Born in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada, Ellen Reid provides backing vocals, piano, keyboards and accordion for the Crash Test Dummies; a Canadian folk rock/alternative rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba, widely known for their 1993 single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm."
On the band's fourth album, Reid sang lead vocals on "Just Chillin'," "Get You in the Morning" and "A Little Something." She also shared lead vocals with Brad Roberts on the single B-sides, "Filter Queen" and "Party's Over." She also sang lead during some concerts on "If I Had My Way" and on the hit, "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead," a cover of the XTC song.
In 2001, Reid released her debut solo album, Cinderellen.
Reid took part in 2002 in the recording of the Crash Test Dummies' Christmas album, entitled Jingle All the Way. In 2004 Reid was also involved in the recording of the Dummies' Songs on the Unforgiven album.
The band is most identifiable through Brad Roberts who sings most of the leads and plays guitar because of his distinctive bass-baritone voice. During its heyday, the band consisted of Roberts and Reid, Brad's brother Dan Roberts on bass, Benjamin Darvill on harmonica and mandolin, and Mitch Dorge on drums. Only Brad Roberts and Ellen Reid have appeared on every album.
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In the mid-1980s, Riddell joined with Brad Roberts to form the bar band Bad Brad Roberts and the St. James Rhythm Pigs. Over time, the band evolved into the Crash Test Dummies, a name suggested by a friend of the band who was in medical school after the diagnostic mannequin. Ellen Reid and Benjamin Darvill became permanent additions.
The band signed with BMG Records. They first began to achieve commercial success in Canada with the release of The Ghosts that Haunt Me in 1991. The album eventually reached sales of 400,000 in Canada, largely due to the overwhelming popularity of the hit single "Superman's Song," which earned the band the 1991 Juno Award for Group of the Year.
The band did not receive much international recognition until the 1993 release of their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. Particularly instrumental in increasing the band's exposure in the American market was the appearance of a new type of radio format, adult album-oriented alternative rock (AAA). These stations put the first single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" in high rotation and the song peaked at #4 in the US Hot 100. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" did even better in the United Kingdom, where it was a #2 hit, and Australia where it peaked at #1.
By mid-1994 the album had passed the platinum sales mark of one million copies sold in the U.S. and had also earned the band three Grammy nominations and three more Juno nominations. To date, God Shuffled His Feet has sold more than five and a half million copies worldwide.
In January 1995, the band released "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" as a single and on the soundtrack of the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels comedy Dumb and Dumber. The single, credited to The Crash Test Dummies and Ellen Reid, charted at No. 30 in the UK singles chart and was a #4 hit in Canada.
In 1996, the Dummies' released their third album, A Worm's Life, followed by Give Yourself A Hand three years later. Give Yourself A Hand, featured Ellen Reid singing lead vocals on three tracks, and Brad Roberts singing in a falsetto on several others. The lead single ("Keep A Lid On Things") was a top 10 hit in Canada.
After the less-than-stellar commercial success of both A Worm's Life and Give Yourself a Hand, Brad Roberts formed his own independent label "Cha-Ching Records" - later renamed to "Deep Fried Records."
After suffering a near-fatal car accident in the fall of 2000, Brad met local "lobster fishermen" who were also musically inclined - Kent Greene, Dave Morton, and Danny MacKenzie - in Argyle, Nova Scotia. Together, they recorded the bulk of I Don't Care That You Don't Mind, which was to have been Brad's first solo album. After touring together, the Crash Test Dummies name was put on the record. This album saw the Dummies returning to their acoustic roots.
Near the end of 2001, some new Dummies solo albums were released. First, Ellen Reid launched her debut solo effort, Cinderellen. Brad, Dan, and Ellen returned as Crash Test Dummies at the end of 2002 with Jingle All The Way, a long-rumoured Christmas album.
In 2003, Puss 'n' Boots was released. Much like I Don't Care, the album began life as a Brad Roberts solo project. Ellen sang backing vocals and Dan played bass. Songs of the Unforgiven, the eighth studio album under the Crash Test Dummies name, was recorded not long after Puss 'n' Boots.
On November 11, 2008, Roberts announced on the band's website that he and Ellen Reid are presently recording a new album tentatively titled "Toys." He added Ellen Reid will feature as lead vocalist on one track, which he said was "achingly beautiful." In July 2009, the title of the album was renamed from "Toys" to Oooh La La.
Oooh La La was released on May 11, 2010. The album's release was accompanied by the band touring in an "Acoustic Trio" format consisting of Roberts and Ellen Reid, accompanied by either Stuart Cameron or Murray Pulver on guitar. On April 19, 2011, the band released Demo-litions: Cast-off Recordings 1996-97 featuring previously unreleased demos of songs written during the recording of Give Yourself a Hand.