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Keane performing at Rock im Park in 2006
Background information
Also known as The Lotus Eaters (1995-1997)
Cherry Keane (1997)
Origin Battle, East Sussex, England, UK
Genres Piano rock, Alternative rock, Post-Britpop
Years active 1997 – present
Labels Island
Fierce Panda
Associated acts Jesse Quin & The Mets, K'naan, Tigarah
Website Keanemusic
Tom Chaplin
Tim Rice-Oxley
Richard Hughes
Jesse Quin
Former members
Dominic Scott

Keane are an English piano rock band that was formed in Battle, East Sussex in 1995, and took its current name in late 1997. The group currently comprises of composer, bassist, and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley, lead vocalist Tom Chaplin and drummer Richard Hughes. Their original line-up included founder and guitarist Dominic Scott, who left in 2001.

Keane achieved mainstream success with the release of their debut album, Hopes and Fears, in 2004. The album won multiple awards and was the second best-selling British album of 2004. Their second studio album, Under the Iron Sea continued the band's success, topping the album charts in the UK. Their third album, Perfect Symmetry was released in 2008. In May 2008, both Hopes and Fears (#13) and Under the Iron Sea (#8) were voted by readers of Q magazine within the best British albums ever, with Keane, The Beatles, Oasis and Radiohead the only musical acts having two albums in the top 20.[1]

Keane are known for using a piano as their lead instrument instead of guitars, differentiating them from most other rock bands.[2] The inclusion of a distorted piano effect in 2006 and various synthesizers were a common feature in their music[3][4] that back then combined the piano rock sound used during their first album and the piano rock sound which developed on the second and third albums. Keane have also used instruments like the violin, saxophone and acoustic guitar.




Early years and formation

Rice-Oxley's brother — also called Tom[5] — was born a couple of months after Chaplin, who was born on 8 March 1979. Their mothers became friends, as did Chaplin and Rice-Oxley.[5] Tom Chaplin's father David was the headmaster of Vinehall School in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, (owned by Chaplin's family) for 25 years[6], the school all three attended until the age of 13. They later attended Tonbridge School in Kent, where Rice-Oxley met Dominic Scott; both of them discovered rapidly their liking for music. Richard Hughes, future drummer for the band, also attended Tonbridge. Chaplin had also learned to play the flute but none of them considered music as a proper career at the time.[7]

In 1995, while studying at University College, London for a degree in classics, Rice-Oxley managed to form a rock band with Scott, and invited Hughes to play drums.[4] The band, named Lotus Eaters started as a cover band, playing songs by the members' favourite bands, including U2, Oasis, and The Beatles, and rehearsing at home.

After listening to Rice-Oxley's piano playing during a weekend at Virginia Water, Surrey in 1997, Chris Martin invited him to join his newly formed band Coldplay. However, Rice-Oxley declined because he did not want to leave The Lotus Eaters, stating "I was seriously interested, but Keane were already operational and Coldplay's keyboard player idea was dropped."[4] Because of Martin's offer, and although Hughes and Scott were originally opposed to it, Chaplin joined the band in 1997, taking Rice-Oxley's place as vocalist and adding himself as the acoustic guitarist. Chaplin's recruitment also marked a change of name from The Lotus Eaters to Cherry Keane, after a friend of Chaplin's mother, whom Rice-Oxley and Chaplin knew when they were young. She took care of them and would tell them to go for their dreams.[8] At her death from cancer,[9] she had left money for Chaplin's family. Chaplin commented: "I used some of the money to see me through the harder times with the music." The name was shortened to Keane soon afterwards.[10]

Chaplin departed for South Africa in the summer of 1997 to work as a volunteer during his gap year.[5] Chaplin's early experiences there would later be reflected in the band's position for the Make Poverty History campaign. Returning a year later on July 1998 following a meeting with friend David Lloyd Seaman, Hughes's first words when the band picked up Chaplin at the airport were "we've got a gig in ten days."[7] With original material, Keane made their debut live appearance at the "Hope & Anchor" pub on 13 July 1998. In this same year, Chaplin went to Edinburgh University to study for a degree in art history.[7] However, he later quit his degree and moved to London, in order to pursue a full-time musical career with his friends.[4][7] After their debut performance, the band went touring London's pub gig circuit throughout 1998 and 1999.

