Kid Rock's "Picture" Was Almost Blurred by Record Business Drama
When Kid Rock released "Picture" as a single in the winter of 2002, it forced a lot of people to change the way they heard him. The Detroit-raised musician had kicked around the music business for nearly a decade before breaking through with 1998's Devil Without a Cause, a heady mix of hip-hop and thrashing rock that sold 14 million copies over its first few years of release.
Even rap/rock was too broad a brush to paint the man behind "Bawitdaba," "Cowboy" and "Only God Knows Why." He had a pronounced love for country and soul music, and on his next proper solo album, 2001's Cocky, he set out to prove he was more than a mouth and an attitude. "Picture" was perfect proof: a bittersweet heartache ballad co-written and performed with Sheryl Crow. It was so deeply felt, it fueled rumors that the pair were romantically involved. (Rock was dating actress Pamela Anderson at the time.)
But "Picture" almost didn't develop as smoothly as intended. Crow's label, A&M Records, didn't take too well the idea to release a single of hers on another label (Rock was signed to Atlantic at the time). So they blocked its release, and Rock was forced to re-record Crow's vocals for the commercial single with Oscar-nominated country singer Allison Moorer.
Then, a funny thing happened to the man with a notorious disregard for the rules: radio programmers liked his and Crow's version on the album so much, they simply started playing it anyway. Listeners couldn't contain their enthusiasm, and when the song eventually reached a pop chart peak of No. 4 - Rock's highest by far, and Crow's second highest after breakthrough "All I Wanna Do" - the Billboard charts credited "Picture" to "Kid Rock featuring Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer."
Still, it was half Crow's song, and when a video was released, it was her singing opposite the American Bad Ass himself. The success of "Picture" helped the public see a different side of Kid Rock, pushed Crow further in the direction of Nashville through her career, and was also nominated by the CMA Awards for Musical Event of the Year in 2003.