Nov. 12, 2019, marks 15 years since Gwen Stefani dropped "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." — her debut solo album. Featuring songs like "What You Waiting For?" "Rich Girl" and "Cool," the album became the bestselling effort of her career, going triple platinum in America and Britain as well as five times platinum in Australia. In honor of the big anniversary, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at all the big career moments in the No Doubt frontwoman's life. Keep reading for more…
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Long before we knew Gwen Stefani as a solo artist, she was the lead singer of California ska-punk band No Doubt. The group consisting of members Adrian Young (left), Tony Kanal (right) and Gwen's older brother, Eric Stefani (not pictured), formed in 1986 but didn't release their self-titled debut album until 1992. The young musicians (seen here in Newport Beach, California, on July 27, 1989) were eager to perform and make a name for themselves. At the time, Gwen and Tony were also in a serious romantic relationship.
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Despite releasing albums in 1992 and early 1995, Gwen Stefani's band, No Doubt, wouldn't achieve international acclaim until the release of their third studio album, "Tragic Kingdom," in October 1995. By then, Gwen and bassist Tony Kanal (second from left) were over and Gwen's brother, Eric Stefani, had left the band, but their music was more cohesive than ever. Featuring songs like "Just a Girl," "Spiderwebs" and "Don't Speak," the album went 10 times platinum in the States after landing at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and earned them their first Grammy nominations for best rock album and best pop performance. The world was suddenly on a first-name basis with Gwen.
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Nearly five years passed before Gwen Stefani and No Doubt released their next album, "Return of Saturn," in 2000. Featuring songs like "Simple Kind of Life," "Bathwater" and "Ex-Girlfriend," the album landed at No. 2 on the U.S. pop chart and managed to go platinum after selling more than 1.5 million copies. The band also embarked on a big tour in support of the album the same year.
As the new millennium approached, Gwen Stefani started making music outside of No Doubt. in 2000, she appeared as a featured artist on Moby's single "South Side." The following year, she teamed up with rapper Eve as a featured artist on her single "Let Me Blow Ya Mind." The song was a major hit, landing at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earning both women their first solo Grammy Awards for best rap song collaboration.
I n 2001, Gwen Stefani's band, No Doubt, released their fifth studio album, "Rock Steady." With the help of production duo The Neptunes, the album — which featured songs like "Hella Good," "Hey Baby" and "Underneath it All" — explored a newer sound complete with Jamaican dancehall rhythms, which fans loved. It broke into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart and went double platinum after selling 2.8 million copies. The band toured to support the album in 2002.
In 2003, while writing music for her debut solo album, Gwen Stefani expanded her horizons with the launch of a handbag, accessories and fashion line dubbed L.A.M.B. (an acronym for Love. Angel. Music. Baby., which would become the title of her debut album the following year). Working with LeSportsac CEO Timothy Schifter (seen here), Gwen debuted her luxury label that blended Hollywood glam with her love of international street apparel.
Although Gwen Stefani was busy working on a solo album, she still had time to link up with No Doubt, including for the 2003 Grammys. There, the band won their first Grammy Award (for best pop performance by a group for "Hey Baby"). They were also nominated for best pop vocal album and best dance recording.
In 2004, No Doubt took home another Grammy — thanks to the success of their single "Underneath it All" from their "Rock Steady" album — and toured with another popular band, blink-182. The 25-day summer tour took Gwen Stefani across North America before she had to return to the studio to finalize her forthcoming debut solo album.
On Sept. 28, 2004, Gwen Stefani released "What You Waiting For?" as the lead single off her Nov. 11 debut solo album, "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." The song, which was written by Gwen and songwriter Linda Perry, was a powerful explosion of electro-pop that also featured a must-see music video that introduced the world to Gwen's favorite foursome: the Harajuku Girls. Nicknamed Love, Angel, Music and Baby (which inspired the name of her album), the four women were a critical part of Gwen's solo endeavor, appearing in all of her later music videos for the album and joining her at public events. Not everyone liked it: Gwen received backlash over her use of Japanese women as objects in her album marketing and music. Responding to claims that she was guilty of cultural appropriation, Gwen told Time in 2014, "There's always going to be two sides to everything. For me, everything that I did with the Harajuku Girls was just a pure compliment and being a fan. Seriously, that was all meant out of love."
As if winning a Grammy and dropping a hit single and a solo album wasn't enough, Gwen Stefani achieved another milestone in 2004 when she made her big-screen debut in the biopic "The Aviator." In the movie, Gwen plays Hollywood film siren Jean Harlow, whose career was launched in 1929 when pilot, business magnate and burgeoning filmmaker Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) signed her to his production company. Although Gwen's part in the film was small, she managed to wow audiences with her incredibly realistic transformation.
Gwen Stefani released "Hollaback Girl," her third single from the album "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." in March 2005. The song — written by Gwen, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo reportedly as a clapback to Courtney Love, who'd called Gwen a "cheerleader" — went on to become the top-selling single of her career. The song hit No. 1 on numerous charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 and U.S. Pop 100, and went platinum in the States and Australia, selling more than 1.5 million copies. It also earned the distinction of being the first song to ever sell more than 1 million copies digitally.
Following the success of her first solo album, Gwen Stefani embarked on her first ever solo tour, the "Harajuku Lovers" tour. The 37-date concert trek — during which Gwen announced that she was pregnant with her first child with husband Gavin Rossdale — grossed $22 million after kicking off on Oct. 16, 2005, with opening acts Ciara, M.I.A. and the Black Eyed Peas.
On Nov. 22, 2005, Gwen Stefani received her first and so far only American Music Award, for favorite pop/rock female artist. During her acceptance speech, Gwen was clearly caught off guard, telling the audience she was backstage and didn't even know what award she won, but thanked everyone, especially her fans, for making it happen.
