She grew up in a rural Missouri town and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1984 with a degree in classical music.
Her first job out of college was teaching music at an elementary school in St. Louis.
In 1986, she moved to Los Angeles, where she waited tables before landing a gig as a backup singer on Michael Jackson's Bad tour.
She sang in jingles for McDonald's. Her line was "It's a good time for the great taste of McDonalds."
She was a backup singer on tours for George Harrison, Joe Cocker, and Rod Stewart before starting her solo career.
She gained a lot of exposure when she opened for The Eagles on their 1994 reunion tour. She was a backup singer on Don Henley's album The End Of The Innocence.
In 1996 Kevin Gilbert, her former boyfriend and songwriting partner, died of autoerotic asphyxiation, a fetish where people cut off their air supply to get sexual pleasure. It is rumored that this is how Michael Hutchince from INXS died.
Crow is good friends with Stevie Nicks, and inducted Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 2005, she and cycling legend Lance Armstrong announced their engagement. In early 2006, they called it off.
Her father was a trumpet player and her mother played piano and sang. Sheryl recalled to The Guardian: "My earliest, most vivid memories are of them coming home with their friends and playing records – Stan Getz, Stan Kenton, Ella Fitzgerald – and me and my sisters sleeping out on the stairs so we could hear them."
She dated Eric Clapton for a while. He appeared on her album Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live From Central Park in 1999, around the time of their affair. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
Sheryl Crow's 2002 backstage rider contains day-to-day instructions on alcohol in the dressing room – Monday is for Makers Mark Bourbon, Tuesday is for Bombay gin and Schweppes tonic, on Wednesday she would have Courvosier brandy, Thursday is for champagne, Friday is for Silver tequila and Margarita mix, on Saturday she drinks Absolut vodka with orange juice and Sunday is again a tequila and margarita day. 8 years later, in her 2010 tour rider, Crow's alcoholic demands have been reduced (vodka or tequila on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and tequila on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) to give way to her pro-environmental concerns. The rider contains an environmental portion "to be strictly followed and policed," designed to minimize "the overall environmental impact" of the tour. To that end, Crow demands only biodegradable cups and dinnerware be used by the caterer, as well as food that is "organic and purchased from local suppliers as much as possible" and water that "must be sourced from a local spring water vendor." She also asks for separate recycling bins for plastic, glass and paper and wants her buses and trucks to be fueled with bio diesel only. The rider includes "Venue greening suggestions" like using traditional bulbs instead of fluorescent, eco-friendly cleaning and bathroom products, and renewable energy sources. Her eco-friendly stance extends to paper products as Crow also asks for "disposable napkins made of 100% recycled fiber" and "post-consumer recycled toilet paper and paper towels."
She is the mother to two adopted sons. Wyatt Steven Crow was born on April 29, 2007 and Levi James Crow on April 30, 2010.
The first guitar that Crow ever brought was a 1964 Gibson Country and Western acoustic. She said in 2013: "Every song I've ever written that made me any money, I wrote on the same guitar. I call it The Moneymaker."
Crow's lawyer father defended civil rights and once prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan for ballot-rigging. He received death threats and had to sleep downstairs with a shotgun.