Early releases and Scott's departure

In late 1999, and without a record deal, Keane recorded their first promotional single, "Call Me What You Like". Released on CD format through Keane's own label, Zoomorphic, it was sold after live performances at the pubs where Keane used to play in early 2000. Only five hundred copies were printed.[11] The track, however, can be found on the internet. The band have declared they are not against fans sharing tracks unreleased on CD, such as the "More Matey" and "Emily" demo tracks. Chaplin has commented "they most likely see those recordings as an interesting extra to get hold of and I don't see it causing any damage. If it was the album we have coming out leaked early, then I'd probably feel differently."[12] The EP was reviewed by Bec Rodwell from eFestivals who listed "Closer Now" as the best song of the record.[13]

Four months after the "Call Me What You Like" re-recording session in February 2001, their second single, "Wolf at the Door" was released. Only fifty hand-made copies are known to have been made, using unlabelled CD-Rs.[14] Both singles are considered highly valuable collectors' items by fans. In particular, "Wolf at the Door" has been known to be sold for over £1000 on eBay.[14]

Because of the limited success Keane had at this time, Scott decided to leave the group a month after this single was released in order to continue his studies at the LSE.[15] Before this, in November 2000, Keane had been invited by record producer James Sanger to his recording studio at Les Essarts, France, where the band recorded a number of tracks from August to November 2001, including "Bedshaped" and "This Is the Last Time". It was during these sessions that the idea of using a piano as lead instrument began to emerge. Sanger received a shared credit for four songs that appeared on Keane's debut album Hopes and Fears, including the song "Sunshine", the only one composed there.[16]

The remaining members of the band returned to England in November 2001. Soon after, they signed to BMG to publish their music, but at this time they did not have yet a recording contract. 2002 was a hard year for Keane. All recording or live performances were stopped and Scott's feeling of going nowhere was starting to tell on Rice-Oxley and Chaplin.[7]

In December 2002, Keane returned to performing live. Luckily, one gig at the Betsey Trotwood in London was attended by Simon Williams of Fierce Panda Records, the same man who had discovered Coldplay years previously. Williams offered to release the first commercial single by the band. This release would be "Everybody’s Changing", which Steve Lamacq went on to name single of the week on Lamacq Live on 19 April 2003; the CD Single was released on 12 May 2003.[17]

As a result of the attention created by this release, a bidding war for the band ensued between major labels,[18] with the band deciding to sign with Island Records in the summer of 2003. The band released "This Is the Last Time" on Fierce Panda, in October 2003, as the final release on that label.

Hopes and Fears

With the release of their first major single, Keane began to achieve recognition in the United Kingdom and the United States, where "This Is the Last Time" was released and remained as the only single sold there until "Crystal Ball" in late 2006. In January 2004, Keane was named the band most likely to achieve success in the coming year in the BBC's Sound of 2004 poll; additionally, this year is popularly referred to as one of the best years for new British music.[19]

A month later, Keane's first release on Island was "Somewhere Only We Know", which reached number three on the UK Singles Chart in February 2004. On 4 May, a re-release of "Everybody’s Changing" followed and featured new cover and b-sides; it reached number four in the UK Singles Chart.

Keane's debut album, Hopes and Fears, was released on 10 May 2004 in the UK, just a day before the band started their first world tour. It debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and went on to become the best-selling British album of the year. It has been certified 9x platinum in the UK.

The album has sold approximately five and a half million copies worldwide. In the UK, it stayed in the top 75 of the UK Albums Chart for 72 weeks, appearing again on its 115th week.[20]

The band won two awards at the 2005 BRIT Awards in February; Best British album for Hopes and Fears and the British breakthrough act award, as voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, defeating bands like Muse or Franz Ferdinand. Three months after, Rice-Oxley received the Ivor Novello award for songwriter of the year.

As members of the Make Poverty History foundation, Keane performed "Somewhere Only We Know" and "Bedshaped" at the Live 8 concert, which took place in London on 2 July 2005. Keane are also patrons of War Child, and in September 2005, they recorded a cover version of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" to the charity album Help: a Day in the Life. Previously, the band also had recorded a cover of the Walker Brothers' "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore", which was available as a download-only track from the War Child website. It was later released as a 7" single as a gift to members of the Keane e-mailing list.[21]

As the 1985 version, Band Aid (now called Band Aid 20) recorded a new version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?". Rice-Oxley and Chaplin both contributed vocals.

