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The Fray

The Fray performing live at Radio One Big Weekend in May 2007.
Background information
Origin Denver, Colorado, USA
Genres Piano rock, pop rock, alternative rock
Years active 2002–present
Labels Epic Records
Sony Music
Isaac Slade
Joe King
Ben Wysocki
Dave Welsh
Former members
Dan Battenhouse
Zach Johnson
Caleb Slade
Mike Ayars

The Fray is an American four-piece piano-rock band from Denver, Colorado.[1] Formed in 2002 by schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King, the band achieved mainstream success with the release of their debut album, How to Save a Life in 2005, which was certified double platinum by the RIAA, and was also certified platinum in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in the UK. The Fray achieved national success with their first single, "Over My Head (Cable Car)", which became a top ten hit in the United States. The release of their second single, "How to Save a Life", brought the band worldwide fame. The song charted in the top three of the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top 5 single in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The band released their sophomore self-titled album in 2009. The album debuted at number-one on the Billboard charts[2] and was certified gold in the United States, Australia and Canada. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2010.[3] While both the albums were commercially successful, critical reception was mixed. The Fray was ranked #84 on Billboard's "Artists of the Decade" list.[4]

The Fray's use of the piano as the lead instrument in their music has led critics to compare them with British piano-driven bands like Coldplay and Keane.[5][6][7] However, The Fray list their influences as Counting Crows, Better Than Ezra, Radiohead and U2.[8][9][10]



Formation (2002)

Isaac Slade (front) and Ben Wysocki (back) performing in Chicago.

In the spring of 2002, former schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King reconnected and began regular two-man jam sessions that led to writing songs. Isaac and Joe later added Zach Johnson on drums and Slade's younger brother Caleb on bass to the band. Caleb was the band's first (and only official) bass player but was eventually asked to leave. Caleb's departure from the band caused a rift in his relationship with Isaac and this rift later became the inspiration for "Over My Head (Cable Car)", which is about the brothers' waning relationship.[11] Following this, Johnson eventually left the band as well to attend an art school in New York.[12]

Ben Wysocki, a former band mate of Isaac Slade, then became the drummer for The Fray. Later, Dave Welsh, who was another former band mate of Slade and Wysocki, was added as lead guitarist to the band. While the band has no official bass guitarist, Jeremy McCoy has been the touring bassist since March 2009. Prior to McCoy joining the touring fold, Dan Lavery of Tonic was the touring bassist from March 2007 to February 2009 and before that, Jimmy Stofer was employed as the touring bassist from 2005 to February 2007.

The band chose their name "The Fray" from a suggestion bowl that was placed at a graduation party for Caleb Slade.[13] The members of the band first claimed that they found the name suitable because they frequently quarreled over the composition of the lyrics in their songs. However, they have since stated that the band is usually on good terms while composing music, and acknowledges contributions from all of its members.[14]

Early History (2002-04)

In 2002, the band released Movement EP, a collection of four songs. Very few copies were pressed, and it is currently unavailable for purchase. The next year, they released Reason EP to some local critical acclaim, particularly by Denver's Westword alternative newsweekly.[15][16] Despite these reviews, the band struggled to launch a single. Denver radio station KTCL rejected eight of their songs before the band decided to submit "Cable Car". The song found airplay on a KTCL radio show highlighting local bands, and the radio station received a large number of requests for it soon thereafter. The band changed the name of the song to "Over My Head (Cable Car)", and by the end of 2005, it had become KTCL's most played song of the year.[17]

How to Save a Life (2005–07)

Later in 2005, the band was voted "Best New Band" by Denver readers of Westword. Epic Records A&R man Mike Flynn (who later co-produced their debut album) discovered the band through the article in Westword.[18] Epic Records officially signed the band on December 17, 2004, and released their debut album, How to Save a Life, in September 2005.

"Over My Head (Cable Car)" was released as the first single from the album, and it soon became a top 40 hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in late 2005, peaking at #37.[19] The single gained airplay nationally, entering the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the issue marked February 25, 2006. Fourteen weeks later, it reached its peak position at #8 on the Hot 100 chart.[20] On the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, the single reached the #2 position.[21] Internationally, the song was a Top 25 hit in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. The song was the fifth-most downloaded single of 2006.[22]

While "Over My Head (Cable Car)" was rising on the charts, the song "How to Save a Life" was first featured during a second season episode ("Superstition" aired March 19, 2006) of Grey's Anatomy, and then on a fifth season episode of Scrubs (aired April 25, 2006).[23] The song was also featured on the teen drama show One Tree Hill and was also played at the end of Cold Case. Despite not having been originally released as a single, "How to Save a Life" entered the Hot 100 chart on the issue marked April 15, 2006. The song was released as the band's second single. On August 18, 2006, ABC announced that the song would be used for the main advertising promotion for the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy.[24]

