With slick pop, gritty rap, wild glam metal and noisy grunge populating the airwaves in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it’s pretty remarkable that two acoustic guitarists with a gift for great harmonies would have a place at the table. And yet, the Indigo Girls — Amy Ray and Emily Saliers — did have radio and MTV hits during this time frame and have since become legends in modern folk-rock.
The band started in 1985 when Ray and Saliers were students at Emory University in Atlanta. Both were Georgia natives and even went to elementary and high school together.
After touring on their own throughout the South and releasing their own records, the Indigo Girls were signed to Epic Records in 1988. Their self-titled debut for the label ended up being a hit and included the songs “Closer to Fine,” which also did well on MTV, and “Kid Fears,” which featured R.E.M. vocalist and fellow Georgian Michael Stipe.
From there, Ray and Saliers released many albums and went on successful tours around the world. Their first six albums all went either gold or platinum, while two of those albums — “Swamp Ophelia” in 1992 and “Shaming of the Sun” in 1997 — reached the top 10 on Billboard’s album chart.
A brief move to Hollywood Records for 2006’s album “Despite Our Differences” was a pit stop before the duo landed at Vanguard Records, the famous ’50s/’60s folk label that’s still in business. Indigo Girls have since released three albums with Vanguard, including their latest one in 2015, “One Lost Day.”
The group’s best-known songs include “Galileo,” “Ghost,” “Least Complicated,” “Shame on You” and “Peace Tonight.” They also made waves in 2006 when featured on pop-rock singer Pink’s “Dear Mr. President,” which protested the policies of then President George W. Bush.