Skip to main content
Select Source:

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

Pop group

Even though Jellyfish only recorded two albums, the group's critical acclaim and fervent fanbase have made them icons in the field of 1990s power-pop music. Carving out a niche with groups like Redd Kross and The Posies in the mid 1990s, these groups put a new spin on their favorite retro pop bands, creating an underground genre that remains popular among pop music fans. People's Eric Levin noted the band's talent: "…Jellyfish is a band driven by an ebullient love of pop and rock's whole gonzo arsenal of expression and a determination to craft every song into a fully loaded, to-the-max, minimasterpiece." Unfortunately, Jellyfish never reached beyond cult status and after only four years as a group, they parted ways. However, singer Andy Sturmer and keyboardist Roger Manning, the creative and songwriting force behind Jellyfish, along with guitarist Jason Falkner, went on to pursue satisfying solo careers.

In the late 1980s, friends Roger Manning and Andy Sturmer played in a funk-pop group called Beatnik Beach. After leaving the group to start a new one, Manning and Sturmer began to look for a bass player and a guitarist for a power-pop group they would eventually call Jellyfish. At the time, young guitarist Jason Falkner played with the band Three O'Clock, but after Falkner heard what Sturmer and Manning were working on, he dropped the group and joined Jellyfish along with bass player, and Roger's brother, Chris, to start this new and effervescent band. The sound emerging from rehearsals had a kitschy retro flavor that blended together colorful '60s psychedelic pop music with '70s power-pop. Signed to Virgin offshoot Charisma Records for 1990's Bellybutton, Jellyfish captured the retro vibe with help from Bee Gees's Saturday Night Fever producer Albhy Galuten.

Adorned in floppy hats and bellbottoms on the album cover, sugary treats, flowers, and bubbles all around them, there was no doubt that Jellyfish were going for a free love meets bubblegum ambiance. But their music was more intelligent than their campy photos let on. Their songs may have played homage to '60s and '70s pop heroes, but if you listened closely, there was something new and fresh going on. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sturmer even admitted to their love of the '70s, as he stated, their "dream gig would be between Sweet and Badfinger."

Critics raved about Bellybutton, noting its Beatlesque styles. "Imagine McCartney at his most melodically ornate, but possessed of his onetime partner's cynical edges, and you've got Bellybutton, the greatest album Wings never made," Entertainment Weekly's Chris Willman wrote. The bouncy single "Baby's Coming Back" faired well on the Billboard charts and the album sent them off on a long tour across the United States, even playing with heroes Brian Wilson and Ringo Starr, the latter whom Sturmer and Manning collaborated with for an album (Starr's 1992 record Time Takes Time).

Reviews compared Sturmer and Manning to Lennon and McCartney of the Beatles and Jellyfish's love of the famous group could be heard all over Bellybutton, but after some time, the songwriting duo grew tired of the comparison. When they began to write songs for their sophomore album things would be different—but just slightly.

Before finishing songs for their second record however, both Chris Manning and Jason Falkner decided to quit the band. Falkner had wanted to begin a solo career before he had even joined Jellyfish and felt like now it was finally time to do so. Bassist Tim Smith joined the group full time and musicians Eric Dover, producer Jon Brion, and Lyle Workman became regular Jellyfish players and contributors to the band's 1993 record Spilt Milk.

Spilt Milk, produced by Sturmer and Manning along with Galuten, took Jellyfish's collective idols—the Beatles, the Beach Boys, ELO, and Queen, and rolled them into a rollicking, ambitious pop record. "On their second album … the band reached their peak," Keyboard magazine's Robbie Gennet wrote. "The production on this record is truly special, and listening in headphones better reveals the many subtle instrumentation and effects touches that are sprinkled liberally throughout."

