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The Killers

Background information
Origin Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk revival, indie rock
Years active 2002–Present
Labels Island
Marrakesh Records
Brandon Flowers
Dave Keuning
Mark Stoermer
Ronnie Vannucci

The Killers is an American rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, formed in 2002. The band consists of Brandon Flowers (vocals, keyboards), Dave Keuning (guitar, vocals), Mark Stoermer (bass guitar, vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums, percussion).

Part of the post-punk revival movement,[citation needed] The Killers draw their influences from music styles of the 1980s. The group's debut album, Hot Fuss (2004) brought the band mainstream success. The Killers' second album, Sam's Town, was released in 2006, and compilation album Sawdust containing B-sides, rarities, and new material, was released in 2007. Their third studio album, Day & Age, produced by Stuart Price, was released in 2008.




Formation and early years (2002-2003)

In 2002, Brandon Flowers was abandoned by his first band, a synthpop band known as Blush Response,[1] after he declined to move with the rest of them to Los Angeles, California. He then met David Keuning after responding to an ad that Keuning had placed in a Vegas newspaper which listed Queen, Oasis, The Cure, U2 (for whom The Killers have since been an opening act), and The Beatles as influences.[1][2] Ronnie Vannucci Jr. and Mark Stoermer were approached by Flowers and Keuning with an offer to join "The Killers", a name which comes from the bass drum of a fictional band in the music video for the New Order song "Crystal".[1]

Initially, The Killers played at small clubs in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they often played at drag shows. With the band's lineup stable and its repertoire of songs expanding, the band attracted the attention of Alex Gilbert, a British representative for Warner Bros. Though Warner Bros. did not like the band, he took the demo back with him, showing it to friend Ben Durling, who worked at UK indie label Lizard King. The Killers went on to sign with the British label in July 2003.[3]

On the 19 August 2003 , "Mr. Brightside" premiered on DJ Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show in the UK[4]. The Killers then travelled to the UK and began to play shows in bars and clubs , the crowds grew everynight through word of mouth and critical reviews were extremely positive , upon returning to the US they were signed by Island Def Jam.[2]

Hot Fuss (2003–2006)

The Killers performing in 2006 on the Sam's Town Tour 2006.

The Killers released their album Hot Fuss in June 2004 in the United Kingdom on Marrakesh Records, and in the United States on Island Records.[5] Hot Fuss has been classified 6x Platinum by the BPI[6] and 3x Platinum by RIAA.[7] The band also had chart success with its singles "Mr. Brightside", which reached the Top 10 in the UK when released,[8] and "All These Things That I've Done".[9] However, their mainstream success came when they scored a number three chart position in the UK with their re-release of "Somebody Told Me".[5]

The members of the band appeared as themselves in the episode "The New Era" of the teen television drama The O.C., which aired in December 2004. In July 2005, The Killers performed on the London stage of the Live 8 concert, playing "All These Things That I've Done". Robbie Williams incorporated the song's refrain "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" into his own performance.[10] Coldplay and U2 followed suit and, at their separate concerts played in Las Vegas, with The Killers in the crowd, incorporated the line into their songs "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" and "Beautiful Day", respectively.[11]

Sam's Town (2006–2007)

The Killers' second album, Sam's Town, was released in October 2006 under Island Def Jam Music Group.[12] Brandon Flowers said that Sam's Town would be "one of the best albums people would remember 20 years from now",[13] though the album received a mixed response from critics and fans.[14] The album sold over 706,000 copies worldwide in the first week of release, with a number two debut on the Billboard chart.[15] The record sold over a million copies by January 2007.[citation needed] The album produced four singles in the United Kingdom and United States: "When You Were Young" released in September 2006, "Bones" which was released in November 2006, "Read My Mind" which was released in February 2007, and "For Reasons Unknown" which was released in June 2007.[16] The first single from Sam's Town, "When You Were Young", entered the chart on downloads alone at number five, and the following week on its official release went to number two on the UK Singles Chart.[17]

