The Killers are an American indie rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, formed in 2002. The band consists of Brandon Flowers (vocals, keyboards), Dave Keuning (guitar, vocals), Mark August Stoermer (bass guitar, vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums, percussion).
Part of the post-punk revival movement, 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.
In 2002, Brandon Flowers was abandoned by his first band, a synthpop band known as Blush Response, 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. 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".
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 and BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe. The Killers went on to sign with the British label.
In August 2003 , "Mr. Brightside" premiered on UK Radio. The Killers then travelled to England and began to play shows in bars and clubs. They received rave reviews from journalists , Radio DJ's and fans in the UK and this was soon the case in the US where they were signed by Island Def Jam.
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. Hot Fuss has been classified 6x Platinum by the BPI and 3x Platinum by RIAA. The band also had chart success with its singles "Mr. Brightside", which reached the Top 10 in the UK when released, and "All These Things That I've Done". However, their mainstream success came when they scored a number three chart position in the UK with their re-release of "Somebody Told Me".
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. 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.
The Killers' second album, Sam's Town, was released in October 2006 under Island Def Jam Music Group. Brandon Flowers said that Sam's Town would be "one of the best albums people would remember 20 years from now", though the album received a mixed response from critics and fans. The album sold over 706,000 copies worldwide in the first week of release, with a number two debut on the Billboard chart. The record sold over a million copies by January 2007. 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. 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.
The Killers recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road on November 29, 2006. 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. In June 2007, The Killers headlined the iconic Glastonbury Festival.
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. The album's first single "Tranquilize", a collaboration with Lou Reed, was released in October 2007. 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. The band released a cover version of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" on the American iTunes Store that same month.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 hiatus after being on the road for the best part of six years.
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.
In the United Kingdom debut album 'Hot Fuss' was the 26th best selling album of the decade , it also spent more weeks on the UK Album Chart than any other album , in total spending 173 weeks in the Top 100 , 'Sam's Town' was the 70th best selling album of the decade and The Killers were the 21st Best Selling Artist of the decade
The Killers finished 4th in the MTV Greatest Superstars poll which was run throughout August 2009 on MTV: the poll included all genres of music.
In November 2009, The Killers' single "Mr Brightside" was voted the number one song of the decade by the listeners of the UK's largest Alternative Rock station XFM. Over 14,000 individual votes were made by XFM listeners via Xfm.co.uk., with "Somebody Told Me" coming in at 9, "All These Things That I've Done" at 22, "When You Were Young" at 31, "Read My Mind" at 86, and "Human" at 94.
The Rolling Stones readers, in December 2009, voted 'Sam's Town' the most underated album of the decade. Rolling Stones also voted "Hot Fuss" as the 43rd best album in the 100 Best Albums of the Decade and Mr Brightside the 48th Best Song Of The Decade.
The Killers came in at #2 on the Last.fm "Best of 2009" list with 12,471,571 album scrobbles.
Amazon.com UK released their lists of the best-selling artists and albums of the decade, 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 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,"
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.
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 , Spaceman at 342, Jenny Was A Friend of Mine at 327, Bones at 325 , Smile Like You Mean It at 219 , Read My Mind at 168, Human at 122 , Somebody told me at 61, When You Were Young at 51 . All These Things That I've Done came in at number 18. 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.
Since going platinum, the band have 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".
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. However, after Wentz commented on the rivalry on his blog in September 2005, he offered a virtual cease-fire. 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.
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.
Official Website: thekillersmusic.com