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Before These Crowded Streets
DMB - Before These Crowded Streets.jpg
Before These Crowded Streets cover
Studio album by Dave Matthews Band
Released April 28, 1998
Recorded The Plant Studios, Sausalito, California & Electric Lady Studios, New York City, NY
Genre Jazz fusion, Rock music
Length 70:14
Label RCA
Producer Steve Lillywhite
Professional reviews
  • Allmusic Template:Rating link
  • Entertainment Weekly (B-) link
  • Rolling Stone Template:Rating link
Dave Matthews Band chronology
Before These Crowded Streets

Before These Crowded Streets (or BTCS) is the third studio album by Dave Matthews Band, released on April 28, 1998. It is the last official album by the group to be produced by longtime producer Steve Lillywhite and their first album recorded at Record Plant Studios in Sausalito, California[1]. The album title is taken from the lyrics to the song "The Dreaming Tree." The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts after selling 421,000 units in its first week of release, which in turn knocked off the Titanic soundtrack from the top spot after a run of 16 consecutive weeks at #1.

Track listing

  1. "Pantala Naga Pampa"
  2. "Rapunzel"
  3. "The Last Stop"
  4. "Spoon"
  5. "Don't Drink The Water"
  6. "Stay (Wasting Time)"
  7. "Pig"
  8. "Halloween"
  9. "The Stone"
  10. "Crush"
  11. "The Dreaming Tree"


"MacHead" was a song recorded during the album's sessions; however it was never completed, therefore it didn't make the album. Producer Steve Lillywhite named the song, claiming it sounded like a cross between the sound of Paul McCartney and Radiohead. The song's existence is only known from an image of a piece of paper circulated on the internet with a list of the working titles of the other songs on this album.Template:Quote

Boyd's comments in 2006 refuted years of fan speculation regarding the identity of the song. Many fans familiar with the idea of Machead believed it had been developed, renamed, and added to the band's catalog. The most common speculation was that Machead developed into Bartender which debuted in January 1999 at a Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert, just months after the April '98 release of Before These Crowded Streets.

Songs cut from the album

Songs that were recorded during the sessions, but weren't included on the final cut:

  • "Help Myself" - Given to the Scream 2 soundtrack in lieu of "Halloween", which the band decided was too good to leave off the album. Long believed to have been recorded during the Crash sessions.
  • "Don't Burn the Pig" – Evolved into Pig during the sessions.
  • "Get in Line"
  • "MacHead"
  • "#40"



Additional personnel

  • The Lovely Ladies – background vocals
    • Tawatha Agee
    • Cindy Myzell
    • Brenda White-King
  • John D'earth – trumpet
  • Béla Fleck – banjo
  • Greg HowardChapman Stick
  • Kronos Quartet – strings
    • David Harrington – violin
    • John Sherba – violin
    • Joan Jeanrenaud – cello
    • Hank Dutt – viola
  • Alanis Morissette – vocals
  • Tim Reynoldsmandolin, electric guitar
  • Butch Taylor – organ, piano


  • Producer – Steve Lillywhite
  • Engineer – Stephen Harris
  • Assistant Engineer – Joel Courtright, John Seymour
  • Mastering – Ted Jensen
  • Mixing – Steve Lillywhite
  • Pre-Production – John Alagía
  • Orchestral Arrangements – John D'earth
  • Art Direction – Thane Kerner
  • Design – Thane Kerner
  • Photography – Ellen Von Unwerth


Year Chart Position
1998 The Billboard 200 1
1998 Top Canadian Albums 6
1999 Top Internet Albums 17



  1. Jacobson, Jeff. Dave Matthews Band: Busted Stuff Guitar and Vocal, 2002, page 2, Cherry Lane Music Company.
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