Who says rock ‘n’ roll is the devil’s music? As far as Kings of Leon are concerned, their upbringing as the sons (and cousin) of a travelling Pentecostal preacher was the starting point of a journey that’s taken them to the top of rock.
The Followill brothers – Caleb (vocals, guitar), Jared (bass) and Nathan (drums) grew up travelling around America’s deep south and were exposed to the Pentecostal Church’s strong musical tradition from an early age. After their father was stripped of his position and divorced the boys’ mother in 1997, the brothers Followill moved to Nashville and dabbled in various projects (Nathan and Jared had brief country music careers) before forming a band in with cousin Matthew in 2000.
After releasing the Holy Roller Novocaine EP through RCA in 2002, the band quickly finished debut album Youth and Young Manhood, which fast became the critics’ choice for 2003. Though Kings of Leon latched onto the ‘rock is back’ trend that dominated music at that time, a series of singles from the album ( Molly’s Chambers, Red Morning Light, Wasted Time, California Waiting) ensured the Followill boys stood out from the pack with their deep south roots showing through.
And with all that momentum behind them, the band weren’t about to slow down. Just a year later, album number two came out in the UK. Though Aha Shake Heartbreak hit number three in the British albums chart, American fans had to wait almost four months before it hit shelves in the States on February 22. With singles The Bucket, Four Kicks and King of the Rodeo all charting in the UK, Kings of Leon consolidated the success of Youth and Young Manhood and quickly found themselves playing to huge crowds at festivals around North America and Europe.
Though the brothers (and cousin) went into relative hiatus after touring Aha Shake Heartbreak, they returned to Australian shores twice in 2006 – first for the Big Day Out and then later in the year as special guests of Pearl Jam. And with the band debuting several new tracks at the latter, it wasn’t long before album number three was ready. Because of the Times first saw the light of day in March, and drew widespread acclaim from critics the world over. And the public’s response was even better – the album debuted at number one in Britain and New Zealand, went number two in Ireland and hit number four on the ARIA albums chart here in Australia.
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