About Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon is an American rock band that formed in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1999. The band is composed of brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill with their cousin Matthew Followill.
The band's early music was a blend of Southern rock and garage rock with blues influences, but it has gradually evolved throughout the years to include a variety of genres and a more alternative, arena rock sound. Kings of Leon achieved initial success in the United Kingdom with nine Top 40 singles, two BRIT Awards in 2008, and all three of the band's albums at the time peaked in the top five of the UK Albums Chart. Their third album, Because of the Times, also reached the number one spot.
After the release of Only by the Night in September 2008, the band achieved chart success in the United States. The singles "Sex on Fire", "Use Somebody", and "Notion" all peaked at number one on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album was their first Platinum-selling album in the United States, and was also the best-selling album of 2008 in Australia, being certified platinum nine times. The band's fifth album, Come Around Sundown, was released on October 18, 2010. Their sixth album, Mechanical Bull, was released on September 24, 2013. The seventh studio album, Walls, was released on October 14, 2016. Their eighth studio album, When You See Yourself, was released on March 5, 2021. The group has 12 Grammy Award nominations, including 4 wins.
The three Followill brothers grew up in Oklahoma and Tennessee with their father, Ivan Leon Followill, a United Pentecostal Church preacher, and their mother, Betty-Ann. Nathan was born in Oklahoma, and Jared and Caleb were born in and around Memphis, Tennessee. Jared attended Mount Juliet High School, while Matthew was born and raised in Mississippi. According to Rolling Stone magazine, "While Ivan preached at churches and tent revivals throughout Oklahoma and the Deep South, his boys attended services and were occasionally enlisted to "bang on some drums". They were either home-schooled by their mother, or enrolled in small parochial schools at this time. Except for a five-year period when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followills' childhoods were spent driving through the southern United States in a purple 1988 Oldsmobile, camping for a week or two wherever Ivan was scheduled to preach.
When the boys' father resigned from preaching and their parents divorced in 1997, Nathan and Caleb relocated to outside Nashville and originally embraced country music. While there, they met songwriter Angelo Petraglia, who helped the siblings hone their songwriting skills and introduced them to the musical influences of Thin Lizzy,the Rolling Stones and the Clash in particular. Jared, who had briefly attended public school, was more influenced by the music of the Pixies and the Velvet Underground. When he and their cousin Matthew also moved to Nashville in 1999, Kings of Leon was formed. They named the band after their grandfather Leon, who died in January 2014.
By 2002, Nathan and Caleb had received interest from a number of music labels and eventually signed with RCA Records, which initially insisted on putting a band together for the two of them. In an interview with Billboard, however, Nathan outlined how they told RCA, "We don't want to be Evan and Jaron. We're going to buy our little brother a bass, he's a freshman in high school. Caleb will teach himself the guitar, Matthew played guitar when he was 10 and I'll play the drums. They said, 'All right, we'll come down in one month and see you guys.'" Later in the interview Caleb admitted to the brothers "kidnapping" their cousin Matthew from his hometown in Mississippi for him to join the band. They told his mother that he was only going to be staying for a week but never allowed him to return home. "We locked ourselves in the basement with an ounce of marijuana and literally spent a month down there. My mom would bring us food down," added Nathan. "And at the end of that month the label people came and we had 'Molly's Chambers,' 'California Waiting,' 'Wicker Chair,' and 'Holy Roller Novocaine.'"
The band's first record, an EP entitled Holy Roller Novocaine, was released on February 18, 2003. At this stage, Jared was only 16 years old and had not yet learned to play the bass. The release of Holy Roller Novocaine gave the Kings of Leon a significant amount of exposure, receiving a 4/5 star rating from Rolling Stone magazine. All of the songs released on the EP were co-written by Angelo Petraglia, who also produced the record, and four of the five songs would later be released on Youth and Young Manhood. The versions of "Wasted Time" and "California Waiting" on the EP differ from their album versions, however, with the first having a more tense riff and different vocal style than the same track off Youth and Young Manhood, the second being recorded in a rush to finish the EP. The EP also contains the song "Wicker Chair", while a track called "Andrea" was discarded before its release.
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