Released in the middle of the grunge era, however, the lively and eclectic album failed to give the band a boost above the notice they had just begun to receive with Bellybutton. The record received glowing reviews from major magazines. Guitar Player even listed Spilt Milk in their list of the top 50 unsung albums that every guitarist should own. "This under-appreciated effort from pop-rock historians Jellyfish contains some of the best tunes that the Beatles, Badfinger, and the Beach Boys never wrote."

Though Bellybutton dented the Billboard charts, it was the beginning of the end for Jellyfish. In 1994, the band cited "creative differences" and disbanded Jellyfish. In the subsequent years, as Falkner released successful solo albums, Chris Manning and Sturmer became producers. Roger Manning and Eric Dover formed the power-pop group Imperial Drag and released one album before Roger Manning became a sought after session musician.

For the Record …

Members include Eric Dover (joined group, 1993), guitar; Jason Falkner (left group, 1993), guitar, bass, vocals; Chris Manning (left group, 1993), bass; Roger Manning , keyboards, vocals; Tim Smith (joined group, 1993), bass; Andy Sturmer , vocals, drums.

Group formed in San Francisco, CA, c. 1990; signed with Virgin Records imprint Charisma Records; released Bellybutton, 1990; members Jason Falkner and Chris Manning leave group, 1993; released sophomore and final album Spilt Milk, 1993; disbanded, 1994.

However, Jellyfish's underground legend in the pop world gained momentum as new bands began to cite the short-lived group as icons. In 1999, Charisma released Greatest, a 14-song collection of Jellyfish material that included some of the band's catchiest singles and even their takes on both a Wings and Badfinger song. 2002 saw the unexpected release of a Jellyfish box set titled Fan Club (a take on the band's song "Joining a Fan Club"). Released by Not Lame, the four-disc package assembled by the band and label contained the kind of material you wouldn't expect to find from a band that was only together for four years. The dozens of unreleased tracks only proved the devotion fans had retained to Jellyfish over the years.

Selected discography

Bellybutton, Charisma, 1990.

Spilt Milk, Charisma, 1993.

Greatest, Charisma, 1999.

Fan Club, Not Lame, 2002.

Sources

Books

Larkin, Colin, editor, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Macmillan, 1998.

Periodicals

Entertainment Weekly, May 17, 2002.

Guitar Player, April 2002, p. 88.

Keyboard, February 1, 2003, p. 18.

Los Angeles Times, October 25, 1990, p. 14.

People, April 26, 1993, p. 21.

Online

"Jellyfish," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (March 24, 2005).

ShannonMcCarthy

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jellyfish." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jellyfish." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jellyfish

"Jellyfish." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish, common name for the free-swimming stage (see polyp and medusa), of certain invertebrate animals of the phylum Cnidaria (the coelenterates). The body of a jellyfish is shaped like a bell or umbrella, with a clear, jellylike material filling most of the space between the upper and lower surfaces. A mouth is located in the center of the undersurface and tentacles dangle from the bell margin. Many jellyfish are colored, with pink or orange internal structures visible through the colorless or delicately tinted bell, and all are exquisitely designed; they are among the most beautiful of animal types.

Typically, jellyfish catch their prey with the aid of stinging cells located in the tentacles; many jellyfish can cause irritating or even dangerous stings to humans. Food is carried by the tentacles to the mouth, then is moved into the stomach and is distributed to the body through radial canals. Jellyfish move up and down by contracting and relaxing the bell, using muscles that circle the bell margin; they are carried horizontally by waves and currents.

Jellyfish of the class Hydrozoa are small, ranging from 1/8 in. (0.32 cm) to several inches in diameter, and usually have four tentacles. They have several (often four) unbranched radial canals and simple sense organs. In this group the polyp, or attached stage, is often larger and more conspicuous than the medusa.

