Arctic Monkeys are an alternative rock band formed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England in 2002 after meeting at Stocksbridge High School. The band consists of Alex Turner (vocals, guitar), Jamie ‘Cookie’ Cook (guitar), Nick O’Malley (bass) and Matt Helders (drums, vocals). Founding bassist Andy Nicholson left in 2006.
Each of the band’s first five singles I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, When the Sun Goes Down, Leave Before The Lights Come On, Brianstorm and Fluorescent Adolescent hit the UK Top Five, but their sixth single, Teddy Picker, only went Top 20 and their seventh single, Crying Lightning peaked at #12.
The band’s rise to success started in late 2004/early 2005 when demo songs which had been handed out in CD form at gigs found their way onto the internet. These demos rapidly spread among message boards and friends leading to a growing fan base for the band, and were collected on the unofficial Beneath the Boardwalk, which the band recognizes on their website. The band owe much of their success to viral buzz via the Internet, and have eschewed typical ‘commercial’ channels, including refusing to appear on the UK’s (now discontinued) Top Of The Pops music program, which was often seen as a gateway to success.
The band’s debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, held the record for the largest first week sales of a debut album in the UK (in its first week, it sold more than the rest of the Top 20 albums combined). The album sold over 360,000 copies in its first week, but lost the title in November 2007 to Leona Lewis’s album Spirit.
On 19th June 2006 the band officially announced that founding member Andy Nicholson had left the band after missing the American leg of their tour due to ‘fatigue’ and the other band members couldn’t stand the constant ‘missing his girlfriend syndrome’ so told him to sling his hook. Former Dodgems bassist, Nick O’Malley was initially brought in as a stand-in, and played the band’s remaining summer commitments. He was then announced as Nicholson’s permanent replacement.
The single Leave Before The Lights Come On came out on August 14th, but only reached Number 4 on the UK charts, denying the band a third consecutive number 1 single.
Their debut album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” won the 2006 Mercury Prize, was chosen as the best album of year 2006 by Q Magazine, and received a slew of other accolades.
Their second album Favourite Worst Nightmare was released on April 23rd 2007. It was preceded by “Brianstorm”, the first single from the album, which was released a week before. Like its predecessor, “Favourite Worst Nightmare” sold more than the rest of the Top 20 combined, and - due to an error on iTunes - every song on the record appeared on the UK Top 200 Singles the next week.
When asked about Favourite Worst Nightmare Alex Turner commented, “We haven’t changed that much. It’s still about making contact with girls or not making contact with girls”.
The band began to write and record demos for the third album in January 2008, Turner said “We had tunes that we’d already been playing on tour so we recorded them. That’s six [songs]. We’re going to take it easy and start practicing over the summer and doing new stuff.”
The band premiered new material from the unreleased album during their January 2009 tour of New Zealand, playing small venues in Wellington and Auckland ahead of the Big Day Out festival. Their first show in more than a year was on January 13, 2009 at Wellington’s Town Hall. In both cities, the new songs played were “Crying Lightning”, “Go-Kart”, “Dangerous Animals” and “Pretty Visitors.” The full set list from the Auckland gig is available online. Also played was a cover of the Nick Cave song “Red Right Hand.” During their last tour, the band had played new songs “Put Me In A Terror Pocket”, “Sandtrap,” and “The Fire And The Thud” live.
Lead singer/songwriter Alex Turner started a two-man project with the singer from the Rascals, Miles Kane. The band is called ‘The Last Shadow Puppets’
The band released their third album Humbug in August of 2009, preceded by the single ” Crying Lightning”
NME reported in January 2011 that the band were teaming up with producer James Ford once again, and would be releasing their fourth studio album in late spring at the earliest. Q magazine reported that the fourth Arctic Monkeys album would be of a "more accessible vintage" than Humbug. Q printed edition 299 states 'It's the sound of a band drawing back the curtains and letting the sunshine in'.
The album was recorded in Sound City Studios in Los Angeles in 2010 and 2011. On 4 March 2011 they premièred on their website a new track called "Brick by Brick" with lead vocals by Matt Helders. Helders explained that this is not a single, just a tease of what is coming and that is definitely going to be in the fourth album. On 10 March 2011 the band revealed the album is to be called Suck It and See and was released on 6 June 2011.
