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Letters to Cleo

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Boston, United States (1990 – 2000)

Letters to Cleo were an band from Boston, Massachusetts (although they originally started out as a band). The band was made up of members Michael Eisenstein, Kay Hanley, Stacy Jones, Greg McKenna, Scott Riebling, and Tom Polce. Their name came from the fact that Hanley had a pen pal named Cleo when she was younger, although the letters she wrote would often be returned. Hanley kept them in a box under her bed marked “Letters to Cleo”, and happened to stumble across the box as the band was attempting to think of a name for itself.

The band was formed in 1990 by Greg Mckenna and Kay Hanley, from ashes of their former band, Rebbecca Lula. After numerous member changes, the classic Letters to Cleo line-up was solidified. They included Hanley and Mckenna, Mike Eisenstein on guitar, Stacy Jones on drums and Scott Riebling on bass. After years of playing the Boston club circuit, including TT The Bears Place and The Rathskellar, Letters released their first full length record, Aurora Gory Alice on CherryDisc in 1993.

The album received extensive airplay around the region and after a much hyped show at South by Southwest in Austin, Letters to Cleo signed a major label record deal with Giant Records and Aurora Gory Alice was re-released worldwide.

They had their first big hit single with “Here & Now” and the song would later appear on the Melrose Place soundtrack, where it got most of its exposure. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Singles chart. Appearances on Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart followed.

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