The Killers recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road on November 29, 2006.[18] They performed an almost totally unplugged set, which included a rendition of the Dire Straits hit "Romeo and Juliet". In December 2006 the band released a Christmas charity song, "A Great Big Sled", which benefited Product Red. This was followed by the release of "Don't Shoot Me Santa" in November 2007,"Joseph, Better You Than Me" in 2008, and "¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe!" in 2009, again for Product Red. In February 2007, The Killers attended the BRIT Awards in the United Kingdom, where they performed "When You Were Young". The band won two awards - Best International Group & International Album.[19] In June 2007, The Killers headlined the iconic Glastonbury Festival.[20]

Sawdust (2007–2008)

The band released a compilation album called Sawdust, containing B-sides, rarities, and some new material, in November 2007. Sawdust has been classified Platinum by the BPI.[21] The album's first single "Tranquilize", a collaboration with Lou Reed, was released in October 2007.[21] The album also contains the songs "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town", (a Kenny Rogers and The First Edition cover), "Romeo and Juliet", (a Dire Straits cover), and "Daddy's Eyes", a B-side from "Bones"/Best Buy Bonus Track to Sam's Town. The first pressing of Sawdust contained a rare demo version of "Move Away" which Brandon Flowers later stated was a mistake on the part of the band's record label; the proper version the group intended to put on the album was previously available on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack is included on later pressings of Sawdust.[22] The band released a cover version of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" on the American iTunes Store that same month.[23] In a Rolling Stone magazine article, Sawdust was compared to the classic Smiths album Hatful of Hollow.

Day & Age (2008-2010)

The Killers performing in September 2009 in the United States.

The Killers finished working on a third album, which was released on November 24, 2008 in the UK and November 25, 2008 in North America. Brandon Flowers confirmed the album's title as Day & Age in an interview with NME.[24] They worked with Stuart Price who did the Thin White Duke remix of "Mr Brightside" and produced "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf" and "Sweet Talk". The first single from the album was "Human", although originally planned for Sawdust, it was released on September 22, with the music video released on iTunes on October 16.[25] The band released a third Christmas single in December 2008, "Joseph, Better You Than Me". It features Elton John and Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. Proceeds from the downloads will benefit Product Red.[26][27] Day & Age became the band's third studio album to reach number one in both the UK and Ireland, it reached number six on the Billboard 200 album chart.[28] On July 13, 2009, UNICEF, MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) and the US Agency for International Development used a shortened version of the song "Goodnight, Travel Well" in a video to promote awareness of sex trafficking.[citation needed] The Killers headline the Friday night show of 2009's Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, London. The Killers also released a Christmas single in December 2009 called 'Happy Birthday Guadalupe', and in November 2009 their song 'A White Demon Love Song' was added to the 'New Moon' soundtrack.

After the final stretch of The Killers Day & Age tour, the band will take a short break after being on the road for the better part of six years.[29][30]In late February, The Sun (a British newspaper) published the story that Flowers's mother had died after a two year fight with brain cancer. This meant a premature closing of their Day and Age tour cancelling the Asian dates. Two Australian dates in Sydney and Perth were cancelled, however both the Gold Coast and Melbourne concerts went ahead, with the Day & Age tour finally coming to a close in Melbourne on February 21 as the headline act at the Good Vibrations Festival at Flemington Racecourse.[31]

On February 24, 2010 Rolling Stone magazine revealed that Ray Davies had chosen The Killers to work on a cover albums of The Kinks' songs, due out at the end of the year.[32]

Reception of The Killers Music

Awards and Nominations

The Killers have won four NME Awards: Best International Band in 2005, 2008 and 2009 and Best Video for "Bones" in 2006. They have also picked up two awards in the first NME Awards USA in 2008 for Best Band and Best Track for "Tranquilize". The Killers have also been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, but have yet to win. In 2006 the band won the BRIT Award for Best International Band and the album Sam's Town won Best International Album.

