley. He signed a contract with Virgin Records.
His 1989 debut album Let Love Rule
Let Love Rule - 1989
was a moderate success, reaching #61 on the Billboard album charts.
- "Let Love Rule" the title track would reach #89 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the modern rock charts.
- "I Build This Garden" the second single reached #25 on the modern rock charts.
Kravitz gined greater recognition when Madonna reached number one with a cover version of his song, "Justify My Love" on her Immaculate Collection album of 1990. Kravitz's marriage to Lisa Bonet would end in the same year.
Mama Said - 1991
His next album, Mama Said in 1991, reached the top 40 of the Billboard album charts and songs on the album were influenced by his divorce from Bonet. It contained the hit single:
The album would also feature a contribution by Sean Lennon which was Lennon's first appearance on record.
Are You Gonna Go My Way - 1993
In 1993, Are You Gonna Go My Way was released reaching #12 on the Billboard 200 and earned a Brit Award for best international male artist in 1994. The title track won a MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video for the video produced by Mark Romanek. The single would reach #1 on the Australian and Billboard mainstream rock charts and #2 on the modern rock charts. Several singles from the album would follow including:
Kravitz covered the Kiss song "Deuce" for a tribute album, with the track reaching #15 on the Billboard mainstream rock chart.
Circus - 1995
He released the Circus album in 1995, which reached number 10 on the Billboard chart on the back of his past achievement. However, it only had two singles:
With 5 (1998), Kravitz embraced digital technology
Five - 1998
such as synthesizers and tape loops for the first time. 5 introduced Kravitz's music to an even wider audience, particularly in Europe, because "Fly Away" featured prominently in both car manufacturer and airline commercials. 5 would reach #28 on the Billboard 200 with :
- "Fly Away" would reach #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999 and #1 on the modern and mainstream charts.
He would win the first of his four consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in the Grammy Awards of 1999. Other hits from the album included:
- "If You Can't Say No" reached the top 40 on the Billboard mainstream rock chart in 1999 - dance producer Brian Transeau would remix the track;
- "I Belong To you" would reach #76 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #15 on the Billboard adult chart in 2000
His cover version of 70s rockers The Guess Who's hit "American Woman
" won him a another Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in the Grammy Awards of 2000 and helped The Guess Who find a new audience. The song originally came from the soundtrack of and was added to the 5 album as a bonus track in 1999. The song would reach #49 on the Billboard 100, #3 on the Billboard modern rock chart and #7 on the Billboard mainstream rock chart.
Greatest Hits - 2000
Lenny Kravitz would release a 15 track Greatest Hits compilation. It proved to be his most successful album, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 and Canadian album charts and achieve triple platinum status.
- The single "Again" reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on a world adult composite chart (based on the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France and Australia) and US adult chart. The track would also earn him his third consecutive Grammy for the Best Male Rock Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 2001.
Lenny - 2001
Kravitz released his sixth album Lenny in October 2001. It reached #12 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on the Canadian charts. The first single from the album :
- "Dig In" reached #31 on the Billboard 200 and went top ten in the world adult and US adult charts. It also reached #1 in Argentina, went top 5 in Portugal and top 10 in Italy.
He won his fourth consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 2002. Subsequent singles included:
- "Stillness of Heart" went top 10 in Italy, top 20 in the US and world adult charts and Argentina and top 40 in Canada and the UK
- "Believe in Me" reached #1 in Portugal, went top 10 in the Netherlands, top 20 in Italy and Germany and reached the top 100 world sales and airplay charts
- "If I Could Fall In Love" reached the US adult top 40.
Jay-Z invited Lenny Kravitz to appear on the track "Guns and Roses" on his 2002 . Kravitz would also join P. Diddy, Pharrell Williams and Loon on the track "Show Me Your Soul" from the Bad Boys 2 soundtrack. In 2004, he would appear on a track on N.E.R.D's album Fly or Die. Jay-Z would appear on the track "Storm" on Kravitz's 2004 Baptism album.
In early 2003, Kravitz released the track "We Want Peace" as a download-only track as a protest against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The track reached #1 on the world internet download charts and MP3.com download chart. Kravitz will also be appearing on Unity, the official album of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Baptism - 2004
Kravitz's seventh album Baptism was released on March 18 2004. On his website, Kravitz says that he chose the title because "I've made my first record all over again. That's how it feels, as pure as the beginning." Baptism would debut at number 14 on the US album charts, in the top 50 of the Australian album charts and in the top 75 of the UK album charts. The first single :
- "Where Are We Running", has reached #69 on the Billboard Hot 100, top 25 on a composite European chart and top 20 on Internet charts, Argentina, Italy and the world and US top 20 as of the end of May 2004.
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