Only weeks after this promotion started, the song became The Fray's second Top 40 hit in the United States. The song reached the top three of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, surpassing the peak position of "Over My Head (Cable Car)". It became the joint sixth longest charting single of all time on the Billboard Hot 100, tying with Santana's "Smooth", at 58 consecutive weeks. The song also topped the Adult Top 40 chart for 15 consecutive weeks. "How to Save a Life" became a major hit internationally, topping the singles chart in Ireland, Spain and Canada. The song also charted in the top five in Australia, Italy and Sweden. It also was the band's first hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at the #4 spot in the UK Singles Chart.[25]

"Look After You" was released as the third single from the album; the song peaked at #59 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band's first single to miss the Top 40. "All at Once" was released as the fourth and final single from the album. It peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks chart.

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The success of "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and '"How to Save a Life" (both sold over 2 million digital downloads each) brought the band mainstream popularity. The album charted in the top 15 on the Billboard 200 and charted in the top ten in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and in the UK.

To promote the album, The Fray began an extensive worldwide tour and also performed on several TV shows including The Tonight Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Rove Live in Australia.[26] They also released a live album, Live at the Electric Factory: Bootleg No. 1, on July 18, 2006. The concert was recorded on May 21, 2006 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On September 19, they re-released How to Save a Life as a CD/DVD set with exclusive content including a documentary on the making of the album.[27] On April 28, 2007, The Fray performed at Grad Nite, an event for graduating high school seniors at Disney's Magic Kingdom.

After How to Save a Life (2007-08)

The band released a live cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" to iTunes as a 2006 Christmas single. The song debuted and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #50, on the strength of a large number of digital downloads.[27]

The band worked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, for their 2007 summer tour.[28] On September 4, 2007, the band released another live album, Acoustic in Nashville: Bootleg No. 2, which was recorded in late 2006. The album could only be purchased with the original CD from Target but was made available on the iTunes Music Store on November 13, 2007. On October 16, 2007, the band re-released their 2003 EP, Reason.

The Fray (2008–09)

The band finished recording their self-titled second album (The Fray) at the end of July 2008 for a February 3, 2009 release.[29] The album was produced by Aaron Johnson and Mike Flynn, the same production duo from the band's debut album, and recorded by Warren Huart.[30] The Fray filmed a music video in Chicago, for the first single from the album, "You Found Me", directed by Josh Forbes, which debuted on on December 9, 2008.

The Fray debuted their single, "You Found Me" on November 20, during a commercial break of the show Grey's Anatomy. It was a one-minute promo with scenes from the upcoming season of ABC's Lost. "You Found Me" peaked at #7 in the Billboard Hot 100 and at #1 in the Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks. It became the band's first song to reach the #1 spot in Australia and the band's third song to sell 2 million digital downloads in the United States, after "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and "How to Save a Life". The band performed the song live at the 2008 American Music Awards on November 23.[31][32] Following the success of "You Found Me", the album, released on February 3, 2009, debuted at the number-one spot on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 179,000 copies in its first week of release.

On March 14, The Fray confirmed on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown that their next single would be "Never Say Never". A video was filmed for this single, and released on the internet only via Myspace on April 24. It premiered everywhere else on May 5, 2009. On May 30, 2009, the music video itself premiered on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown at the number 20 position. The song spent 20 weeks inside the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #32.

On Twitter, the band announced that "Syndicate" would be their next single from the album. The song was released on 12 January, 2010 for radio airplay.[33] The music video premiered on 9 February 2010 on Yahoo! Music.[33][34] The song debuted at #25 on the Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks chart.[35]

A documentary, Fair Fight, directed by Rod Blackhurst [36][37][38] was included with the first 300,000 copies of the second album.[31][39]

Recent activities (2009 - present)

In February 2009, The Fray wrote a song called "Be the One". The demo version of the song was released on 11 November 2009.[40][41] The band also covered Kanye West's song "Heartless".[42] The cover charted at #79 on the Billboard Hot 100, while also receiving an unprecedented amount of radio airplay. A video for the cover was released worldwide on iTunes on August 11, 2009. Both songs were included in the deluxe edition of the band's sophomore album. "Heartless" was also included in their third live album, The Fray: Live from SoHo,[43] which was released on April 7, 2009. On 10 November 2009, the band released a deluxe edition of The Fray which contained a second disc of never before released songs, including "Heartless".[44]