During the year, the band achieved minor recognition in the U.S. from their extensive touring, which culminated with a series of gigs as the opening act for U2. The group were also nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Artist category along with Sugarland, John Legend, Ciara, and Fall Out Boy, but ultimately lost out to Legend.[22]

Under the Iron Sea

In April 2005, in the middle of the Hopes and Fears tour, the band began recording their second album, Under the Iron Sea with producer Andy Green, who also worked with them previously on Hopes and Fears. The band later recruited Mark "Spike" Stent for mixing duties. Recording took place in Helioscentric Studios, Rye, East Sussex, where Hopes and Fears was recorded. Additional recording was done at The Magic Shop Studios in New York. The band revealed the title of the album on 14 March 2006 by posting a handwritten note on their official website.

The album's release was preceded by the release of "Atlantic", a download-only music video and the lead single "Is It Any Wonder?", which reached number three on the UK Singles Chart. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 2007. The album had a worldwide release of on June, 2006 and was at #1 in the UK Albums Chart for the first two weeks of its release. As of 22 May 2007, it had sold more than 2,200,000 copies. The third single from the album was "Crystal Ball", which[23] was released on 21 August 2006, and reached number 20 in the UK Singles Chart. The fourth single from the album was "Nothing in My Way", released on 30 October 2006, which received particular success on Mexican commercial radio, charting on Top 3 in 13 January 2007 and staying a month on that chart. The band released the single "The Night Sky" in aid of the charity War Child. The song is written from the perspective of a child about the war-torn devastation around them, and became available via War Child's official website on 22 October 2007 before going on general release on 29 October 2007.

Even before the release of the album (in May 2006), Keane had started their second world tour that would promote the album. However, because of the extensive touring, on 22, August 2006, Chaplin announced he had admitted himself to a clinic for drinking and drug problems. This initially resulted in the cancellation of three gigs and postponement of their September US tour. The entire North American tour was later cancelled outright to allow continued treatment.[24] As a result, the upcoming UK and European tours - scheduled for October and November 2006 - were considered to be liable for possible postponement depending on Chaplin's treatment. Chaplin then left the Priory Clinic in London on 6 October, although he continued to receive treatment. The tour reached for the first time South American countries (Argentina, Chile and Brazil) and saw the band's third visit to Mexico in late April with four dates, playing at the downtown zócalo in Mexico City, as well their first visit to Monterrey and Guadalajara. On 7 July 2007, Keane played at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, part of a series of gigs similar to Live 8, to highlight the threat of global warming. They performed "Somewhere Only We Know", "Is It Any Wonder?" and "Bedshaped". The Under the Iron Sea tour was brought to an end with performances in Oporto, Portugal, and at the Natural Music Festival in El Ejido, Spain, on 3 August and 4 respectively.

In early October, Concert Live announced they were releasing a limited edition 9-CD set of every Keane live performance in the UK during October 2006 under the name Keane Live 06.

Perfect Symmetry

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In a March 2007 video interview, Chaplin and Hughes spoke of wanting to take a more "organic" approach on album three, but played down suggestions about the use of guitars, referring to them as "a fun part of the live set" at present; however, the cover of "She Sells Sanctuary", became the first song recorded since "The Happy Soldier" (2001) to feature the instrument.[25] Photographic updates to the Keane website also implied the use of guitars in the album's recording sessions.

On 31 July 2008, Keane's website was changed to display a timer counting down to 4 August, the date set for the release of "Spiralling", the first single from the album, which was available as a free download until 11 August. This track reveals a different sound to that of both previous albums, and has hints of the vocal style of The Killers' Brandon Flowers, having Chaplin waver in and out of half notes. While Hopes and Fears majored on powerful piano-driven ballads, and Under the Iron Sea featured electronic rock and distortion piano sounds, "Spiralling" has more of a pop feel, using synthesizers for the second time, and electric guitar for the first time.

On 25 August 2008, Keane appeared as studio guests on BBC 6 Music with Steve Lamacq where three of the new songs from Perfect Symmetry were played for the first time: "Spiralling", "The Lovers Are Losing", and "Better Than This".

The song "Love Is the End" was also aired on a Portuguese radio station where the DJ referred to the song as being "The Lovers Are Losing" leaving some to believe that the song was accidentally played. The song "Love Is the End" also contains the musical saw which Rice-Oxley had referred to in a note on the band's website.

The album was released on 13, October 2008, and reached number one on the UK Albums Chart on 19 October. It also reached number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart.

