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Keane

Keane are an English alternative rock band from Battle, East Sussex, formed in 1997. The group currently comprises Tim Rice-Oxley (piano, backing vocals), Tom Chaplin (lead vocals, guitar), Richard Hughes (drums, percussion) and Jesse Quin (bass guitar, percussion), who first played with the band in late 2007 during the concerts of the single The Night Sky. Their original line-up included founder and guitarist Dominic Scott, who left in 2001.

Keane achieved mainstream success with the release of their debut album, Hopes and Fears, in 2004. The album won multiple awards and was the second best-selling British album of the year. Their second studio album, Under the Iron Sea, continued the band’s success, topping the album charts in the UK and debuting at number-four on the Billboard 200 chart. Their third album, Perfect Symmetry was released in October 2008. In May 2008, both Hopes and Fears (number 13) and Under the Iron Sea (number 8) were voted by readers of Q magazine as among the best British albums ever, with Keane, The Beatles, Oasis and Radiohead the only artists having two albums in the top 20. Their fourth record, Night Train, was released in May 2010, debuting at number 1 on the UK Chart and at number 25 at Billboard 200 US chart.

Keane are known for using a piano (or a synth) as the lead instrument instead of guitars, differentiating them from most other rock bands. The inclusion of a distorted piano effect in 2006 and various synthesisers were a common feature in their music that back then combined the piano rock sound used during their first album and the more electronic sound which developed on the second and third albums. Since the start of their career, the band has sold over 10 million albums worldwide. From their album Perfect Symmetry in 2008, they included the electric guitar, making the sound of the band much more varied, but not leaving aside the traditional piano.

History

Early years and formation (1995-97)

Rice-Oxley’s brother — also called Tom — is a few months younger than Chaplin, who was born in March 1979. Their mothers became friends, as did Chaplin and Rice-Oxley. Tom Chaplin’s father David was the headmaster of Vinehall School in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, (owned by Chaplin’s family) for 25 years, the school all three attended until the age of 13. They later attended Tonbridge School in Kent, where Rice-Oxley met Dominic Scott; both of them discovered rapidly their liking for music. Richard Hughes, future drummer for the band, also attended Tonbridge. Chaplin had also learned to play the flute but none of them considered music as a proper career at the time.

In 1993, while studying at University College, London for a degree in classics, Rice-Oxley managed to form a rock band with Scott, and invited Hughes to play drums. The band, named Lotus Eaters started as a cover band, playing songs by the members’ favourite bands, including U2, Oasis, and The Beatles, and rehearsing at home.

After listening to Rice-Oxley’s piano playing during a weekend at Virginia Water, Surrey in 1997, Chris Martin invited him to join his newly formed band Coldplay. However, Rice-Oxley declined because he did not want to leave The Lotus Eaters, stating, “I was seriously interested, but Keane were already operational and Coldplay’s keyboard player idea was dropped.” Because of Martin’s offer, and although Hughes and Scott were originally opposed to it, Chaplin joined the band in 1997, taking Rice-Oxley’s place as vocalist and adding himself as the acoustic guitarist. Chaplin’s recruitment also marked a change of name from The Lotus Eaters to Cherry Keane, after a friend of Chaplin’s mother, whom Rice-Oxley and Chaplin knew when they were young. She took care of them and would tell them to go for their dreams. At her death from cancer,, she had left money for Chaplin’s family. Chaplin commented: “I used some of the money to see me through the harder times with the music.” The name was shortened to Keane soon afterward.

Chaplin departed for South Africa in the summer of 1997 to work as a volunteer during his gap year. Chaplin’s early experiences there would later be reflected in the band’s position for the Make Poverty History campaign. Returning a year later, in July 1998, following a meeting with friend David Lloyd Seaman, Hughes’ first words when the band picked up Chaplin at the airport were, “we’ve got a gig in ten days.” With original material, Keane made their debut live appearance at the “Hope & Anchor” pub on 13 July 1998. In this same year, Chaplin went to Edinburgh University to study for a degree in art history. However, he later quit his degree and moved to London in order to pursue a full-time musical career with his friends. After their debut performance, the band went touring London’s pub gig circuit throughout 1998 and 1999.

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Early releases and Scott’s departure (1997–2003)

In late 1999, and without a record deal, Keane recorded their first promotional single, “Call Me What You Like”. Released on CD format through Keane’s own label, Zoomorphic, it was sold after live performances at the pubs where Keane used to play in early 2000. Only five hundred copies were printed. The track, however, can be found on the internet. The band have declared they are not against fans sharing tracks unreleased on CD, such as the “More Matey” and “Emily” demo tracks. Chaplin has commented “they most likely see those recordings as an interesting extra to get hold of and I don’t see it causing any damage. If it was the album we have coming out leaked early, then I’d probably feel differently.” The EP was reviewed by Bec Rodwell from eFestivals who listed “Closer Now” as the best song of the record.

Four months after the “Call Me What You Like” re-recording session in February 2001, their second single, “Wolf at the Door” was released. Only fifty hand-made copies are known to have been made, using unlabelled CD-Rs. Both singles are considered highly valuable collectors’ items by fans. In particular, “Wolf at the Door” has been known to be sold for over £1000 on eBay.

 

Discography

Studio Albums

2004 Hopes and Fears – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/keane-hopes-and-fears/

2006 Under The Iron Sea – Coming soon 28/05/2017

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