The Fray is featured on Timbaland's album, Shock Value II, which was released on December 8, 2009. They were featured on the song "Undertow", which, despite not being released as a single, entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #100, the week ending November 28, 2009.[45] On December 21, 2009, The Fray released five acoustic Christmas songs for free download from the band's official website and their new fanpage. The Christmas EP contained the songs "Away in a Manger", "O Come All Ye Faithful", "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel", "Silent Night" and "The First Noel".[46] The Fray will open for U2 on the 2010 leg of the U2 360° Tour when they perform in Oakland, Seattle and Edmonton in June.[47]

The band is currently working on their third studio album.[48]

Musical style

How to Save a Life consisted of a mix of mid-tempo piano driven pop-rock tracks and power ballads.[49][50] The band's sophomore album did not see a change of style. However, the album spread the spectrum of the music: the pop-rock songs were faster and more energetic, while the ballads were softer than the ballads on the first album.[51]

Lead vocalist and pianist Isaac Slade's vocals feature falsetto and a strong American accent. His vocal style on the debut album was marked by a simple and emotive style.[52] On the second album, his vocals, while retaining the basic style on the debut album, were stronger, edgier and more aggressive, most notably on the tracks "We Build Then We Break" and "Say When".[53]


The lyrics on both albums revolve around life's problems and issues. Common themes include troubled relationships, growing up, the problem of evil, war and happiness. The honest and emotional nature of the lyrics[1][54] has also had critics labeling The Fray as emo, comparing them to mainstream emo acts like Jimmy Eat World and Something Corporate.[55] In an interview, Slade stated: "We're not like real rocking rockers; we'd rather write about feeling and emotions".[56]

The Fray's initial songs contained lyrics with strong Christian messages, and they cited Christian rock groups as influences.[57] However, the band soon gave up themes of Christianity and any trace of religion in their lyrics.[58][59] They have since stated that they do not consider themselves a Christian band.[60]

Awards and Nominations





Band members

Current members

Former members

  • Dan Battenhouse – bass guitar, backing vocals (2002–2004)
  • Zach Johnson – drums, percussion (2002–2003)
  • Caleb Slade – bass guitar, backing vocals (2002)
  • Mike Ayars – lead guitar (2002–2003)

Touring members

  • Jeremy McCoy – bass guitar, backing vocals (2009–present)
  • Dan Lavery – bass guitar, backing vocals (2007–2009)
  • Jimmy Stofer – bass guitar, backing vocals (2004–2007)


Studio albums

Year Album Chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2005 How to Save a Life
  • Released: October 23, 2007
  • Label: Epic
14 4 1
2009 The Fray
  • Released: October 23, 2007
  • Label: Epic
1 8 3
"—" denotes the album failed to chart, not released, or not certified


