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History of Gwen Stefani and No Doubt: Profile of the 'Just A Girl' Band

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Hailing from Anaheim, California, No Doubt is a ska/rock band that formed in 1986. Following the suicide of the band’s original vocalist, Gwen Stefani stepped up to the mic. The 1995 album "Tragic Kingdom" was their breakthrough record, and it featured a host of catchy songs and tracks that chronicled the breakup of Stefani’s and fellow bandmate Tony Kanal’s seven year relationship. Tensions surfaced once Stefani started getting much of the attention, but they kept cranking out hits on albums like "Return of Saturn" and "Rock Steady." After a long hiatus, the band released new music in 2012 with "Push and Shove," and fans couldn’t have been happier. In this video, learns more about the history of No Doubt.

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History of No Doubt

This band is more than “Just a Girl.” Welcome to, and today we’ll be taking a look at the history of No Doubt.

Early Days

Rock band No Doubt formed in Anaheim, California in 1986. After founding member and lead vocalist John Spence committed suicide the following year, personnel came and went until the group consisted of singer Gwen Stefani, her brother, keyboardist Eric, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal and drummer Adrian Young.

Underground Success

By the time the lineup was solidified, No Doubt had a cult following on the Cali concert scene, thanks to energetic performances and Gwen Stefani’s charisma. In 1991, they were rewarded with a record deal, and their first offering was a self-titled album the next year.

Departure of Eric Stefani

However, the upbeat, commercial sound of No Doubt failed to resonate in a market where grunge was at its peak, and the effort bombed. Eric Stefani soon left the band to work as an animator on “The Simpsons,” so Gwen took over writing duties.

Building Momentum

In 1995, No Doubt independently released the less refined record, The Beacon Street Collection. That album tripled the sales of its predecessor, and gave the band much-needed momentum.

Tragic Kingdom

Later that year, No Doubt dropped Tragic Kingdom. Thematically, the album focused on the breakup of the seven-year romance between Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal. Sonically, it found its place in a world where grunge was dying and ska was gaining steam.

Gwen Stefani: Style Icon

It was the effort’s debut single that broke them into the mainstream. The video that accompanied “Just a Girl” established Stefani’s trademark look of red lipstick, platinum blonde hair and midriff-bearing tops, and immediately turned her into a style icon.

Mainstream Success

The band then released a string of hit tracks from the album, including the ballad “Don’t Speak.” That song, and the record itself, earned No Doubt two Grammy nominations. Tragic Kingdom was eventually certified diamond.

Internal Tensions

After their world tour, the group set to work on their next release. Stefani also pursued opportunities outside the band, and – like many frontwomen before her – she began earning significantly more media attention than her bandmates, which caused internal tension. Her high-profile romance with Bush vocalist Gavin Rossdale also kept her in the news during No Doubt’s lull.

Return of Saturn

2000’s Return of Saturn was a natural progression for the band, which featured more alternative rock vibes, mature lyrics and darker themes. It started its run on the Billboard 200 at number two, and earned the band another Grammy nod for Best Rock Album, but did not do as well commercially as Tragic Kingdom.

Outside No Doubt

Suddenly, Stefani was an in-demand vocalist, so she lent her skills to tracks like Moby’s “South Side” and Eve’s Grammy-winning “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” This allowed her and No Doubt to delve into new musical styles like dance and synthpop.

Rock Steady

The result of this experimentation was 2001’s Rock Steady. Inspired by Jamaican dancehall music, the album revitalized No Doubt’s career with two Grammy-winning singles.

“It’s My Life”

The band then compiled their hits on 2003’s The Singles 1992–2003, and included the new cover song “It’s My Life.” Some video anthologies also hit stores, and the band toured with Blink-182. However, by 2004, No Doubt was out of juice and they went on hiatus.


Band members then pursued outside projects. For example, Kanal collaborated with Pink on her successful album Funhouse, while Stefani cultivated a hugely successful solo career that resulted in clothing and perfume lines, two massive albums, and a string of hits. She also started an acting career with an appearance in the 2004 film “The Aviator,” and gave birth to two children with her husband, Rossdale.

Push and Shove

Eventually, it was time for the band to regroup, and in 2009 they embarked on a reunion tour. However, it was another three years before they released new music. In 2012, their familiar ska- and dance-infused rock was back on airwaves with “Settle Down,” the debut single off their first new album in eleven years, Push and Shove.


After influencing an entire genre of music with their raucous rock, No Doubt is still at the top of their game. Their die-hard fans are happy to have them back on the radar, ‘cause there’s no doubt this band knows how to do it “Hella Good.”

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