Ben Folds Five
Ben Folds Five
|Origin||Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Genres||Alternative rock, power pop|
|Years active||1993–2000, 2008, 2011–2013 (hiatus)|
|Labels||Passenger, Caroline, 550|
Ben Folds Five is an American alternative rock trio formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The group's members are Ben Folds (lead vocals, piano, keyboards, melodica, principal songwriting), Robert Sledge (bass guitar, double bass, synthesizer, backing vocals), and Darren Jessee (drums, percussion, backing vocals, songwriter). The group achieved mainstream success in the alternative, indie and pop music scenes. Their single "Brick" from the 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen gained airplay on many mainstream radio stations. During their first seven years together, the band released three proper studio records, one retrospective album of B-sides and outtakes, and eight singles. They also contributed to a number of soundtracks and compilations. Ben Folds Five disbanded in October 2000. They reunited in 2011, and released their fourth album The Sound of the Life of the Mind in 2012.
Ben Folds Five was formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill by Ben Folds. They were a trio in spite of their name, and the primary motivation behind the name, apart from the band's well-known use of humor, was simple preference, according to Ben: "I think it sounds better than Ben Folds Three." Folds once described their music as "punk rock for sissies," a reaction to the angst prevalent in '90s rock.
Their first radio single was "Underground" from their self-titled debut album, released in 1995 on Caroline Records. The band's biggest success was the single "Brick" from their second album, Whatever and Ever Amen, released in 1997. It was followed by the more somber and jazz-based 1999 album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. The group contributed an outtake from the Reinhold Messner sessions, titled "Leather Jacket", to the 1999 benefit album, No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees.
The band's final released recording was a cover of Steely Dan's "Barrytown" for the Me, Myself & Irene soundtrack. The band had begun work on a fourth studio album, but following the worldwide tour in support of The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, the band "amicably" broke up in October 2000. Tracks from the sessions would later emerge on subsequent solo projects.
After the break-up
Folds went on to pursue a successful solo career, releasing Rockin' the Suburbs in 2001, Songs for Silverman in 2005, Way to Normal in 2008, Lonely Avenue in collaboration with novelist Nick Hornby in 2010, and So There in collaboration with the chamber group yMusic in 2015. He produced and arranged actor William Shatner's second album, Has Been, as well as co-wrote the majority of the songs with Shatner. Folds also contributed songs to the soundtracks for the animated movies Hoodwinked! and Over the Hedge.
Darren Jessee formed the acclaimed indie band Hotel Lights, with his songs featured in television and film. Jessee released five studio albums for Bar/None Records including Hotel Lights in 2006, Firecracker People in 2008, Girl Graffiti in 2011, Get Your Hand in My Hand in 2016, and his first solo album, The Jane, Room 217 in 2018.
Robert Sledge played with International Orange until the group disbanded in 2005. He is currently the bass player in the three-piece Chapel Hill, NC band Surrender Human with Matt McMichaels from the Mayflies USA.
Ben Folds Five made a one-off concert appearance in September 2008 at the UNC Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill as part of the MySpace "Front to Back" series, in which artists play an entire album live. The band played its then-final album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, and were briefly joined on stage by Ben's father, Dean Folds, who read a transcript of his voice mail message that is used in the album song "Your Most Valuable Possession", encoring with some of the songs from their first two albums.
2011–2013: The Sound of the Life of the Mind, Live and hiatus
In 2011, Ben Folds Five reunited to record three tracks for Ben Folds' The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. Sarah Rodman of the Boston Globe also reported that Ben Folds Five would be reconvened in December 2011 to record a new album.
For the 2012 Mountain Jam festival, Ben Folds Five was announced as one of the main headliners. It was at Mountain Jam where Ben Folds Five reunited for their first live performance together in years. They were also announced in the 2012 Bonnaroo and Summerfest lineups. The band announced an August release of their new album, followed by a full American tour in September and October. They then travelled to Ireland and the UK for a tour in November and December 2012. These dates eventually formed The Sound of the Life of the Mind Tour.
On May 7, 2012, Ben Folds Five launched an interactive pre-sale campaign for the release of their new album on PledgeMusic. The campaign shot to 200% in its first week of being live. Folds has said that they have enough material for at least two more records.
During a June 28, 2012, Ben Folds Five performance at Summerfest, Folds announced the album had been completed.
On September 17, 2012, Nerdist posted the video for "Do It Anyway", the first single off the album The Sound of the Life of the Mind, featuring Anna Kendrick, Rob Corddry, Chris Hardwick and the cast of Fraggle Rock. The day afterward, The Sound of the Life of the Mind was released.
