KLASSIC KUTS : As seen over the old blog on 4 April 2010

It’s a small wonder that so many of the really special bands to emerge out of the shadows in the first decade of the 21st Century have names that begin with the letter ‘K’ .

Especially so, when you consider that other than perhaps The Kinks and Kraftwerk, it is a letter that hasn’t contributed much in terms of musical heritage over the past 40 years (and no, I don’t include Kiss as being one of the great bands of all time).

But look around you now.

Keane. Kaiser Chiefs. The Killers. Kasabian. Kings Of Leon.

A real nap hand of the ideal line-up at any summer festival. The only problem would be deciding who should top the bill…..

And just look at the great connection there is with football.

Keane – named after a truly sensational player
Kaiser Chiefs – named after a famous team
Kasabian – chosen to be the band to launch the new England away strip

And I suppose stretching a little bit, I can offer:-

The Killers – named after a cult English footballer?
Kings of Leon – named after a succesful Mexican side?

Some of you might sneer, but I don’t think we will appreciate just how incredibly rich the musical scene is today until at least 10 or 15 years down the line. After all, it’s not all that long ago since the 80s were re-assessed after many years of being singled out as possibly the most insipid and vacuous decade, and now many of us, particularly readers of JC’s very fine blog, look back and realise that it was an era of great music. And I reckon history will be kind to the noughties, thanks in large part to the special K’s.

It was back in 2004 that Keane took the pop world by storm. The songs on the compelling and amazing debut Hopes and Fears showed that you don’t need loud guitars or quirky synths to record memorable tunes. Not only were they an overnight commercial success, but the critical acclaim through two BRIT Awards and being given the #1 slot in the Best Albums of 2004 by the hugely influential Q Magazine showed just how welcome this new sound was amidst too many dull and samey indie guitar bands.

mp3 : Keane – Somewhere Only We Know

Twelve months later, it was the turn of the a fabulous five-piece from Leeds to take the nation by storm with their infectious hooks, chant-along choruses and hugely energetic live shows. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that the first two singles released by Kaiser Chiefs didn’t set the charts alight, but thanks to sheer hard graft that involved constant touring, they soon got the fan base they richly deserved. Not only did debut LP Employment sell over 1.5 million copies, but the early singles got the reward denied them early on when re-released versions went Top 10.

mp3 : Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God

The Killers are a band that really defy definition. The indie kids love them. The rock fans adore them. The teenyboppers think the singer is sexy. And yet, it took quite a while before I believed there was more to them than just a 21st century tribute band to latter-day New Order. The early singles took the charts by storm – Somebody Told Me and Mr Brightside were never off the radio and are probably the songs most folk associate with the band. But it was the band’s third single that really showed the depth of talent that they possess – the ability to write and record grown-up anthemic love songs that would become the blueprint of Sam’s Town and Day & Age, their subsequent albums in 2006 and 2008 both of which should be in every serious muso’s collection:-

mp3 : The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done

And just like the band mentioned above, Kasabian are another act who have gotten truly great with each successive release. The songs from the self-titled debut LP in 2004 were nothing truly special – they felt like a just another middling indie-band with a hint of dance-floor beats that had listened to loads of Stone Roses records when they were younger. But the release of Empire, both the single and the album, in 2006 was one of the true highlights of the noughties. Overcoming the loss of one of their key members due to ‘artistic and creative differences’, the band released a true epic that will surely always find a spot high up in the critics polls of the greatest albums of all time. The single went Top 10 on downloads alone…and the album went to #1 in the UK as well as Top Ten in Japan.

mp3 : Kasabian – Empire

Now I know I said earlier that it would be difficult to decide who would headline any Special K festival, but I reckon the common consensus would be the Followill boys from Nashville, Tennessee.

All of their earlier releases – Youth and Young Manhood (2003), Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004) and Because Of The Times (2007) are tremendous LPs that perfectly blend indie, blues and rock in a way that no other band has ever managed to do. And there was no better live act doing the rounds in that five year period. But this was merely the prelude to the masterpiece that was Only By The Night, released in September 2008.

Lead single Sex On Fire is probably the most recognisable rock track released since Smells Like Teen Spirit back in the early 90s. Look at the facts. It is the second-most downloaded digital single ever in the UK. In an era when 100,000 copies of a single is regraded as a good result, Sex On Fire had recorded 747,713 sales exactly 12 months after its release. It spent 42 successive weeks in the UK Top 75, only dropping out when a glut of Michael Jackson singles stormed the charts in the wake of his death. But two weeks later, Sex On Fire returned to the Top 75.

As of 28 March 2010, it has now spent 79 weeks on the Top 75, making it the 3rd longest runner of all time and the longest for a #1 single, and 81 weeks in the Top 100. Some 18 months after it was first released, it is still at #68 on the charts and it has now sold over 930,000 copies. Truly mind-blowing.

The thing is…..just about every other track on the LP is equally as good. So it is no surprise that the record-buying public the world over have taken Only By The Night to their hearts, with around 6.5 million sales.

mp3 : Kings Of Leon – Use Somebody

It really would be a magical day if the various promoters could pool their resources and get all five of these bands on the one bill – but there’s no way just a single day would meet the demand for tickets.

And of course, the venue would have to be the legendary Knebworth………

The Ghost Of Troubled Joe, Sunday 4 April 2010

JC adds……you know this blog is in trouble when I’m reduced to reviving such nonsense that originally involved me using a pseudonym.  But it is Friday the 13th….and I am currently on holiday!


  1. I bet when you originally wrote this that you never imagined Mr Brightside would unfathomably still be in the top 100!!!

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