The Black Keys Biography
The Black Keys, named in honor of a schizophrenic artist who called the boys “black keys”, his phrase for people who weren't quite right, was formed in Akron, Ohio USA, in 2001 by two childhood friends, singer + guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. Despite their Midwestern roots, the duo manage to convey a sound that strongly recalls the Southern Blues-Rock of The Allman Brothers Band and The Black Crowes, but the music is much more straightforward than either of those more-established acts, with nary a trace of Funk, R&B or Pop.
They made their first, self-released, record, "The Big Come Up", in the spring of 2002 and embarked on their first tour that year, after being fired from their day jobs. Following enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics, the two men decided to remain unemployed, so they could devote all of their time to their music.
They practiced and toured relentlessly, then released their second album, "Thickfreakness", their first on Fat Possum, in April 2003; it ended up breaking the top 50 of the U.S. Independent Albums chart.
Later that year, the band took up residence on the second floor of a cavernous former tire factory. Putting together an ad-hoc studio of second-hand equipment and old magnetic tape recycled from not-quite-right recordings of Mississippi fried chicken joint commercials, sessions for "Rubber Factory", the band's third record in as many years, begin in January and last until April 2004. It peaked at #11 on The Top Independent Albums chart crossing over to The Billboard 200 Sales list reaching the #143 slot.
Cut to early 2006, The Black Keys return to the basement, Carney's new studio Audio Eagle, to record "Magic Potion", their first full-length disc for Nonesuch Records. Upon its September 2006 release, the 11-song set climbed up The Billboard Top 200 chart to a respectable position of 95.
April 2008 saw the Akron-based minimalist Rock duo issue their fifth album, "Attack & Release"; it doubled the sales of their previous CD and crested at #14 in U.S. spawning the alt-Rock radio minor hit single "Strange Times". The album was also a success overseas in Australia where it peaked at #12 and even in U.K. with a top 40 debut.
The Black Keys scored its most succesful album two years with "Brothers", the disc was powered by the smash hit "Tighten Up", a single which rose to #1 on both Billboard's Alternative and Rock Songs charts. "Brothers" broke into the top 3 of The Billboard 200 and grabbed a #4 spot on the Canadian Albums chart. At the 53rd Grammy Awards the album, which generated another Alternative Songs top 3 hit with the single "Howlin' For You", won them honors for Best Alternative Music Album, that same night, Auerbach and Carney also took home the Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for their song "Tighten Up".
"El Camino" followed in December 2011 and quickly catapulted into the top 3 of the North American Albums charts going platinum in both U.S. and Canada while the first single, "Lonely Boy", shot to #1 on The Alternative Songs list. The album, which also hit the top 10 in U.K. and Australia, contained two more hits, "Gold On The Ceiling", #1 on Modern Rock radio and "Little Black Submarines" which peaked at #2 on the same chart.
At the 55th Grammy Awards their single "Lonely Boy" got the prize for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance and "El Camino" was named Best Rock Album. To cap that success, Dan Auerbach also won the producer of the year award.
The Black Keys are out with a new slinking hypnotic cut "Fever". It is the first single from their eighth studio album, "Turn Blue", which will be released on May 13, 2014.