Rock Steady (album)

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For other meanings: See Rocksteady (disambiguation)

Rock Steady is the fifth album by ska punk band No Doubt, released in 2001. Unlike the band's previous albums, Rock Steady showed heavy experimentation with reggae and 80s inspired dance music. It would go on to become a commercial comeback for the band, scoring the hits "Hey Baby", "Hella Good" and "Underneath it All" as well as surpassing sales of their previous offering, 2000's Return of Saturn. On the album, the band worked with several collaborators, ranging from The Neptunes ("Hella Good" and "In My Head") to Prince ("Waiting Room"). The album was nominated for the "Best Pop Vocal Album" at the 2003 Grammy Awards. In 2003, the album was ranked number 316 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Background and production

Much of the music from Rock Steady is inspired by Jamaican dancehall from aftershow parties as well as music from nightclubs that the band had attended while writing the album.[1] To produce the album, they traveled to Jamaica, where they "spent most of the time swimming and getting sunburned and drinking and smoking and recording a little music".[2] Many of the sounds come from electronic keyboard effects and what guitarist Tom Dumont referred to as "just twiddling knobs",[1] and the instrumentation contains less guitar and bass guitar than the band's previous work.[3] Most of the songs also contain backmasked messages.[1]

Critical and commerical reception

The album received a generally positive review from critics. Rolling Stone called it "impressive to hear No Doubt summon the musical imagination to transcend the formula that used to imprison them",[4] and Stephen Erlewine of All Music Guide referred to it as "a good, hooky, stylish mainstream pop record".[5] Blender called it "an intermittently engaging but overall shapeless collection…the product of happy-go-lucky musicians who once cavorted in bad track suits but now spend their days commuting between London, Jamaica and Los Angeles seeking the wisdom of expensive studio geeks."[6] Slant Magazine included it on its list of 50 Essential Pop Albums, commenting that "not since Blondie…has a rock act so effortlessly, irreverently, and fashionably skidded across so many different genre boundaries at one time."[7] LAUNCHcast said that "even with so many producers attempting to steer this bus along the superstar highway, they end up in a better-than-most parking lot".[8]

The album sold approximately seven million copies.[9] The album spent seventy-six non-consecutive weeks inside the Billboard 200.

Track listing

  1. "Intro" – 0:27
  2. "Hella Good" (Chad Hugo, Tony Kanal, Gwen Stefani, Pharrel Williams) – 4:03
  3. "Hey Baby" [featuring Bounty Killer] (Tom Dumont, Kanal, Prince, Stefani) – 3:27
  4. "Making Out" (Dumont, Kanal, Stefani) – 4:15
  5. "Underneath It All" [featuring Lady Saw] (Stefani, Stewart) – 5:02
  6. "Detective" (Dumont, Kanal, Stefani) – 2:54
  7. "Don't Let Me Down" (Dumont, Kanal, Stefani) – 4:08
  8. "Start the Fire" (Dumont, Kanal, Stefani) – 4:12
  9. "Running" (Kanal, Stefani) – 4:02
  10. "In My Head" (Dumont, Kanal, Stefani) – 3:25
  11. "Platinum Blonde Life" (Dumont, Kanal, Stefani) – 3:28
  12. "Waiting Room" (Prince, Dumont, Kanal, Stefani) – 4:27
  13. "Rock Steady" (Kanal, Stefani) – 5:24


No Doubt

Additional personnel


  • Producers: No Doubt, Clevie, Nellee Hooper, Ric Ocasek, William Orbit, Prince, Sly & Robbie, Steely, Philip Steir, Mark "Spike" Stent
  • Executive producers: Brian Jobson, Wayne Jobson
  • Engineers: Rory Baker, Hans Buff, Daniel Chase, Greg Collins, Count, Karl Derfler, Tom Dumont, Simon Gogerly, Alain Johannes, Tony Kanal, Tkae Mendez
  • Assistant engineers: Jeff Kanan, Anthony Kilhoffer, Steve Mandel, Ian Rossiter, Juan Pablo Velasco, Jennifer Young
  • Mixing: Matt Fields, Mark "Spike" Stent, David Treahearn, Keith Uddin
  • Mixing programmers: John Gould, Wayne Wilkins
  • Mastering: Brian Gardner
  • A&R: Mark Williams
  • Programming: Ned Douglas, Tom Dumont, Sly Dunbar, Tony Kanal, Sean Spuehler, Gwen Stefani, Philip Steir
  • Art conception: Gwen Stefani
  • Design: Jolie Clemens
  • Layout design: Jolie Clemens
  • Photography: Shawn Mortenson, Frank Ockenfels
  • Package coordinators: Cindy Cooper, Ekaterina Kenney


Chart (2001) Peak
Billboard 200[10] 9
Chart (2002) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart[11] 12
Finnish Singles Chart[12] 34
New Zealand Singles Chart[13] 17
Swedish Singles Chart[14] 52
Swiss Singles Chart[15] 33
Chart (2003) Peak
French Singles Chart[16] 79


Grammy Awards

Year Winner Category
2003 "Hey Baby" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
2004 "Underneath It All" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal