Sugar Ray formed in 1992 calling themselves The Shrinky Dinx, later having to change it (upon threat of lawsuit from the Milton Bradley Company, maker of the Shrinky Dinks toy) to Sugar Ray after the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. The debut album, Lemonade and Brownies, was released in 1995, though it failed to produce a major hit. Their early work was strongly influenced by funk metal, pop, and alternative rock.
Sugar ray’s first mainstream hit came in the summer of 1997 with their song “Fly”, which was released on the album Floored and featured reggae artist Super Cat. “Fly” was notable for not sounding anything at all like the rest of the tracks on the album and received frequent radio play. Although the single was something of an anomaly, those familiar with the first album would have recognized the obvious R&B influence on the band. As a result of the success of “Fly”, Floored sold extremely well and was certified double platinum. However, by the end of 1997, critics skeptical that Sugar Ray could put out another successful song labeled them a one-hit wonder. The same year, Sugar Ray was featured in the movie ‘Father’s Day’, starring Billy Crystal and Robin Williams.
Their 1999 album 14:59 was the sardonic reply to these accusations, with the title implying that their fifteen minutes of fame were not quite up—their “fame clock” reading 14:59. “Every Morning”, which received widespread comparisons to “Fly”, rose to similar success during the spring of 1999, reaching #3 in the US. Their follow-up single “Someday” received extensive airplay later that year as well and peaked at #7 in the US. 14:59 outsold its predecessor and was certified triple platinum.
Their 2001 self-titled album Sugar Ray produced another hit with “When It’s Over” and reached the same level as their previous singles. Sugar Ray’s 2003 effort In the Pursuit of Leisure, and the first single from that album, “Mr. Bartender (It’s So Easy)” received a lukewarm reception. In 2005, Sugar Ray released a greatest hits album, with two new songs, including the single “Shot of Laughter”.
As of January 2006, Sugar Ray was released from their contract with Atlantic Records. The band is currently taking personal time off and writing new material. The official web site announced “our new song “Into Yesterday” due out on the Surf’s Up movie soundtrack June 5, 2007″ and “Surf’s Up: A True Story; Hang Six In Theaters June 8, 2007.” The band has been touring Asia, most recently in Singapore on 8 August 2007 where they headlined SingFest, the nation’s first international music festival. On March 26, 2008, Sugar Ray’s Myspace hinted a future announcement that would make “all fans very very happy”. The news was announced on May 16, 2008, that Sugar Ray was entering the studio on May 19, 2008, to record their first album since 2003. They stated that they signed a new record deal with Pulse Recordings with distribution through Fontana/Universal, and that the album should be out by the end of 2008. Sugar Ray appeared on the May 18, 2008, on the season 3 finale of American Dad, entitled “Spring Break-Up”, as themselves, playing “Fly” at a Spring Break party.