Against a backdrop of swaggeringly macho heavy metallers and grizzled grunge bands, 10,000 Maniacs brought a brand of elegant, folksy, alternative rock to the US music scene in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Named after a cheaply made horror film, the band originally formed in New York in 1981 with 17-year-old college student Natalie Merchant as their singer and trawled the country playing gigs and living out of a tent. Merchant's elegant, rootsy, lyrics propelled the band, and their independently released debut Secrets Of The I Ching (1983) caught the ear of Radio 1 DJ John Peel, promoting the track My Mother The War. Cult success in England led to a breakthrough in the US with third album In My Tribe (1987) and, alongside a steady surge of indie pop acts such as REM, the band began to be accepted on the US rock scene. Blind Man's Zoo (1989) brought their biggest success, shooting to Number 13 in the US charts and they scored a small hit with the single Trouble Me; but soon after fifth album Our Time In Eden (1992) Merchant announced she was leaving to go solo. Her final contribution was to an acoustic album recorded for the show MTV Unplugged (1993) which became hugely popular, selling 3 million copies, including a hit with a cover of Patti Smith's Because The Night. The band ploughed on although their two albums since Merchant's departure, Love Among The Ruins (1997) and The Earth Pressed Flat (1999) made little impact.