On June 4, 2013, the trio released their first live album, titled Live. During the summer of 2013, Ben Folds Five toured with the Barenaked Ladies and Guster. Following the tour, Ben Folds Five entered a hiatus. Folds has since returned to his solo work, releasing the album So There with yMusic in 2015. Darren Jessee toured as part of Sharon Van Etten's band in 2014 and 2015. In 2016 he returned to Hotel Lights, releasing the album Get Your Hand in My Hand. Later that year he joined Hiss Golden Messenger. In 2018 Jessee released his first solo album The Jane, Room 217. Sledge has focused on teaching music in Chapel Hill, as well as playing in the band Surrender Human.
|Ben Folds Five discography|
|Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Ben Folds Five||—||37||—||72||—||—|
|Whatever and Ever Amen
|The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
|The Sound of the Life of the Mind
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1996||"Where's Summer B.?"||—||—||—||—||—||76||Ben Folds Five|
|1997||"Battle of Who Could Care Less"||—||22||149||—||—||26||Whatever and Ever Amen|
|"One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces"||—||—||134||—||—||—|
|1998||"Song for the Dumped"||—||23||73||—||—||—|
|1999||"Army"||—||17||65||—||—||28||The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner|
|"Don't Change Your Plans"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012||"Do It Anyway"||—||—||—||—||88||—||The Sound of the Life of the Mind|
|"—" denotes singles that did not chart.|
- Ben Folds Five – The Complete Sessions at West 54th (1999) – Epic Music Video
Soundtracks and compilations
- Mr. Wrong soundtrack (1996) – Contributed "Song for the Dumped"
- The Truth About Cats & Dogs soundtrack (1996) – Contributed "Bad Idea"
- KCRW Rare On Air, Volume 3 (1997) – Contributed "Alice Childress"
- Lounge-A-Palooza (1997) – Contributed cover of "She Don't Use Jelly" by The Flaming Lips
- MegaHits Dance Party, Volume 2 (1998) – Contributed "Brick (3AM Dance Remix)"
- Naked Baby Photos (1998) – Compilation album comprising outtake material
- Triple J Hottest 100, Volume 5 (1998) – Contributed "One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces"
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch – The Album soundtrack (1998) – Contributed "Kate"
- Godzilla soundtrack (1998) – Contributed "Air"
- Burt Bacharach: One Amazing Night (1998) – Contributed "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head"
- Teleconned, Volume 1: We Want The Airwaves (1998) – Contributed "Theme From Dr. Pyser"
- No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees benefit album (1999) – Contributed "Leather Jacket"
- Me, Myself & Irene soundtrack (2000) – Contributed a cover of "Barrytown" by Steely Dan from their third studio album Pretzel Logic
- Songs for Summer benefit album (2000) – Contributed "Where's Summer B.?"
- Non Stop '90s Rock (2001) – Contributed "Brick"
- Songbook (2002) – Contributed "Smoke"
- Hofmann, Pieter (March 10, 1997). "Waist Deep in Pianos and Buses". Drop-D Magazine. Retrieved September 2, 2006.
- Thomas, Sarah (2006-08-25). "Ben Folds with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
- "Ben with the Breeze". Melbourne: The Breeze. April 1, 2005. Retrieved November 27, 2006.
- "Ben Folds Five delights in reunion" Archived September 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Catch Ben Folds Five's First Reunion Performance Tomorrow! | The Official Ben Folds Site". Benfolds.com. June 1, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Folds, Ben (May 15, 2012). "Ben Folds Audio Interview – New Ben Folds Five Record". Blogger. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- Folds, Ben (September 17, 2012). "EXCLUSIVE!: Ben Folds Five and the Fraggles Sing "Do It Anyway"". Nerdist. Archived from the original on September 20, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- Ben Folds Five First Official Live Album To Be Released June 4 | The Official Ben Folds Site, 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
- "Ben Folds Tour". Benfolds.com. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "Billboard > Ben Folds Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- Australian (ARIA) peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: "australian-charts.com > Ben Folds Five in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- Top 100 peaks to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 105.
- "Battle of Who Could Care Less" and "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces": "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received May 24, 2016". Imgur.com. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
- "Song for the Dumped": "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 27 Sep 1998". ARIA, via Imgur.com. Retrieved February 3, 2016. N.B. The HP column displays the highest peak reached.
- "Army": "ariaNET The Chart! Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 12th April 1999". ARIA, via Imgur.com. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- Peak chart positions for albums in Canada:
- Whatever and Ever Amen: "Ben Folds Five Top Albums/CDs positions for Whatever and Ever Amen". RPM. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner: "Ben Folds Five Top Albums/CDs positions for The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner". RPM. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- Peak chart positions for albums in Japan:
- All releases except as noted below: "ベン・フォールズ・ファイヴのCDアルバムランキング" [Ben Folds Five: Highest position and charting weeks on the albums chart]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- The Best Imitation of Myself: "ベン・フォールズのCDアルバムランキング" [Ben Folds: Highest position and charting weeks on the albums chart]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Peak positions for singles in Scotland:
- For "Whatever and Ever Amen": "Chart Archive > March 9, 1997". Official Charts Company.
- For "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner": "Chart Archive > May 2, 1999". Official Charts Company.
- For "The Sound of the Life of the Mind": "Chart Archive > September 23, 2012". Official Charts Company.
- "Official Charts > Ben Folds Five". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- "RIAJ > The Record > May 1997 > Certified Awards (March 1997)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 23, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "American album certifications – Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- "RIAJ > The Record > June 1997 > Certified Awards (April 1997)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- "MC > Album > June 1997 > Certified Awards (August 27, 1998)". Music Canada. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
- "Billboard > Ben Folds Chart History > Radio Songs". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- "Billboard > Ben Folds Chart History > Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- Peak chart positions for singles in Canada:
- "Billboard > Ben Folds Chart History > Japan Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2019.