Sheryl Crow has taken to social media from her sickbed to tell Taylor Swift fans that she didn’t mean to disparage the singer when she said she didn’t know what “the big stink” was in the controversy over Swift’s master recordings.
“Stink” was just a figure of speech and “a wrong word choice,” Crow said in a video she put on Twitter. And while some might have expected her to side as a matter of course with Big Machine Records, as a relatively recent signee to Swift’s former label, Crow maintained that when she told Andy Cohen she didn’t know what Swift’s objections were about, she truly meant she hadn’t read up on or thought much about the issue.
“If you listen to the whole clip, I explain that I live with my head in a big hole, and don’t know the details,” she tweeted. “Don’t go for the clickbait. And stop pitting women against each other.”
The previous night, Crow had cut a concert slightly short at L.A.’s Theatre at Ace Hotel, saying she was unexpectedly suffering lingering effects from pneumonia, noting that she was still on a steroid for the condition. Thursday morning, she woke up to not only that but an additional malady: the wrath of some Swifties who felt she was being patronizing toward their hero’s principled stance, after remarks she’d made on Cohen’s show resulted in multiple news stories and a social media dust-up.
“Hi. I’m kind of under the weather today,” she said in her video message. “But it‘s been brought to my attention that some people think I was negative about Taylor Swift on the Andy Cohen show, and that was taken totally out of context. To be honest I don’t usually weigh in about other celebrities because I don’t keep up with celebrity news. So when I said I didn’t know what the stink was about, I meant I didn’t know what the situation was about. You know, I totally support Taylor. I think she does great humanitarian work, she’s outspoken politcally, and she’s an awesome songwriter. So all the stuff about the masters, I don’t know what her situation was. I know my masters have changed quite a few times. But I wouldn’t weigh in on what her situation is, because I realy didn’t know. So for all you guys out there that think that ‘stink’ was a negative word, it was totally a wrong word choice. So, moving on.”
The controversy arose when Crow appeared on “Watch What Happens Live” and was asked about Swift’s ire over having her catalog falling into the hands of proclaimed nemesis Scooter Braun when he acquired Big Machine. Swift insisted she should have been allowed an opportunity to purchase her master recordings independent of the sale. (Big Machine has countered that there were actually negotiations for that to happen, something Swift denies.)
“I’m gonna be honest with you,” Crow said on Cohen’s show. “I live with my head in a big hole. I stay out of that world. … I will say one thing about masters. I signed with a record label 30 years ago and within five years it became owned by Interscope, and then Interscope got bought by Universal… These things, that’s just the way the business goes. … It’s totally not unusual for your masters to change hands like 9,000 times. So I don’t know what the big stink was. I’m out of the loop. I don’t really know.”
Shortly before issuing the statement, Crow canceled her second sold-out night at Theatre at Ace Hotel, apologizing and saying the Thursday night show would be rescheduled.
Variety was on hand for Crow’s show Wednesday night, when she appeared to be in high spirits and completely flawless voice for the first hour and a half of the set. As she neared the finish line, singing “Run Baby Run” with guest harmonies from Lucius, a rasp appeared in her voice that felt appropriate to the song but, as it turned out, was not intentional. Crow said she suddenly lacked lung power and, although she’d never done it before, would have to halt the show. But to cheers from the crowd, she soldiered on through “Don’t” — a song from her new album, “Threads” — and “If It Makes You Happy,” only to apologetically call it a night after requiring the crowd’s assistance on the latter hit’s famous high notes.
She’ll play a makeup date for Thursday’s show on Dec. 4. No announcements have been made about whether she’ll be able to keep her upcoming dates Sunday at the Del Mar Racetrack near San Diego or Sept. 23-24 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.