Although Gwen Stefani had previously indicated that her solo music career was a limited experiment and that she had every intention of returning to No Doubt, she seemed to reconsider following the massive success of her first album. On Dec. 1, 2006 — just six months after giving birth to son Kingston Rossdale — Gwen released her sophomore solo album, "Sweet Escape," which featured hit singles like "Wind It Up" and the title track. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum in America, Britain and Australia. The immense success of the album made fans wonder if Gwen was doubting a return to No Doubt after all.
On April 21, 2007, Gwen Stefani embarked on her "The Sweet Escape" tour in support of her sophomore solo album of the same name. Unlike her previous "Harajuku Lovers" tour, this show went worldwide with performances at 98 venues across North and South America, Canada, Australia, Asia and Europe.
After conquering music, film and fashion, Gwen Stefani took her career aromatic with the launch of her first fragrance, L by L.A.M.B. Partnering with cosmetics company Coty Inc., Gwen's floral perfume, which included notes of fresh pear and white freesia, became available worldwide in September 2007.
Gwen Stefani expanded her fashion brand with a wildly successful line for kids, Harajuku Mini for Target, in November 2011. She's seen here walking the runway with sons Kingston and Zuma Rossdale at the launch party in Los Angeles.
Eight years after going solo and 11 years after releasing their last album together, Gwen Stefani reunited with No Doubt once again in 2012. The band members spent four years working behind the scenes to create new music for their sixth studio album, "Push and Shove." The album, which featured the singles "Settle Down" and "Looking Hot," debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, but wasn't as critically or commercially successful as their previous works. Following the Nov. 2, 2007, video release for "Looking Hot," the band was criticized for cultural appropriation and caricature-like depictions of Native Americans. In response to the backlash, the band pulled the video the next day and issued an apology on their website, saying "As a multi-racial band, our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures. Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history. Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately… We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video. Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are."
Following her reunion with No Doubt and a week-long Los Angeles residency, "Seven Night Stand," at the end of 2012, Gwen Stefani went back to the studio to work on new solo music. In 2014, she released two non-album singles: "Baby Don't Lie" and "Spark the Fire." Despite fans being thirsty for new songs, neither track was able to break into the top 10 and both were critically panned for being "bland" and uninspired. The songs were meant to be lead singles off a planned third studio album to come out in December that year, but their lack of success caused the project to be postponed indefinitely.
On Sept. 22, 2014 — just seven months after the birth of her and Gavin Rossdale's third child, son Apollo — Gwen Stefani made her debut as a coach on Season 7 of "The Voice." The move to TV allowed Gwen to spend time with her longtime friend and collaborator — and fellow "The Voice" coach — Pharrell Williams. She also got to know fellow coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. She later returned to the NBC music competition series for seasons 9, 12 and 17.
Nearly a year after Gwen Stefani joined "The Voice," fans were shocked to learn in August 2015 that she'd filed for divorce, seeking to end her 13-year marriage to her love of nearly two decades, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale. Soon after the announcement, headlines revealed that Gavin was in the midst of a nanny cheating scandal. Using her heartbreak to fuel her next work, Gwen returned to the studio where she began recording new music. Two months after filing for divorce, the pop star released "Used to Love You," which featuring heartbreaking lyrics like "I don't know why I cry / But I think it's 'cause I remembered for the first time / Since I hated you / That I used to love you."
In 2015, Gwen Stefani added two new credits to her resume: writer and producer. On Nov. 1, her new Japanese-inspired animated series "Kuu Kuu Harajuku" debuted on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. featuring familiar characters: G, Love, Angel, Music and Baby — members of the band HJ5 — as they attempted (but always failed) to perform a live show. The series ran for three seasons before going on hiatus in 2018.
Gwen Stefani's long-awaited third solo studio album, "This is What the Truth Feels Like," finally dropped on March 18, 2016. The album was inspired by two major events in Gwen's life: her painful divorce from Gavin Rossdale and her unexpected new romance with recently divorced "The Voice" co-star Blake Shelton. Along with the debut single "Used to Love You," Gwen also released "Make Me Like You" and "Misery" as singles, which were both well-received by fans and critics. The album landed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and proved Gwen was still relevant as a solo artist.
Gwen Stefani goes country! The pop star crossed musical genres and recorded the May 2016 duet "Go Ahead and Break My Heart" with boyfriend Blake Shelton for his 10th studio album, "If I'm Honest." The track — which Blake has said is about insecurities and trust issues both he and Gwen had when they started dating in 2015 — marked their first collaboration. They've since performed the hit, which was well-received by critics, on "The Voice," at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and on various tour stops.
Gwen Stefani returned to the studio to record her first holiday album, "You Make It Feel Like Christmas," in 2017. The title track — another duet with boyfriend Blake Shelton — debuted on Sept. 22, 2017, and was followed by the album on Oct. 6. Mixing classic holiday hits like "White Christmas" and "Santa Baby" with new tracks such as "Under the Christmas Lights" and "Christmas Eve," the album was a surprise hit, reaching No. 16 on the Billboard 200. It also led Gwen to star in her own TV holiday special, also titled "You Make it Feel Like Christmas" (seen here), which aired on Dec. 12, 2017.
More than 30 years into her career, Gwen Stefani did what any superstar would: She landed a Las Vegas concert series. She kicked off her "Just a Girl" residency at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino's Zappos Theater on June 27, 2018, and performed 16 shows that year, followed by another 29 in 2019. Although her residency was initially set to end in November 2019, Gwen later announced she would perform a final 16 shows beginning on Feb. 7, 2020. The decision to extend her residency means Gwen won't be returning for Season 18 of "The Voice" in 2020.