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Arctic Monkeys are an English rock band formed in 2002 in High Green, a suburb of Sheffield. The band consists of Alex Turner (lead vocals, rhythm/lead guitar), Matt Helders (drums, vocals), Jamie Cook (lead/rhythm guitar) and Nick O'Malley (bass, backing vocals). Former band member Andy Nicholson (bass guitar, backing vocals) left the band in 2006 shortly after their debut album was released.
They have released five studio albums: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006), Favourite Worst Nightmare(2007), Humbug (2009), Suck It and See (2011) and AM (2013), as well as one live album, At the Apollo (2008). Their debut album is the fastest-selling debut album by a band in British chart history, and in 2013, Rolling Stone ranked it the 30th-greatest debut album of all time.
The band has won seven Brit Awards – winning both Best British Group and Best British Album three times, and have been nominated for three Grammy Awards.They also won the Mercury Prize in 2006 for their debut album, in addition to receiving nominations in 2007 and 2013. The band have headlined at the Glastonbury Festival twice, in 2007 and again in 2013.
2002–2005: Early years and record deal Edit
he band began rehearsing at Yellow Arch Studios in Neepsend, and played its first gig on 13 June 2003 at The Grapes in Sheffield city centre. After a few performances in 2003, the band began to record demos at 2fly studios in Sheffield. 18 songs were demoed in all and the collection, now known as Beneath the Boardwalk, was burned on to CDs to give away at gigs, which were promptly file-shared amongst fans. The name Beneath the Boardwalk originated when the first batch of demos were sent around. The first sender, wanting to classify the demos, named them after where he received them, the Boardwalk. Slowly, as more demos were spread, they were all classified under this name. This has led to many people falsely believing that Beneath the Boardwalk was an early album, or that the early demos were all released under this title. The group did not mind the distribution, saying "we never made those demos to make money or anything. We were giving them away free anyway – that was a better way for people to hear them."
When asked about the popularity of the band's MySpace site in an interview with Prefix Magazine, the band said that they were unaware what it was, and that the site had originally been created by their fans.
The band began to grow in popularity across the north of England, receiving attention from BBC Radio and the British tabloid press. A local amateur photographer, Mark Bull, filmed the band's performances and made the music video "Fake Tales of San Francisco", releasing it on his website, alongside the contents of Beneath the Boardwalk – a collection of the band's songs which he named after a local music venue. In May 2005, Arctic Monkeys released their debut single Five Minutes with Arctic Monkeys on their own 'Bang Bang' label, featuring the songs "Fake Tales of San Francisco" and "From the Ritz to the Rubble". This release was limited to 500 CDs and 1,000 7" records, but was also available to download from the iTunes Music Store. Soon after, the band played at the Carling Stage of the Reading and Leeds Festivals, reserved for less known or unsigned bands. Their appearance was hyped by much of the music press and the band was watched by an unusually large crowd.
Eventually, they were signed to Domino in June 2005. The band said they were attracted to the DIY ethic of Domino owner Laurence Bell, who ran the label from his flat and only signed bands that he liked personally. The UK's Daily Star reported that this was followed in October by a £1 million publishing deal with EMI and a £725,000 contract with Epic Records for the United States. Arctic Monkeys denied this on their website, dubbing the newspaper "The Daily Stir". However, Domino had licensed the Australian and New Zealand publishing rights to EMI and the Japanese rights to independent label Hostess. Their first single with Domino, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor", which was recorded at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, was released on 17 October 2005 and went straight to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, beating Sugababes and Robbie Williams. Two weeks previous to this, it made its first appearance on the cover of NME. Their second single, "When the Sun Goes Down" (previously titled "Scummy"), released on 16 January 2006, also went straight to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, selling 38,922 copies and taking over that position from Shayne Ward. The band's success with little marketing or advertising led some to suggest that it could signal a change in how new bands achieve recognition.