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Imagine Dragons

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Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons, Roundhouse, London (35390234536).jpg
Imagine Dragons in June 2017
Background information
OriginLas Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Genres
Years active2008–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteimaginedragonsmusic.com
Members
Past members

Imagine Dragons is an American rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, consisting of lead vocalist Dan Reynolds, lead guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman.[1] The band first gained exposure with the release of their single "It's Time", followed by their award-winning debut studio album Night Visions (2012), which resulted in the chart-topping singles "Radioactive" and "Demons". Rolling Stone named "Radioactive", which holds the record for most weeks charted on the Billboard Hot 100, the "biggest rock hit of the year".[1][2][3] MTV called them "the year's biggest breakout band",[4] and Billboard named them their "Breakthrough Band of 2013" and "Biggest Band of 2017".[5] and placed them at the top of their "Year In Rock" rankings for 2013[6] and 2017.[7]

The band's second studio album Smoke + Mirrors (2015) reached number one in the US, Canada and the UK.[8][9] The album was preceded by the top 40 single "I Bet My Life", and second and third singles, "Gold" and "Shots". The band then embarked on a ten month long world tour, which led to a brief hiatus in 2016, with occasional performances and soundtrack contributions throughout the remainder of the year.

The band released their third studio album, Evolve (2017) which resulted in three chart-topping singles, "Believer", "Thunder", and "Whatever It Takes", also making them the artist with the most weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart. The album reached the top five in most countries. While all three albums were commercially successful, critical reception was mixed.[10]

After the Evolve Tour was completed, Imagine Dragons released their fourth studio album Origins, on November 9, 2018. "Natural" and "Zero" were released as the first singles off the album. Afterwords, "Machine" and "Bad Liar" were also released. A previously released single titled "Born to Be Yours" was included on a deluxe version of the album.[11]

Imagine Dragons has won three American Music Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, one Grammy Award, one MTV Video Music Award and one World Music Award. In May 2014, the band was nominated for fourteen Billboard Music Awards, including Top Artist of the Year and a Milestone Award, which recognizes innovation and creativity of artists across different genres. In April 2018, the band was nominated eleven more times for Billboard Music Awards.[12] Imagine Dragons have sold 12 million albums and 35 million singles worldwide.[13]

History[edit]

2008–2011: Early years[edit]

In 2008, lead singer Dan Reynolds met drummer Andrew Tolman at Brigham Young University where they were both students.[14] Reynolds and Tolman added Andrew Beck, Dave Lemke, and Aurora Florence to play guitar, bass, and piano respectively for their band. Their name is an anagram for a phrase only known to members of the group, that Reynolds stated each member approved of.[15] The five-piece released an extended play titled Speak to Me that same year. Beck and Florence would also depart from the band's lineup that year. In 2009, Tolman recruited longtime high school friend Wayne Sermon, who had graduated from Berklee College of Music to play guitar. Tolman later recruited his wife, Brittany Tolman, to sing backup and play keys, and the band began to play shows together again. Lemke left the band later on, leading Sermon to recruit another Berklee music student, Ben McKee, to join the band as their bassist and complete the lineup.[16][17] The band garnered a large following in their hometown of Provo, Utah, before the members moved to Las Vegas, the hometown of Dan Reynolds, where the band recorded and released their first three EPs.[18]

The band released EPs titled Imagine Dragons[19] and Hell and Silence[20] in 2010, both recorded at Battle Born Studios, in Las Vegas. They returned to the studio in 2011.[21][22][23] The third EP, It's Time, was made before they signed a record deal.[24]

They got their first big break when Train's frontman Pat Monahan fell sick just prior to the Bite of Las Vegas Festival 2009. Imagine Dragons were called to fill in and performed to a crowd of more than 26,000 people.[25] Local accolades including "Best CD of 2011" (Vegas SEVEN),[26] "Best Local Indie Band 2010" (Las Vegas Weekly),[27] "Las Vegas' Newest Must See Live Act" (Las Vegas CityLife),[28] Vegas Music Summit Headliner 2010,[29] and more sent the band on a positive trajectory. In November 2011 they signed with Interscope Records and began working with English Grammy winning producer Alex da Kid.[30] Eventually the Tolmans would leave the group and Daniel Platzman would be recruited in August 2011 by invitation from Ben McKee, prior to the signing of the band's label deal in November 2011, alongside keyboardist Theresa Flaminio.[31]

2012–2014: Night Visions and international success[edit]

Theresa Flaminio departed from Imagine Dragons in early 2012, leaving them as a four-piece. The band worked closely with Alex da Kid, with whom they recorded their first major label release at Westlake Recording Studios in West Hollywood, California. An EP entitled Continued Silence was released on Valentine's Day (February 14, 2012) digitally and peaked at number 40 on the Billboard 200. The band also released an EP titled Hear Me in 2012.

Shortly after, "It's Time" was released as a single and peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.[32] The music video debuted on April 17, 2012 on all MTV affiliates and was subsequently nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in the "Best Rock Video" category.[33] "It's Time" was certified a double platinum single by the RIAA.[34]

The band finished recording their debut album Night Visions in the summer of 2012 at Studio X inside Palms Casino Resort and released the album in the United States on the day after Labor Day (September 4, 2012). It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart with first week sales in excess of 83,000 copies, the highest charting for a debut rock album since 2006.[35] The album also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative and Rock Album charts as well as the top ten on the Australian, Austrian, Canadian, Dutch, German, Irish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Scottish, Spanish, and United Kingdom Albums charts. It won a Billboard Music Award for Top Rock Album and was nominated for the Juno Award for International Album of the Year.[36] Night Visions is certified platinum by the RIAA as well as in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. The album produced three tracks that reached the Billboard Top 40, four tracks in the ARIA Top 40, and five tracks charting in the UK Top 40.

