May 10, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of Weezer’s self-titled debut, affectionately known the world over as the Blue Album, for reasons which are pretty self-explanatory. Since its release two decades ago, Weezer has go on to sell more than three million copies in the U.S. alone, given rock radio three monster hits (“Buddy Holly,” “Undone – The Sweater Song” and “Say It Ain’t So”) and helped influence thousands of musicians to try and figure out how to write the perfect pop song—something Rivers Cuomo & Co. mastered on their first release. Since Weezer superfans are in a class all their own (and you’re looking at one of them right here), here is a cheat sheet of little-known facts about the Blue Album to help you get your cred up if you’re a latecomer to one of the best albums in the history of rock music.
1. The first song written for the Blue Album was “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here.”
2. The last song written for the Blue Album was “In The Garage.”
3. “No One Else” is the only song on the Blue Album in standard tuning.
4. Rivers Cuomo wasn’t Weezer’s only songwriter.
For the bulk of Weezer’s career, Cuomo has been solely responsible for Weezer’s songwriting, but in the band’s early days, it was a bit more collaborative, with drummer Pat Wilson earning co-writing credits on three of Blue’s 10 tracks—“My Name Is Jonas,” “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” and “Surf Wax America.” Additionally, original Weezer guitarist Jason Cropper also has a co-writing credit on “My Name Is Jonas” as he wrote the fingerpicked intro, but he’s not heard on the recorded version, because…
5. Jason Cropper was kicked out of Weezer during the Blue Album recording sessions.
The story is still shrouded in a bit of mystery, but apparently tensions between Cropper and the other three band members had been running a bit high due to some unspecified erratic behavior, and matters were complicated by the guitarist and his then-girlfriend expecting their first child. While Cropper did lay down rhythm guitar and backing vocal tracks on the album, those were wiped after he was dismissed from the band—with only two days until mixing was scheduled to start. A call was immediately placed to Brian Bell, then-bassist of LA funk-rock band Carnival Art, who was asked if he was interested in joining. A quick demo-tape submission later, and he was in—although with the project running out of time and going over budget, a strange decision was made…
6. Brian Bell doesn’t actually play a note of guitar on the Blue Album.
Despite being credited as guitarist in the Blue Album’s liner notes, Bell’s only real contributions to the album were his re-recorded versions of Jason Cropper’s backing vocals. It was decided there wasn’t enough time for Bell to lay down guitar tracks, so as the legend goes, Cuomo flawlessly laid down all of Cropper’s parts in one all-day marathon session. Bell’s recorded debut with Weezer came on the single to “Undone” the following summer, as he played guitar on fan-favorite B-sides “Susanne” and “Mykel & Carli.”
7. “Mykel & Carli” is about Mykel and Carli (duh).
8. “Jamie” and “Susanne” were about real people, too.
9. “Buddy Holly” wasn’t about Buddy Holly.
10. “Surf Wax America” featured a secret shoutout to Rivers Cuomo’s hair-metal past.