Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14: Caleb Followill, lead singer and guitarist with Kings of Leon is 32-years-old today.

Anthony Caleb Followill from the Grammy Award-winning American rock band Kings of Leon is from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Known for his distinctive baritone singing voice, other members of the group are his brothers Jared who plays bass and Nathan on drums, and his cousin, lead guitarist Matthew. Followill says his biggest song writing influences come from Townes Van Zandt, Dave Alvin, Roger Miller and Pearl Jam, Blaze Foley and Neil Young.

Kings of Leon formed in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in 1999. The band's early music was an upbeat blend of Southern rock and blues influences, but it has gradually expanded its sound to include a variety of genres and a more alternative rock or arena rock sound.

Kings of Leon achieved initial success in the United Kingdom with nine Top 40 singles, two BRIT Awards in 2008, and all three of the band's albums at the time peaking in the top five of the UK Albums Chart. Their third album Because of the Times also reached the #1 spot.

After the release of Only by the Night in September 2008, they achieved chart success in their home country. The singles "Sex on Fire," "Use Somebody" and "Notion" all peaked at #1 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The album itself was their first ever platinum-selling album in the U.S. It was also the best-selling album of 2008 in Australia, being certified nine-times Platinum.

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Come Around Sundown


The three Followill brothers spent much of their youth traveling around the Southern U.S. with their father, Ivan Leon Followill, a United Pentecostal Church preacher and their mother, Betty-Ann, who taught them when they were not in school.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, "While Leon preached at churches and tent revivals throughout the Deep South, the boys attended services and were occasionally enlisted to bang on drums. Except for a five-year period when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followills' childhoods were spent driving through the southern United States in a purple 1988 Oldsmobile, decamping for a week or two wherever Leon was scheduled to preach."

When the boys' father resigned from the church and divorced his wife in 1997, the boys relocated to Nashville and embraced the rock music and lifestyle in stark contrast to their upbringing. There they met songwriter Angelo Petraglia, who helped them hone their songwriting skills and introduced them to the musical influences of Thin Lizzy, The Rolling Stones and The Clash.

Six months later, Nathan and Caleb signed with RCA Records, who insisted that the duo recruit more members for the band before launching their career. The band was formed when cousin Matthew and younger brother Jared were asked to join. They named themselves Kings of Leon in honor of Nathan, Caleb, and Jared's father (Matthew's uncle) and grandfather, who were both named Leon.

In an interview the brothers said they "kidnapped" their cousin Matthew from his hometown in Mississippi in order for him to join the band. They told his mother that he was only going to be staying for a week and just never let him go home. "We locked ourselves in the basement with an ounce of marijuana and literally spent a month down there. My mom would bring us food down," added Nathan. "And at the end of that month the label people came and we had "Molly's Chambers," "California Waiting," "Wicker Chair" and "Holy Roller Novocaine.""

Their first record, the Holy Roller Novocaine EP was released on February 18, 2003. At this stage, Jared was only 16 years old and had not yet learned to play the bass guitar. The release of the single gave the Kings of Leon a significant amount of exposure prior to the release of their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, receiving a 4/5 star rating from Rolling Stone magazine. All the songs released on the EP were co-written by Angelo Petraglia who also produced the record.

Youth and Young Manhood was released in the U.K. in July 2003, and in the U.S. that August. It became a sensation in the U.K. and Ireland, where NME declared it "one of the best debut album of the last 10 years." Following the release of the album, Kings of Leon was chosen to tour with The Strokes and U2.
The band's second album, Aha Shake Heartbreak, was released in the U.K. in October 2004 and in the U.S. in February 2005. Building on the southern-infused garage rock of their first album, it broadened the band's audience. "The Bucket," "Four Kicks" and "King of the Rodeo" were all released as singles, with "The Bucket" rising into the Top 20 in Britain.

In March 2006, Kings of Leon were back in the studio working on their third album titled Because of the Times, which may be a reference to a church ministers' conference of the same name held at The Pentecostals of Alexandria church in Alexandria, Louisiana, that the brothers often attended. The album showed a clear evolution from Kings of Leon's previous work, as the band's trademark dirty, southern-fried swagger was replaced with a more polished, clean-cut sound.

The album was released on April 2, 2007, in the U.K. and a day later in the U.S. preceded by the single "On Call," which became a hit in Britain and Ireland. It debuted at number one in Britain and Ireland and entered the European charts at number 25, selling approximately 70,000 copies in its first week of release. NME said that the album "cements Kings of Leon as one of the great American bands of our times." album produced hit singles in Europe, including "Charmer" and "Fans."

Kings of Leon fourth studio album, Only by the Night, entered the U.K. Albums Chart at number one and remained there for one more week. Only by the Night also had two single-week stints as the U.K. #1 album in 2009, one directly after the BRIT Awards. In the U.S., the album reached number 5 on the Billboard Charts.

The album was officially named as the U.K.'s third-biggest-selling album of 2008 and the biggest-selling album of 2008 in Australia.

"Sex on Fire" was the first single released for download in the U.K. on 8 September. The song became their most successful as it peaked at number one in the UK and in Ireland. It was also their first song to chart number one on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock chart.

The second single to be released from the album on December 8, 2008, was "Use Somebody," which achieved worldwide chart success and consistency, such as peaking at number two in the U.K. Singles Chart and also reaching top 10 chart positions in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the U.S.
In Australia four singles were voted into the world's largest music poll, the "Triple J Hottest 100." The song "Crawl" came in at number 70, "Closer" was voted number 24 and "Use Somebody" finished number 3 in the poll.

The band's fifth album, Come Around Sundown was released on October 18, 2010 in the U.K., and October 19, 2010 in the U.S. It was recorded in Nashville and New York.

On October 31, 2011, the band announced that after the conclusion of their Australian tour in November that they would be going on hiatus for about six months.

In 2012, they announced they'd be starting to work on a new album in the near future.

For more about Caleb and Kings of Leon, visit their Website at -



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