Pouring his heart out in catchy jazz-pop piano ballads, Bruce Hornsby's sophisticated, sentimental songwriting made him the thinking man's crooner on the late 1980s, and led to album sales of over 10 million. Born in Williamsburg, Virginia, Hornsby started out playing Allman Brothers covers with his elder bother at college, before teaming up with his younger sibling John and moving to Los Angeles to work as songwriters and session musicians. He landed a deal with RCA in 1985 with his backing band Range and found huge success with second single The Way It Is. Written in reference to the American Civil Rights Movement and arranged around an iconic, cascading piano riff, the track became his great signature anthem, reaching Number 1 in the US charts and later sampled on Tupac Shakur's posthumous hit Changes. He went on to win the first of three Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, and albums The Way It Is (1986) and Scenes From The Southside (1988) both made the US top five, while Mandolin Rain and The Valley Road also became big hit singles. Hornsby began playing with his boyhood heroes the Grateful Dead in 1988 and inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and Jerry Garcia appeared on Hornsby's album Harbor Lights (1993) alongside Phil Collins, Bonnie Raitt and Branford Marsalis. He also recruited fans Sting, Eric Clapton and Elton John to play on Halcyon Days (2004) and received great acclaim for his bluegrass collaboration with Ricky Skaggs in 2007.