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Ain’t got no crystal ball: ‘Sublime’ turns 25

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Gasoline Alley/MCA/UMe

Twenty-five years after its release, no album is as well-qualified to represent the L.B.C. as Sublime‘s self-titled swan song.

The third and final record from trio — featuring frontman Bradley Nowell, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh — celebrates its silver anniversary today.

Leading up to Sublime‘s release, the band was already primed to hit it big. They’d amassed a dedicated local following in their hometown of Long Beach, California, and after dropping two albums, 1992’s 40oz. to Freedom and 1994’s Robbin’ the Hood, they signed with MCA Records to record their major label debut.

Tragedy then struck when Nowell died in May 1996 of a heroin overdose while Sublime was on tour. He was 28. Wilson and Gaugh disbanded Sublime, but still decided to release the album they’d completed. The self-titled record dropped July 30, 1996, just two months after Nowell’s passing.

Sublime became a major success, and is now considered one of the most defining albums of the ’90s. It’s been certified five-times Platinum by the RIAA, and spawned hit singles in “Santeria,” “Wrong Way” and “What I Got.”

Another single, the George Gershwin-sampling “Doin’ Time,” received a second life when Lana Del Rey covered it in 2019. Her version hit number one on Billboard‘s Alternative Airplay chart.

Following Sublime‘s release, Wilson and Gaugh continued to play together in different projects before reforming Sublime in 2009 with new lead singer Rome Ramirez. Due to legal reasons, they changed their name to Sublime with Rome.

Gaugh has since left Sublime with Rome, although Wilson remains in the band. The group has released three albums, the most recent of which being 2019’s Blessings.

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