  1. ^ a b Interview with The Fray. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Daniel Kreps. "On the Charts: Springsteen Slips to Second as the Fray Lock Up Number One : Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Nominees". Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Artists of the Decade". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Hoard, Christian. "The Fray". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Sendra, Tim. "How to Save a Life". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Oliver, Nic. "The Fray - The Fray". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "The Fray Biography". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Isaac Slade". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Fray Biography". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  11. ^ Gitlin, Lauren (August 10, 2006). "Enter the Fray". Rolling Stone. 
  12. ^ "Fray Away The Edges".  "About the Guys: The Lost Members". Retrieved October 1, 2006.
  13. ^ The Fray at the 2007 GRAMMYS. YouTube. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  14. ^ Tomlinson, Sarah (24 February 2006). "Life less ordinary". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Fray: Biography".;content_nav. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "The Fray". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  17. ^ Smith, Dane (30 March 2006). "The Fray Live the High "Life"". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  18. ^ "Completely Frayed". Longmont Daily Times-Call. May 12, 2006. 
  19. ^ "Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. October 22, 2005. 
  20. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. October 7, 2006. 
  21. ^ "Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks". Billboard. October 7, 2006. 
  22. ^ Barnes, Ken (13 July 2006). "First half sales: Downloads up; CDs, revenues down". USA Today. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  23. ^ " Scrubs: Music Guide". Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  24. ^ Albiniak, Paige (September 24, 2006). "How 'Grey's' got that catchy new "theme" song". New York Post. 
  25. ^ "The Fray – How to Save a Life: Charts". Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  26. ^ "The Fray at IMDB". IMDb. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  27. ^ a b "The Fray: Official Website". Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  28. ^ "Reverb - Artists". Reverb. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  29. ^ "The Fray - "'You Found Me' (AOL Sessions)"". AOL Sessions. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  30. ^ Ben, Ayala (14 November 2008). "The Fray unveiling song on ABC". Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  31. ^ a b "Rod Blackhurst ::Director :: Photographer". Rod Blackhurst. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  32. ^ "Music Video News: Epic". Video Static. Archived from the original on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  33. ^ a b "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  34. ^ ""Syndicate" Video Out Now!". 9 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  35. ^ "The Fray - The Basics". Billboard. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  36. ^ "Rod Blackhurst - Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  37. ^ Blackhurst, Rod (12 November 2008). "Assorted Documentary Trivia". Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  38. ^ "The Fray Take 2". Denver Magazine. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  39. ^ Herrera, Dave. "Rod Blackhurst puts up a Fair Fight when he has to - Denver Music - Backbeat Online". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  40. ^ "The Official The Fray Site". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  41. ^ "Hear The Fray's exclusive Q Challenge track here - News -". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  42. ^ Kanye West- Heartless (The Fray Cover). YouTube. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  43. ^ Trust, Gary (21 May 2009). "Chart Beat: Kris Allen, SWV, Green Day, Al B. Sure!". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  44. ^ "Deluxe Edition of "The Fray" Out Now". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  45. ^ "Top 100 Music Hits". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  46. ^ "Happy Holidays from The Fray". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  47. ^ "360* 2010: First News On Support Acts". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  48. ^ Montgomery, James (13 July 2009). "The Fray Writing New Songs With Kanye West, Indie Hipsters In Mind". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  49. ^ "The Fray - How to Save a Life Review". 15 December 2005. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  50. ^ "The Fray: How to Save a Life : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". 22 September 2005. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  51. ^ "The Fray: The Fray : Review : Allmusic". 3 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  52. ^ "Album Review: The Fray; How to Save a Life". 9 January 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  53. ^ "Fray, The - The Fray". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  54. ^ Interview with The Fray. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  55. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Review: The Fray - How to Save a Life".  Last accessed October 23, 2006
  56. ^ "The Fray: Blurbs".;content_nav. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  57. ^ "The Fray Biography". accessdate=23 February 2010. 
  58. ^ "Into The Fray". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  59. ^ "The Fray: Band Biography". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  60. ^ "The Fray Biography". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  61. ^ a b c "The Fray Awards and Nominations". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  62. ^ "49th Grammy Awards – 2007". Rock on the Net.  Last accessed February 22, 2007.
  63. ^ a b "RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  64. ^ "ARIA Accreditations - 2007 albums". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  65. ^ "CRIA Gold & Platinum Certifications". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  66. ^ "RIANZ Charts and Certifications". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  67. ^ "BPI Certifications Search Database". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  68. ^ "ARIA Accreditations - 2009 albums". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  69. ^ "CRIA Gold & Platinum Certifications". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 

External links

Simple English

The Fray
Origin Denver, Colorado, United States
Genres Piano rock
Alternative rock
Adult album alternative
Years active 2002–present
Labels Epic
Sony BMG
Isaac Slade
Joe King
David Welsh
Ben Wysocki
Dan Lavery (touring bassist only)
Former members
Caleb Slade
Dan Battenhouse
Zach Johnson
Dave Hedin
Jimmy Stofer (touring bassist only)

The Fray is a rock band formed in 2002. The band's debut album How to Save a Life (album) was released September 2005. The Fray released 1 studio album, 2 live albums, and 2 EP's. The Fray created singles How to Save a Life, Over My Head (Cable Car), Look After You, Vienna, and All at Once.



Studio albums

Date of Release Title Label US Billboard Peak UK Top 75 Peak Australian ARIA Peak
September 13, 2005 How to Save a Life Epic Records
2x Platinum
Beginning of 2009 The Fray[1] Epic Records


Date of Release Title Label
2002 Movement EP Independent
2003 (Original)
2007 (Reissue)
Reason EP Independent (Original)
Epic Records (Reissue)


Date of Release Title Label
July 18, 2006 Live at the Electric Factory: Bootleg No. 1 Epic Records
September 4, 2007 Acoustic in Nashville: Bootleg No. 2 Epic Records


Year Title Chart Positions Album
US Hot 100 US Pop 100 US Modern Rock US Hot AC Hot Adult Top 40 Hot Digital Songs Hot Ringtones Brazil Hot 100 UK Singles Canadian Singles New Zealand Singles Australian Singles
2005 "Over My Head (Cable Car)" 1 8 8 37 3 2 6 20 5 19 11 25 22 How to Save a Life
2006 "How to Save a Life" 3 4 31 1 1 1 22 4 4 1 7 2
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" 50 13 Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Single
2007 "Look After You" 59 49 11 12 58 59 How to Save a Life
"All at Once" 23 20 175
2009 "You Found Me"[1] The Fray
  • 1 In the United Kingdom, "How to Save a Life" was released in early 2007 as the band's debut single, followed by "Over My Head (Cable Car)" a few months later



  1. Tate, Jason. "The Fray Line Up New Video" Retrieved on August 19, 2008.

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