The Rise of Kings Of Leon

In putting their fourth album together in just a few months, Jackson started to write in a rhythm that would eventually turn to old-school jazz and his vocals became more sensual– almost androgynous. The production had a bit of an ’80s ‘silver fringe’ and the trackwriting took on a ’90s ’emotional flick’ attitude as well. Three decades on from their triple-platinum breakthrough, the LA-dwelling Kings of Leon have managed to cope with success — by becoming messianic, self-regarding “heirs” of world music.

And as if their early success was a bonus, they’re bringing excitement to the festival circuit once again – a trip to Switzerland, Canada and their hometown of San Diego, California on Nov 26, plus gigs in Japan, Russia and Iceland.

Some of our favourite lyrics from ‘Only By The Night’…

“It’s not even loud, it’s just so clear,/The sweetest sound I know on the old records/Won’t you please go dance, won’t you? Not just dance, I wanna shake your hand/Go and listen to the sounds of love”

“Things that belong together are outstandingly heaven/Martyrroses pretending to sin as we mock them”

“Nothing to put on the matches, nothing for the broomstick/Hope the fire won’t go too hot/You didn’t even want to try when you took it”

“Remember the good old days we used to let fellas get away with it”

’You’re Gonna Miss Me’ was released in 1998 and cracked the Top 10 in the UK (and a lucky few American shores as well). The album topped the Official Albums Chart for a week, was #45 in the Official Singles Chart, and set a whole new standard for what makes an album – listenable. It was such a commercial success that there were rumours that both British and American presidents were discussing it when they were caught up in a firefight in the Sahara Desert while hunting “terrorist-guest” Osama bin Laden. We’ll never know for sure, but the album was a massive catalyst for Kings Of Leon’s success up until this very day.

Since debuting six years ago on America’s KROQ, they’ve spent countless months getting gigs in American bars and clubs but also hitting us with an incredibly wide range of personal vignettes. I’ll give you just one example….

Check out this statement about ’You’re Gonna Miss Me’…

’You are one of the sweetest songs I have ever heard. You have written it with such ability. I hope everything works out with this man who has been my godfather for five years. I’ve changed my friendship with Bowie since he passed away because I can’t believe he crossed over to make music in this strange new alien world ‒ saxophone

Two years ago, the band had 2015 marked out as ‘Only By The Night’ returned to the UK scene. “It was a real eye-opener for me because I realised I [had] started from day one with a dedication to this music,” Jackson says. “It’s my life. It’s been since I was twelve years old. It’s not like I were just walking into an investment bank.”

We asked him what he hopes others take away from this new album.

“The songs we have written today are not old songs that I have picked and lifted,” he say. “It was one of the easier songs we had to perform, because I had sold it on the radio the year before. So the entire album is our writing right now – those songs and lyrics today. This is the music we’re living the music– the lyrics and the tunes – so it was a natural progression [for] us.”

He goes on to explain that they never imagined that They Might Be Giants’ “Everybody Has A Theory” or their guest track, “Little Joy”, were going to be major hits. “Everything didn’t go our way personally on ‘Only By The Night’, but creatively it’s working. It’s an evolution. ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ is the inspiration to continue working.”