15 Years Ago: Nickelback Blow Up Huge on ‘All the Right Reasons’
On Silver Side Up, Nickelback released "How You Remind Me," the most played song at radio for the decade. The band's follow-up record The Long Road would yield four big singles on the way to triple platinum sales. And yet, Nickelback still had only bigger success to come. All the Right Reasons, released on Oct. 4, 2005, would be the album that would take them to new heights of popularity, giving them one of the biggest records of the 21st century.
But before pushing forward with the next step in their career, there was one significant change coming. As the calendar turned to January 2005, Nickelback made the decision to switch drummers. Ryan Vikedal, who had appeared on The State, Silver Side Up and The Long Road, was out while Daniel Adair, who had previously been with Nickelback tourmates 3 Doors Down was in. The wheels had been set in motion a month prior when Adair was asked to audition, and there was some contention in the split as singer Chad Kroeger would file suit against Vikedal later in 2005 over royalties the musician would receive from public performances of the band's music. But with Adair in place, the band hit the studio with co-producer Joey Moi between January and May of 2005 to record their new album.
The sessions went about as normal for the group, with bassist Mike Kroeger reflecting to ABC News Radio, "Being humble people, we don't ever presume that anything's great, we just keep working, We just work. And if it's great, it's not within our power. People decide what's great."
He would soon start to see exactly how well received the album was by how their life would start to change. Kroeger says of that period that it felt like "living in the eye of a hurricane," adding, "You're sitting in a bubble of peace while all hell's breaking loose all around you, in a global way. It's, like, get on a plane, get off the plane, mass hysteria, interviews, tours. Everything's just completely crazy, and you're sitting in a hotel room watching CNN trying to find out if we're gonna go to war again or something like that, and the whole world's going nuts for your music. It's a very unusual place to be."
The first song to cause that fervor was "Photograph," a track set in a nostalgic mindset that connected with listeners on a deeply personal level. While the song features a number of references to the band members time growing up in Hanna, Alberta, a majority of the experiences expressed are universal ones.
The Nigel Dick-directed video for the song added to connection, returning the band to their hometown and pointing out key places within their coming of age. It also started with a photograph that Chad Kroeger holds up of him partying with Joey Moi, the band's producer. Answering the lyrical question of "what the hell was on Joey's head," Mike Kroeger told WSOU-FM, "In the video, when you see my brother [frontman Chad Kroeger] holding up that picture, that picture is actually in his kitchen – it has been for many, many years. That's not a prop for a video. That came from his kitchen and it's back in his kitchen now ... The thing that was on Joey's head was a champagne bucket that my wife and I got Chad for his housewarming, and it was somehow secured to his head by what appeared to be a bra -- I'm not sure about that, but I think it's a bra."
"Photograph" not only commanded the airwaves at radio, but also was a huge hit on video outlets. The track went to No. 1 at Mainstream Rock Radio, No. 3 for Alternative Airplay and crossed over to No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100, something that was just starting to become commonplace for the rockers, while en route to double platinum single status.
Commenting on the song for the 15th anniversary of the album, guitarist Ryan Peake stated, "I’m glad people have connected with it because it’s really close to us. It really is one of the best songs. It’s the best song on that album."
Though it would be difficult to match the success of "Photograph," Nickelback chose "Animals" to be the follow-up. The high energy rocker was a change of pace from the melodic first single, with Chad Kroeger belting about an amorous encounter in a car that unfolds in discovery. Like its predecessor, "Animals" climbed to the top of Mainstream Rock chart, keeping the band's hot streak intact, while also cracking the Top 20 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart (at No. 16).
NIckelback, "Savin' Me"
In the spring of 2006, Nickelback would unleash their third single, the more mid-tempo track "Savin' Me." For the group, it showed a bit of their musical growth, bringing strings and piano into the musical equation. Chad Kroeger said in a statement for the track's press release, "We were a little scared of using piano. We just didn't think it was very rock and roll." But after trying it out, the band liked what they heard and kept it. The move, like most on the record, worked, with Nickelback once again enjoying crossover appeal. Though it only hit No. 11 at Mainstream Rock, the band had a bonafide pop hit on their hands, with the song hitting No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Nickelback, "Far Away"
Almost simultaneously with "Savin' Me," the tender-hearted rock ballad "Far Away" also started to grab radio's attention as well. Singer Chad Kroeger once told fans while on tour in Australia that this was the band's "only real love song," adding that while other songs spoke of love, this one was truly about the experience.