On December 2008, it was voted Best Album of the Year by the readers, listeners and visitors of Q Magazine, Q Radio and[26]. The song "Perfect Symmetry" was voted best track[27].

In November of the same year, they started their third world tour, the Perfect Symmetry Tour.

On April 2, 2009, Keane became the first band ever to broadcast a live show in 3D. It was filmed at Abbey Road, the site of the world's first satellite broadcast (by The Beatles). Keane fans were prompted to buy 3D glasses along with the new 7" single, "Better Than This", or also to hand-make their own glasses. The show is available to watch on Keane's official site in high definition.

During the 50th anniversary of Island Records (Keane's label), Keane also recorded a cover of Pulp's Disco 2000, which was released on the Island Records 50 years anniversary album.

On September 17, 2009, in Thunder Bay Ontario, Keane performed a brand new song called, "Sovereign Light Cafe".

The band have recently announced a new EP entitled Night Train which is expected to be released worldwide on 10 May 2010. To accompany this, the band have also announced plans for a summer tour of forests in 2010, including a homecoming show at the Bedgebury Pinetum, just outside the band’s hometown of Battle, East Sussex. The EP will feature two tracks in collaboration with Somali-Canadian rapper K'naan, another in collaboration with Japanese MC Tigarah and for one song, lead vocals will be sung by Tim-Rice Oxley.[28]


In late October 2006, Rice-Oxley collaborated with Gwen Stefani as a co-writer of the song "Early Winter", released later in 2007 as a single, from her album, The Sweet Escape, as well as two more tracks. Stefani had been wishing to work with the band since 2005 and Rice-Oxley responded by saying "we might give it a go".[29]

Musical style and themes

Tim Rice-Oxley and Dominic Scott were the main writers of the band's songs during their early years. When Scott left in 2002, Rice-Oxley became the main composer.[30] However, Rice-Oxley credits the rest of the band on all compositions, so that royalties for song credits are shared.[30]

Keane have cited bands such as Depeche Mode, a-ha, The Beatles, U2, R.E.M., Radiohead, Queen, and Pet Shop Boys as major influences.[31] The band has been known as "the band with no guitars", because of its heavily piano-based sound. By using delay and distortion effects on their piano sound, they often create sounds that aren't immediately recognisable as piano. Rice-Oxley said during an interview in Los Angeles that they tend to think piano-related music is boring and what they really wanted to do was try something different. He referred to the piano as an odd instrument to form part of a rock band instrumentation, comparing it to The Beatles' set of instruments. Rice-Oxley's aforementioned distortion piano has set most of Keane's multifaceted style, varying from Hip Hop on "Dirtylicious" to house on "Tyderian".

During their early years most songs were about love or broken relationships (most notably "She Has No Time" and "On a Day Like Today"). However, other themes — including the relationship between Rice-Oxley and Chaplin — have emerged in more recent compositions.[32] Other themes have been explored; for example, "Is It Any Wonder?" and "A Bad Dream" are both about war.[33] More recent themes have included the impact of being a celebrity in "Better Than This" and criticism of religious violence in "Perfect Symmetry"



  • Tim Rice-Oxley - principal songwriter, piano, keyboards, bass guitar, backing vocals (1995–present)
  • Tom Chaplin - lead vocals, organ, keyboards, lead guitar, acoustic guitar (1997–present)
  • Richard Hughes - drums, additional percussion (1995–present)

Touring members

  • Jesse Quin - rhythm guitar, bass guitar, additional percussion (2008–present)
    • Quin, through his inclusion in the live band, is considered by fans an unofficial fourth member of Keane despite being excluded from the band's official biography[34].
    • Quin has reportedly been introduced with the band as a member during their 2009 tour.


  • Dominic Scott - lead vocals (1995–1997), backing vocals, lead guitar (1995–2001)

Members timetable

Band role Year
1995–1997 1997–2001 2001–2006 2006–2007 2008–Present
Lead vocals Dominic Scott Tom Chaplin
Main backing vocals Tim Rice-Oxley Dominic Scott Tim Rice-Oxley [n 1]
Piano and keyboards Tim Rice-Oxley [n 2]
Distortion piano   Tom Chaplin/Tim Rice-Oxley
Organ   Tom Chaplin
Lead guitar Dominic Scott   Tom Chaplin
Acoustic guitar   Tom Chaplin   Tom Chaplin [n 3]
Rhythm guitar   Jesse Quin
Bass guitar Tim Rice-Oxley [n 4] Jesse Quin
Drums Richard Hughes
Percussion   Richard Hughes Jesse Quin


  1. ^ Also performs harmony vocals with Hughes during live performances since 2006, and with Hughes and Quin from 2008 forward.
  2. ^ Scott occasionally stood in for Rice-Oxley on keyboards in 1997.
  3. ^ Since 2006 live; studio recordings from late 2008 forward.
  4. ^ From 2004 to 2008, live bass played by Apple computer synthesizer.