Jellyfish of the class Scyphozoa, sometimes called true jellyfish, are larger and often have numerous tentacles; they have branched radial canals and complex sense organs. In this group the medusa is the prominent form and the polyp is reduced to a small larval stage. Scyphozoan jellyfish are commonly 3/4 in. to 16 in. (2–40 cm) in diameter, though one species of Cyanea found in cold northern seas may reach 6 ft (1.8 m) across and have tentacles over 100 ft (30 m) long. Aurelia, the flattened jellyfish common along North American coasts, is usually 1 ft (30 cm) or less across.

Tiny Craspedacusta, a hydrozoan jellyfish less than 1 in. (2.5 cm) long, occurs in freshwater lakes and ponds, but all other jellyfish are marine, living in ocean depths as well as along the coasts. The hydrozoan Physalia, or Portuguese man-of-war, is actually a large colony of modified individuals, some medusalike and some polyplike; a large gas-filled sac acts as a float for the colony. The tentacles of such a colony may extend 60 ft (18 m) into the water and can cause severe injuries to swimmers. Physalia is usually bright blue, sometimes with tints of pink and orange. The purple sail, Velella, a floating hydrozoan colony 1 to 3 in. (2.5–7.5 cm) across, may be blue or purple.

Jellyfish are classified in the phylum Cnidaria.

See L. Gershwin, Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean (2013).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jellyfish." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jellyfish." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jellyfish

"jellyfish." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish Marine coelenterate found in coastal waters and characterized by tentacles with stinging cells. The adult form is the medusa. It has a bell-shaped body with a thick layer of jelly-like substance between two body cell layers, many tentacles and four mouth lobes surrounding the gut opening. Diameter: 7.5–30.5cm (3in–12in). Class Scyphozoa.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jellyfish." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jellyfish." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jellyfish

"jellyfish." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jellyfish

Scyphozoa

Scyphozoa (jellyfish; phylum Cnidaria) Class of marine, mainly pelagic medusoids, usually with four-part radial symmetry, in which the polyp stage is reduced or absent. Their fossil record is in general scanty, owing to the absence of hard parts, but jellyfish formed an important component of the Precambrian Ediacaran fauna. See also MEDUSINA MAWSONI.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/scyphozoa

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/scyphozoa

jellyfish

jel·ly·fish / ˈjelēˌfish/ • n. (pl. same or -fishes) a free-swimming marine coelenterate (classes Scyphozoa and Cubozoa) with a jellylike bell- or saucer-shaped body that is typically transparent and has stinging tentacles around the edge.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jellyfish." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jellyfish." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish-0

"jellyfish." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish-0

Scyphozoa

Scyphozoa (jellyfish; phylum Cnidaria) A class of marine, mainly pelagic medusoids (see MEDUSA) which differ from the class Hydrozoa in possessing endodermal gastric tentacles, four-part radial symmetry, and gonads located in the gastric cavity. The polyp stage is reduced or absent.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/scyphozoa-0

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/scyphozoa-0

jellyfish

jellyfish See SCYPHOZOA.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jellyfish." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jellyfish." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish

"jellyfish." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish See Cnidaria.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jellyfish." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jellyfish." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish-0

"jellyfish." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish-0

Scyphozoa

Scyphozoa See Cnidaria.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/scyphozoa-1

"Scyphozoa." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/scyphozoa-1

jellyfish

jellyfish •raffish • damselfish •catfish, flatfish •garfish, starfish •redfish •elfish, selfish, shellfish •devilfish •crayfish, waifish •stiffish • kingfish • jellyfish •killifish • filefish • pipefish •white fish •offish, standoffish •codfish • dogfish • rockfish • crawfish •swordfish •blowfish, oafish •goldfish •bonefish, stonefish •wolfish •huffish, roughish, toughish •mudfish • monkfish • cuttlefish •lungfish • lumpfish • spearfish •angelfish • parrotfish • silverfish •haggish, waggish •vaguish •biggish, piggish, priggish, whiggish •doggish, hoggish •roguish, voguish •puggish, sluggish, thuggish •largish

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jellyfish." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jellyfish." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish

"jellyfish." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jellyfish