Ahead of the 15th anniversary edition of the album, Kroeger added, "We’ve spent most of our adult lives away from family, friends and loved ones. You’re kind of singing about the initial stages of meeting someone and falling in love and just truly saying I love you. There’s no witticisms, there’s no cleverness. It’s just a very basic emotion and it really connected with a lot of people.”
The track has gone on to become a favorite live, with Kroeger stating, “I don’t have to sing one word and the crowd just starts giving it everything they’ve got. That’s the best feeling in the world.” The song found pop success, hitting No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Having melted hearts with "Far Away," Nickelback went for something a little less serious on their next single "Rockstar." The track would become one of the signature songs in their catalog, taking a poke at the rockstar lifestyle and getting a boost from the celeb cameo-filled video for the track (seriously, see how many you can spot). They even got a guest turn on the song by ZZ Top legend Billy Gibbons.
“None of 'Rockstar' is autobiographical," says Chad Kroeger. "It’s all just supposed to be silly things taking everything that you think about when it comes to rock stardom and amplify it exponentially. That type of silliness is what we wanted to do. We were just coming up with all these silly stupid things and the ones that kind of made us chuckle, everyone in the room was like, ‘That’s just dumb enough to go in this song.’” The song hit No. 4 at Mainstream Rock radio and crossed over to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Nickelback, "If Everyone Cared"
At this point, Nickelback had already passed the success of their previous record, but there was no slowing down. Well over a year into the album's release, the band's sixth single, "If Everyone Cared," arrived in November of 2006. A more altruistic single, the band tied the release of the album to helping to raise funds for Amnesty International and International Children's Awareness Canada organizations. The video put a spotlight on world leaders and activists working to better the world through peaceful and human rights campaigns. Though not a huge hit for the group, it did reach No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, continuing their inroads into the pop world.
Nickelback, "Side of a Bullet"
The seventh and final single from the All the Right Reasons album was "Side of a Bullet," an emotionally raw track that Kroeger penned after the murder of his friend and musical peer Dimebag Darrell of Pantera.
"I was very upset, and for two months, if I saw his picture somewhere I would get angry," Kroeger told MTV. "I hadn't lost somebody to a shooting before — it wasn't as though he'd been killed in some sort of accident. He was taken in such a horrible, malicious way that just made it more painful."
Dime's longtime love Rita Haney and his brother Vinnie Paul gave Nickelback their blessing for the song and even allowed for the group to add some guitar solo outtakes from Dime to be incorporated into the song. Kroeger had previously worked with Dime on the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." "That was the first time I appeared on a record with Dime, and now this. I just wish this wasn't the way it had to happen," said Kroeger to MTV. Released only in the U.S., the track hit No. 7 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
By the time all was said and done, there were some pretty amazing accomplishments for the band. The album was the first chart-topper of their career on the Billboard 200 Album chart. It spent over 100 weeks in Billboard's Top 30, becoming the first act to do so since Shania Twain did so in 1997 with Come On Over. The album won the 2006 American Music Award for Best Pop Rock Album and it ended up being the No. 13 album on the Billboard Album chart for the entire decade.
All the Right Reasons sold more than 18 million copies worldwide and was diamond certified for over 10 million in U.S. sales in 2017. When asked by Loudwire Nights about joining the ranks of Nirvana and Michael Jackson in the Diamond Album club, guitarist Ryan Peake stated, "It's kind of like sneaking into a club when you feel like you're going to get kicked out." Chad Kroeger added that they were "ecstatic and very humbled" by the achievement.
In a video promoting the 15th anniversary of the album, Kroeger stated, "All those songs off that record really don’t feel like ours anymore. Those songs got played a ton on the radio. Some got played too much, hence a bit of the backlash, but they belong to the fans now." Peake added, "I’m very proud it connected with the fans that well. As an artist you can only hope for stuff like that."
Nickelback have continued to enjoy huge success in the years since, but All the Right Reasons still ranks as their biggest selling album.
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