Opinion Polls and Sales Charts

Hot Fuss was the 26th best-selling album of the decade in the United Kingdom. It spent 173 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, more than any than other album. Sam's Town was the 70th best-selling album of the decade in the UK and The Killers were the 21st Best-Selling Artist of the decade in the UK.[33]

The Killers were #4 in the MTV Greatest Superstars poll which was run throughout August 2009 on MTV: the poll included all genres of music.[34]

In November 2009, "Mr Brightside" was voted the best song of the decade by the listeners of the British alternative rock station XFM[35]. Over 14,000 individual votes were cast by XFM listeners via the station's official website. "Somebody Told Me" was ranked #9[35] and "All These Things That I've Done" was ranked #22.[36] "When You Were Young" was also ranked #31[37] and "Read My Mind" at #86,[38] and "Human" at 94[39].[40]

The readers of the American music magazine "The Rolling Stone", in December 2009, voted Sam's Town the most underrated album of the decade[41]. The magazine also ranked Hot Fuss as the 43rd best album in their 100 Best Albums of the Decade list.[42] and Mr. Brightside was ranked the 48th Best Song Of The Decade.[43].

The Killers were at #2 on the "Best of 2009" list with 12,471,571 album scrobbles.[44] UK released their lists of the best-selling artists and albums of the decade,[45] with The Killers coming in at #3 in Top 10 best-selling artists of the decade and their Day & Age album coming in at #10 in Top 10 best-selling albums of the decade

Spin voted The Killers number 3 in the 30 Biggest Concerts of 2009[46] for their January 19 show at Magness Arena in Denver, CO. SPIN's Tim Dwenger wrote about the show saying, "The production quality of the show was top notch, and it was immediately clear why the Killers are on the arena circuit,"[47]

In December 2009, Mr Brightside was voted the second-best song of the decade in the tv show: Greatest Songs of the Noughties, on the British tv channel, Channel 4.[48]

At the end of 2009 The UK's XFM radio station ran a poll to determine the top 1000 songs of all time, the countdown began on Christmas Day 2009 and finished on the 3rd January 2010. Dustland Fairytale came in at 585 [49], Spaceman at 342[50], Jenny Was A Friend of Mine at 327[50], Bones at 325 [50], Smile Like You Mean It at 219 [51], Read My Mind at 168[52], Human at 122 [53], Somebody told me at 61[54], When You Were Young at 51[55] . All These Things That I've Done came in at number 18[56]. And at number 1, beating off competition from Oasis, The Beatles, The Smiths, Arctic Monkeys and many more, Mr Brightside was voted the number one song of all time.[57]


Since going platinum, the band has incited a few rivalries, most notably with The Bravery and Fall Out Boy, who are both labelmates (Island Records), as well as Green Day, after the release of their Bullet in a Bible DVD in 2005. Flowers has said that these bands are riding on the coattails of their success, to which Bravery frontman Sam Endicott replied by calling Flowers "a little girl" and a "kid in a wheelchair".[58]

Additionally, in an article of NME, Flowers claimed Fall Out Boy was hogging the A&R man both bands share, setting off Fall Out Boy's bassist Pete Wentz.[59] However, after Wentz commented on the rivalry on his blog in September 2005, he offered a virtual cease-fire.[59] Flowers has since apologized to The Bravery, Fall Out Boy, and Panic at the Disco, saying "I'd like to take it all back - these people are just doing what they want to do, just like I am," and said that he was "not proud of" his actions.[60]

After the band fired him in May 2005, former manager Braden Merrick filed a $16 million breach of contract suit in federal court in Los Angeles against the band in February 2006. He claimed that the band simply stopped paying him his reported 25% service fee (from the band's annual gross income) for a contract that Merrick claimed ran through 2007. The Killers swiftly filed their own breach-of-contract counter suit, alleging Merrick's poor management had cost the band millions. The lawsuit was dismissed on October 9, 2009 following a settlement reached by both parties. Merrick is now a partner at a new music label, Bright Antenna.[61]


