10 Bands Destroyed By "Selling Out"

9. Kings Of Leon

Bono U2
Donn Jones/AP

There was a time when the Followill boys were the dirty, gritty, rock ’n’ roll rascals of the indie scene. Hailing from the Deep South, drawling and spitting their way through songs about sex, drugs, and a whole host of other topics that would have their preacher father spinning in his dog collar.

There was something so raw and immediate about the band, and for a long time, they genuinely felt like the most exciting thing to come out of America since the Strokes released Is This It? in 2001. But as the decade began to eke on by, things began to change. At first, it was kind of welcome. Following the ramshackle genius of Youth and Young Manhood, followups Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because Of The Times felt like natural steps to take. Sure, they were polished, but the spirit of the band never felt particularly diminished.

And then it happened. In 2008, Kings of Leon put out Only By The Night, released Sex On Fire, became the biggest band in the world, and instantly jumped the shark. Objectively, their global number one small hit was a decent enough effort, but what it really symbolised was an acknowledgement of the band’s new ambitions, and that was to capitalise on their considerable momentum and talents to become a monstrous commercial success.

Is that a crime? Of course not. Have Kings Of Leon gotten anywhere remotely close to the mastery of their early career since? To be blunt, nope.

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