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Robert James “Bob” Ritchie is known best as Kid Rock and was born on 14 January 1971 in Michigan. His father, William Ritchie dealt in cars and owned a numbers of dealerships. He has an older brother (William) and sister (Carol) and a younger sister (Jill). As a child, Kid Rock developed an interest in rap and pop music and developed an interest in break dancing. At eleven, he joined a crew called the “Furious Funkers,” and became a self-taught DJ. After graduating high school, he joined Time Productions performing at basement parties for $30.00 per night. He earned the name “Kid Rock” from his listeners who loved watching that “white kid rock.”
Kid Rock started rapping and eventually joined “The Beast Crew,” a local hip-hop group. As time progressed, Kid Rock became friends with D-Nice, the producer of Boogie Down Productions. Opening for Boogie Down, an A&R representative from Jive Reocrds saw Kid Rock perform at D-Nice’s invitation. This meeting led to a demo deal, and then a full recording contract. He signed against his parents’ wishes at seventeen.
In November 1990, Rock launched his first album titled “Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast.” A WSNY radio station playing a song "Yo-Da-Lin In the Valley" and was fined $23,700 by FCC, earning the album a degree of infamous notoriety. However, the album did not do well and in 1991, he was released from contract with Jive Records and he returned to Detroit.
Later that year, Continuum Records picked him and with them, he released his second album “The Polyfuze Method” at the end of March 1993. “Back from the Dead” and “Balls in Your Mouth” are two tracks which got success from his second album. The official single “U Don’t Know Me” failed to chart and only fifteen thousand copies sold. Later in 1993, he released an EP, “Fire it Up” that would only become a hit six years later. Disappointed, Continuum released him from the contract in 1994.
When Rock moved back to Detroit, his on and off screen relationship with Kelly South made him a father to Robert James Ritchie. At that time, Kid Rock brought his backup band, “Twisted Brown Trucker” to life recruiting friends and acquaintances as they recorded the material and finally released the fourth album “Early Morning Stoned Pimp” in early 1996. It sold six thousand copies out of the trunk of his car and re-released “Polyfuze Method” as “The Polyfuze Method Revisited” in 1997 with two additional tracks.
He signed with Atlantic records in 1997 following a two song demo tape for $100,000 and despite conflict between Kid Rock and the Atlantic management, the album was completed on schedule, releasing his fifth album “Devil Without a Cause,” behind the single “Welcome 2 The Party.” The 1998 Warped Tour stimulated regional interest, making Kid Rock becoming a local rock staple and by early 1999, his fifth album had gone gold. The single “Bawitdaba,” released in May saw the album go platinum by June. He made his career defining performance at Woodstock 1999 and by the time the final single “Wasting Time” was released, the album was certified 11 times platinum in April 2003. Kid Rock was nominated for the “Best New Artist” in 2000 Grammy Awards, which he lost to Aguilera. At that time he was also nominated for Bawitadaba for “Best Hard Rock Performance,” which he lost to Metallica.
In the year 2000, Kid Rock released another album. “History of Rock” was a collection of rerecorded songs from his second and third album along with two news tracks. One of the new tracks, “American Bad Ass” was released as a single. Kid Rock joined the Summer Sanitarium Tour from 30 June until 22 August 2000. In 2001, Kid Rock inducted Aerosmith into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
His performance at American Bad Ass again nominated for Best Hard Rock performance but lost to “Guerilla Radio” by Rage Against the Machine. “Cocky” was the follow up to “Devil Without a Cause” was released in November. The album’s singles, a departure from his standard rap rock sound, did poorly, failing to chart. Kid Rock made a radio version of “Picture” with Allison Moorer, which opened a new path for him. “Pictures” peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and considered the most successful song of Rock.
In the year of 2003, he returned with a new album “Eponymous.” It stripped away his classic sound, opting for southern rock and country ballads. The lead single, a cover of “Feel like Makin’ Love” would sell only 1.4 million copies, his worst selling studio album.
In November 2007, “Rock n Roll Jesus” was released and it was his first album to rock its way to number one. More than 172,000 copies of this album were sold in the first week, and he made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine for the second time. The album remained in the top 10 for 17 weeks. Rock n Roll Jesus was be certified triple platinum by RIAA on July 3 2009. He celebrated the event by headlining his largest concert to date with over 80,000 people in the audience on the weekened starting July 17.
In April 2010, Rock started the Born Free era with “The Chillin The Most Cruise” and later he hosted the CMT awards in June and performed “Cowboy.” In November 2010, he released “Born Free,” his first album without a “parental advisory” sticker. The lead single by the same name, was the theme song to WWE’s Tribute to the Troops Special. The album went Gold in December.
On January 15 2011, Kid Rock celebrated his 40th birthday with a stunning performance in Ford Field, Detroit.