Their fourth album's first single, titled "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair" was released as a digital download on 11 April, and on Vinyl with "Brick by Brick" on 16 April for Record Store Day. On 17 April, it went to No. 28 in the UK Singles Chart. A version of the single with 2 B-sides was released on 7 and 10 inch vinyl on 30 May. The band allowed fans to listen to the entire album on their website before deciding about whether to purchase it or not. Suck It and See was then released on 6 June 2011, and went straight to No. 1 in the album charts. In doing so, Arctic Monkeys became only the second band in history to debut four albums in a row at the top of the charts.
The band announced "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala" as the second single to be taken from Suck It and See. Most of the stock was burned because of the London riots. A limited edition 7" Vinyl of the single was then released over the band's website on 14 August. The song only managed to chart in the top 200 in the UK, however reaching higher in Belgium at No. 25. In September 2011 the band released a music video for the song "Suck It and See" featuring drummer Matt Helders, and announced they would be releasing it as a single on 31 October 2011. In July 2011, the band released a live EP over iTunes with 6 live recordings from the iTunes Festival in London.
On 27 October they released a music video for "Evil Twin" on YouTube, the b-side to their new single "Suck It and See". They performed the song on The Graham Norton Show on 28 October. The 4th single from Suck It and See, "Black Treacle" was released on 23 January 2012. The video for the single was released on YouTube on 5 January 2012. This video continued the theme from the previous single, "Suck It and See" and "Evil Twin".
On 26 February, the band released a brand new song titled "R U Mine?" on their YouTube channel. On 4 March, it went to No. 23 on the UK Singles Chart on downloads alone. On 21 April, the song was released as a single, with the track "Electricity" as a b-side, released additionally for the Record Store Day. On 27 July, they played in the London Summer Olympics opening ceremony, performing "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and a cover of The Beatles' song "Come Together". After the opening ceremony, their version of "Come Together" entered the UK Singles Chart. It later peaked at number 21, becoming their highest charting single since 2009's "Crying Lightning".
On 27 November 2012, the band announced their first live appearances for the next year at various European festivals, indicating they will go on tour with their upcoming album 2013. So far, Arctic Monkeys have been confirmed for Open'er Festival, where they will perform on 4 July 2013, and Super Bock Super Rock Festival, where they will perform on 18 July 2013. In the US, they have been confirmed for the Sasquatch Music Festival in George, WA taking place from 24–27 May 2013. The band will also headline Glastonbury festival and Southside Festival in June 2013. In May 2013, the band debuted a new song titled "Do I Wanna Know?" at the Majestic Ventura Theatre in Los Angeles. On 1 June 2013, the band performed at Free Press Summer Fest in Houston, TX, where they also played "Do I Wanna Know?". On 14 June, the band debuted another song titled "Mad Sounds" at Hultsfred Festival in Sweden.
On 18 June, the band released the official video to "Do I Wanna Know?" via their Facebook page. The studio version of the song, along with accompanying visuals was also made available to purchase via iTunes, and entered at number 11 in the UK singles chart.
On 24 June, the band announced that their new album, entitled AM, will be released on 9 September 2013. The album was recorded in Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, California and features guest appearances from Josh Homme, Pete Thomas and Bill Ryder-Jones.
On 11 August 2013, the third single from the album, "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?", was released, with B-Side 'Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You'. It debuted at no. 8 on UK Singles Chart on 18 August 2013, making it the band's first UK Top 10 single since 2007's "Fluorescent Adolescent". The band streamed the album in its entirety 4 day ahead of it release.
After the release of AM on 9 September 2013, the album debuted at number 1 in the UK album charts, selling over 157,000 copies in its first week. As a result, Arctic Monkeys made history as the first independent label band with five consecutive number 1 albums in the UK.The album has also received critical acclaim, and brought the Arctic Monkeys their third nomination for Mercury Prize.
Alex Turner described AM as the band's "most original album yet," merging hip-hop drum beats with 70's heavy rock. The frontman has said that the song "Arabella" expresses the two styles of the album most effectively in one track. On AM, Turner continued to experiment with unusual lyrics, and the album includes the words from poem "I Wanna Be Yours" by John Cooper Clarke.Turner has stated that Homme's appearance on the song "Knee Socks" marks his favourite moment of the whole album.