In 2001, suburban Sheffield, England teenagers Alex Turner and Jamie Cook learned guitar and formed Arctic Monkeys with high school chums Glyn Jones, Andy Nicholson and Matt Helders on vocals, bass and drums, respectively. Jones departed quickly, and Turner became the Monkeys’ frontman by default.
After notching a few gigs in 2003, the Monkeys started burning demos onto CDs and giving them away. Their growing legion of fans began posting and trading tracks online (the first Arctic Monkeys MySpace page was hosted by a fan, not the band). Although the British media believed the band was comprised of savvy technomarketers with a calculated plan, the fact was that the Monkeys themselves had no idea at the time how to actually post music online. In 2005, the band self-released a collection of demos and a single and played much-hyped gigs at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, leading to their Domino Records contract.
Arctic Monkeys were an immediate sensation.
Their first two singles went straight to No. 1 in the UK, their 2006 full length label debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, became the fastest selling album in British chart history and the band won that year’s Mercury Prize.
Nicholson, flustered by the group’s success, left after the Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? EP and was replaced by Nick O’Malley. The Monkeys have built success upon success since then — their 2007 sophomore album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, hit No.1 and all 12 of its tracks, plus an additional six, were simultaneously in the Top 200 of the UK Singles Chart.
Arctic Monkeys’ latest release, last year’s Humbug, was co-produced by Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and was the band’s third consecutive UK No. 1 and U.S. Top 25 album, spawning a number of successful singles and EPs (all with quality B-sides, a tactic that's fueled their chart rise), including their latest, My Propellor.
It’s only hype if it isn’t true: Arctic Monkeys are well on their way to becoming one of Britain’s historically great bands.
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