Such revivalist music was matched by a similarly revivalist appearance -- including long hair, mustaches, and tight-fitting denim -- and Kings of Leon experienced immediate popularity in the U. As the band explored different sonic textures with subsequent releases, most notably on 's Because of the Times and 's Only by the Night, those tenuous links to the Strokes were finally dissolved. Comprised of three Followill brothers -- Caleb guitar , Nathan drums , and Jared bass -- as well as first cousin Matthew Followill guitar , Kings of Leon formed in The Followill siblings had spent their youth traveling across America's heartland with their evangelist father, decamping at Pentecostal churches and tent revivals for several days at a time before moving onward.
When their father resigned from the church and divorced his wife in , the boys relocated to Nashville and embraced the rock music not to mention the accompanying lifestyle they'd previously been denied. Cousin Matthew was added to the lineup, and a Southern garage rock sound quickly emerged. Tours across North America and the U. Thanks to the popular single "Molly's Chambers," the album found moderate success in the U.
However, it was their sophomore effort, 's Aha Shake Heartbreak, that made them European stars, with three songs cracking the U. The album saw an American release in February , and Kings of Leon toured the country alongside U2 before retreating to work on their third effort.
The darker, expansive Because of the Times followed in Featuring production from Ethan Johns who had helmed the band's previous releases as well , the album proved to be the band's biggest release to date, debuting at number 25 on the U. Billboard and topping the album charts in the U. Kings of Leon returned one year later with Only by the Night, a colossally popular album whose lead single, "Sex on Fire," gave the band its first number one hit in the U.
The album itself fared similarly well, topping the U. It eventually gained platinum status in eight countries, including America, and its success allowed the band to tour heavily throughout much of and Live at the O2 was released in late , capturing one of the band's midsummer performances in London. Kings of Leon briefly holed up in Manhattan's Avatar Studios to work on a fifth record, but they returned to the road during the summer of , taking the opportunity to play some of their new material in concert.
By the time the tour wrapped up in September, the group's newest single, "Radioactive," had already been released. The accompanying album, Come Around Sundown, followed in October. The record was a worldwide hit and reached number one in 15 countries, including the U. Later that year they embarked on a marathon tour; however, a disastrous show in Texas resulted in frontman Caleb walking off the stage without returning for the end of the set.
After this incident, the brothers decided to undertake a self-imposed hiatus in and canceled the rest of the tour while the band attempted to reconcile their personal and group problems. They returned to the band with a batch of new material and set to work on their sixth record, Mechanical Bull, which appeared in September of Buoyed by the single "Supersoaker," the album reached number two on the Billboard and garnered a nomination for Best Rock Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Following the end of the band's Mechanical Bull tour, Kings of Leon revealed they had already begun work on a follow-up.