Date of Release Title Label
June 7, 2004 Hot Fuss Island Records, Universal, Lizard King
October 3, 2006 Sam's Town Island Records, Vertigo
November 9, 2007 Sawdust Island Records, Vertigo
November 24, 2008 Day & Age Island Records, Vertigo

See also


  1. ^ a b c Binelli, Mark (2005-06-16). "Hit Men". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  2. ^ a b "being signed". Review Journal. 2005-06-16. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  3. ^ Sculley, Alan (2004-09-14). "And you can dance to it". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Let's-start-a-band ad in newspaper created Killers". The Seattle Times. 2005-04-24. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  6. ^ Nixon, Chris (2007-04-05). "Can Killers regain form at UCSD? Stay tuned". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  7. ^ "Hot Issue Hits and Misses: The Killers and the Cooper Temple Clause". Rolling Stone. 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  8. ^ Loundras, Alexia (2004-06-25). "Rock & Pop: Shooting from the hip". The Independent. 
  9. ^ Begbie, Scott (2006-10-31). "Top rockers add Granite City to UK tour schedule". Evening Express. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Event Listings". Manchester Evening News Arena. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  12. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (2006-07-25). "The Killers Debut 'Sam's Town' In New York". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  13. ^ "Monday News: Killers, Paul McCartney, Ben Kweller, Sufjan Stevens, Elton John, Broken Social Scene". Rolling Stone. 2006-07-10. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  14. ^ "New CD’s". The New York Times. 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  15. ^ Bracelin, Jason (2006-10-12). "Killers' second album strikes higher chord". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  16. ^ Barrett, Neil (2006-10-13). "Killers rock new "Town"". Clemson Tigers. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  17. ^ Sexton, Paul (2006-10-02). "Scissor Sisters Not Budging On U.K. Charts". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  18. ^ "EMI cues up feast of fresh albums". Music Week. 2005-10-01. 
  19. ^ Akbar, Arifa (2007-02-15). "Arctic Monkeys scoop two Brits but shun 'mainstream' show". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  20. ^ "Killers headline Glastonbury". NME. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2007. 
  21. ^ a b "Smoking Section: Fiona Apple, Kanye West, The Killers and Tom Petty". Rolling Stone. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  22. ^ "Celine takes a chance". Toronto Star. 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  23. ^ "Killers’ Joy Division Cover Hits the Web, M.I.A. Helps Jailed Aussie Kids Rhyme, Jadakiss Free From Gun and Drug Charges". Rolling Stone. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  24. ^ "News Ticker: The Killers, Jonas Brothers, “American Idol”". Rolling Stone. 2008-08-05. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  25. ^ "The Killers". The Killers. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
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  28. ^ "Day & Age - The Killers". Billboard. 9th December 2009. 
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  31. ^
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^
  34. ^ "MTV Greatest Superstars Revealed". MTV. 9th December 2009. 
  35. ^ a b "Xfm's songs of the decade 10-1". Xfm London. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  36. ^ "Xfm's songs of the decade 30-21". Xfm London. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  37. ^ "Xfm's songs of the decade 40-31". Xfm London. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  38. ^ "Xfm's songs of the decade 90-81". Xfm London. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  39. ^ "Xfm's songs of the decade 100-91". Xfm London. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  40. ^ "Xfm's songs of the decade". Xfm London. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ a b c
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ "Lean Beef: The Killers Vs. The Bravery". MTV News. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  59. ^ a b Montgomery, James (2005-10-07). "Fall Out Boy/ Killers Beef Gives Birth To A Song". MTV News. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  60. ^ Lash, Jolie (2006-07-25). "Killers Bury Hatchet With Panic, Fall Out Boy". Pop Eater. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  61. ^

External links


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