Year Award Category Country For
2004 Q Awards Best Album United Kingdom Hopes and Fears
2004 Premios Onda Best International Band Spain Hopes and Fears
2004 Ivor Novello Composers of the Year United Kingdom Tim Rice-Oxley
2005 BRIT Awards Best Album United Kingdom Hopes and Fears
2005 BRIT Awards Best Breakthrough Act United Kingdom Hopes and Fears
2006 GQ Awards Band of the Year United Kingdom Under the Iron Sea
2008 Q Awards Best Track United Kingdom "Spiralling"
2008 Q Best Of 2008 Best Album of the Year United Kingdom Perfect Symmetry
2008 Q Best Of 2008 Best Track of the Year United Kingdom "Perfect Symmetry"

See also


  1. ^ "Keane official site: Biography". Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  2. ^ Youngs, Ian (9 January 2004). "Sound of 2004 winners: Keane". Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  3. ^ "Keane explain their new sound". 28 March 2006. Retrieved 19 August 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d Odell, Michael (1 May 2004), "The Shore Thing (Annotated)", Q Magazine: pp. 48–52,, retrieved 24 May 2007 
  5. ^ a b c Strangers, Keane DVD autobiography.
  6. ^ "Vinehall School History". Retrieved 22 July 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Craic, Seamus (31 January 2006), Keane: The Band, Artnik, ISBN 1-903906-64-4 (UK) 
  8. ^ "Keane Edge". The Irish Times. 2006. Retrieved 19 August 2006. 
  9. ^ "Keanemusic - Tom Chaplin's blog, 28.06.07". Retrieved 7 July 2007. 
  10. ^ Chapman, Tegan (13 January 2005). "Keane man on success, songs and Steve Lamacq". 
  11. ^ "Keaneshaped on "Call Me What You Like"". Retrieved 16 September 2006. 
  12. ^ "Keaneshaped - Discography". Retrieved 12 September 2006. 
  13. ^ Bec. (25 May 2001). "Keane : "Call Me What You Like" EP Review". Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  14. ^ a b "Keaneshaped on "Wolf at the Door"". Retrieved 4 August 2006. 
  15. ^ "[14/11/01 entry"]. Retrieved 2006-09-19. 
  16. ^ Cashmere, Tim. "Keane Undercover Music Interviews". Retrieved 2006-08-19. 
  17. ^ "Discography - Everybody’s Changing (Fierce Panda)". Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  18. ^ Hoyle, Wayne (14 April 2004). "Keane Interview". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  19. ^ "Sound of 2004 music poll revealed". BBC News. 9 January 2004. Retrieved 2006-09-10. 
  20. ^ "Keaneshaped on Hopes and Fears". Retrieved 25 May 2007. 
  21. ^ "Discography - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore". Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  22. ^ The Associated Press (8 January 2005; updated 8 February 2006). "Complete list of Grammy Award nominations (48th)". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  23. ^ About this sound Tom Chaplin on "Crystal Ball"
  24. ^ "Keane cancel N. American tour". 9 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-08. 
  25. ^ "Keane Interview" (Video). STV. Retrieved 14 March 2007. 
  26. ^, Best Albums of 2008, number 1
  27. ^, Best Tracks of 2008
  28. ^
  29. ^ ""Gwen Stefani eyes up Keane"". Retrieved 28 June 2007. 
  30. ^ a b "FAQ - Who writes the songs?". Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  31. ^ "Interview: Keane". This Is Fake DIY. Retrieved 2006-08-19. 
  32. ^ "Keane, Hearts of Darkness", Q Magazine: 94, July 2006 
  33. ^ "Keaneshaped - FAQ - What are the songs about?". Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
  34. ^ "Keanemusic: Biography". Retrieved 14 November 2008. 



  • Craic, Seamus (31 January 2006). Keane: The Band. Artnik. ISBN 1-903906-64-4 (UK)

Mass media


External links

Preceded by
50 Cent
Sound of... (BBC poll)
Succeeded by
The Bravery


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