We've handpicked from 'Youth and Young Manhood' all the way through to 'WALLS' to assemble the finest work from the Followill four.
Last updated: 20th Apr 2018. Originally published: 19th Apr 2018
Image: Kings Of Leon (credit)
From a debut album that 15 years ago broke four surly, shorted t shirted, incredibly beardy rockers from Nashville Tennesee to the stadium gods they are now, it's an undisputed fact that Kings Of Leon sit at the top table of rock and roll stars that have graced our charts, TV shows, and the pages of NME, Rolling Stone and the like since the turn of the millennium.
In their early days, the three brothers, Caleb, Nathan and Jared, and their cousin Matthew tore up the scene in more ways than one with their first studio offering Youth and Young Manhood which became a sensation in the UK and Ireland, where NME declared it "one of the best debut albums of the last 10 years" and The Guardian described the band as "the kind of authentic, hairy rebels the Rolling Stones longed to be".
It's this debut that gives us three of the tracks on our essential Kings Of Leon playlist; beginning with Red Morning Light a track released when Youngest Brother Jared was 16 and could barely play the bass guitar, while the others 'California Waiting' and Molly's Chambers are so typical of the band's early sounds. All three have inescapable chorus hooks delivered with Caleb's delightful Southern Drawl, while the frenetic and scrappy recordings perfectly capture the band at their rawest.
It was this era where KOL were at their lariest and their reputation as true rock and roll stars proceeded. Drinking, drug taking, fighting and feuding was all part of the deal with the Followill clan and at their partying peak the band were by all accounts a complete nightmare with stage walkoffs a frequent occurrence and all night boozing sessions a normality.
By 2007 the band had dropped two more releases, Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because Of The Times eventually packaged up together in 2009 release Boxed, an effort to bridge the gap between the band's raucous, indie rock era and the stadium rock direction they were heading in with album number four Only By the Night.
From Aha Snake Heartbreak and Because of the Times we've plumped for some absolute beauts; from the unmistakable yelp of 'Charmer' to Led Zeppelin love in 'Four Sticks', the supercharged homage to the UK heard in 'Fans' to arguably the song that best represents the bands Nashville roots 'King Of The Rodeo'.
While some point toward 'Sex On Fire' and 'Use Somebody', as the beginning of the end of the Kings Of Leon best loved by their hip, indie fans, it's impossible to ignore the two songs that made the band absolutely enormous. Sex On Fire gave the band their first ever UK number 1, while its follow up peaked at number two, and featured on worldwide smash Only By The Night and these tracks are joined by the album's haunting opener 'Closer'.
From there on in its been all about the stadium rock, with Come Around Sundown adding a country feel to the more anthemic Kings Of Leon represented in our choices of 'Radioactive' and 'Pyro', while recently a more classic sounding Kings Of Leon have delivered yet more ammo for their setlist through singles like 'Sueprsoaker' and 'Waste A Moment'.
Taken from Mechanical Bull and WALLS respectively, the modern day Kings Of Leon is a gargantuan rock unit with an armoury of songs to die for and a live set that sees them span an entire era of guitar spanking goodness.
As we look forward to their massive headline set at Leeds Festival this August bank holiday, you can get in the mood with our massive Kings Of Leon YouTube playlist.