The band embarked on the Night Visions Tour in 2013.

The album's second single "Radioactive" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs, Billboard Rock Songs, and Swedish singles chart and has sold more than seven million singles in the United States, smashing a record by spending 87 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. "Radioactive" stayed at No. 1 on the Hot Rock Songs chart for a record-breaking 23 weeks and ultimately became the genre's biggest hit of 2013.[37] It peaked at No. 3, becoming their first top ten single in the United States and broke the record for the longest run into the top five. It is the best-selling rock song on the Nielsen SoundScan running list of best-selling rock songs in digital history.[38] By the end of 2013, "Radioactive" had already sold over 3 million copies.[39] Rolling Stone called it "the biggest rock hit of the year". It was also the most streamed song of 2013 on Spotify in the United States.[40] It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, winning the latter of the two. In 2015, it was certified diamond by the RIAA for sales in excess of 10 million copies in the United States.[41] Third single "Demons" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Songs and No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold more than 5 million copies in the United States to date.[34][42]

Billboard listed them as one of "2012's Brightest New Stars" and later "The Breakout Band of 2013".[43] Imagine Dragons won the 2014 Billboard Music Awards for Top Duo/Group, Top Hot 100 Artist, and Top Rock Artist. Amazon.com called the band their "Favorite Rock artist of 2012".[44]

In 2013, Imagine Dragons returned to Europe and North America with the Night Visions Tour.[45] The band announced 13 additional US summer tour dates which also sold out.[46] The band then announced a North America Amphitheatre tour.[47] The band also confirmed that they were unable to fulfill the request of acting as support for Muse.[48] Pollstar listed the band in their Top 20 Concert Tours list by average box office gross despite their average ticket price being the third lowest on the list.[49]

The band released a live album, Live at Independent Records, in April 2013.[50]

2014–2016: Smoke + Mirrors and hiatus[edit]

Imagine Dragons at Barclays Center, Brooklyn New York

At Lollapalooza in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the last date on the Into the Night Tour, the band announced a rest, and complemented saying, "This is our last show for a while, and had no better place to end this tour".[51] The conclusion of the Into the Night Tour signaled the end of the Night Visions album cycle. Lead singer Dan Reynolds joked about the end of the Night Visions cycle, saying that "We're always writing on the road, [so] that second album will come, unless we die at the age of 27 next year. Hopefully we don't die and there will be a second album. I don't know when it will be, but it may come".[52]

The idea behind the second studio album, dubbed as their "New Year's resolution",[53] was to create music and finish it when the band feels that their work is done. Reynolds told MTV in 2014 that the band wanted to "put out an album that we're really happy with". He further said that "we tend to be perfectionists, too hard on ourselves at times, and we don't want to rush anything because we know how we are with things. We don't want to put a record out until we really feel good about it, you know, and who knows how long that will take".[54] Since the beginning of the Night Visions Tour, the band had been writing new material for an upcoming album, and, even as early as the start of the tour, had been recording demos for the album, before entering the studio.[55] By the time that they entered the studio to work on the album, they had amassed 50 demos to work from.[56] The demos had been described by Reynolds as "definitely different", but added that "it’s still Imagine Dragons, but we’ve got a lot of growth and maturing to do as a band. I think the new material is going to hopefully be a step in the right direction. We’re just trying to create and do what comes out and what feels right". Drummer Daniel Platzman added that the band are critical of themselves, with "no room for external pressure".[57]

Inspired greatly by the band's travels on both their previous tours and the Night Visions Tour, the album explored world culture as a musical item and overall motif in the album. Dan Reynolds told New Orleans-based newspaper The Times-Picayune that there was "a lot of inspiration to be drawn from [the world tour]. You kind of realize that you’re a lot smaller than you think".[58] In addition, Reynolds stated to music magazine Rolling Stone that the next album will be "different" from Night Visions, and that the band intends the album to be "stripped back quite a bit". He added that "we embraced a lot of hip-hop influences with Night Visions, but I think the next record will be more rock-driven. It’s too early to say, but there is some weird stuff going on in these songs".[56]

Prior to the album's release, Imagine Dragons released a number of singles for other projects including a song for the film Transformers: Age of Extinction, called "Battle Cry" (June 2014) and song "Warriors" for the 2014 League of Legends World Championship (September 2014).[59]

On October 24, they revealed the lead single to the upcoming album, "I Bet My Life" via several visual snippets on Facebook and Instagram. It was released on October 27.[60] It was sent to US Alternative radio for adds on November 3.[61]

Imagine Dragons performed in Seoul World Cup Stadium, South Korea, at the 2014 League of Legends World Championship[62] and the halftime show at the 102nd Grey Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia.[63]

On December 12, 2014, Imagine Dragons posted on social media a request that fans in the US look around their city for some surprises and post their findings. They also hinted about two locations in Las Vegas. Shortly, billboards featuring artwork, the band's name, a hashtag ("#smoke+mirrors"), and an additional titles, presumed to be the track names were discovered. The following titles were revealed "Summer", "Shots", "Polaroid", "I'm So Sorry", and "Gold". Next, the band direct messaged various fans puzzle pieces of the artwork for the album (each file numbered, at least 13 in total). When combined, the puzzle pieces appear to reveal the cover art and album title. The title, cover art, and release date were revealed on social media two days later.

Working with Metric, which did a three-song acoustic set, Imagine Dragons played at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles on February 5, 2015. The half-hour set included the breakthrough songs "It's Time" and "Radioactive" from Night Visions. The performance was the live debut for "Summer" and "I'm So Sorry", along with "Gold" and "I Bet My Life" from the album Smoke + Mirrors, which was released on February 17, 2015. The band's 2015 North American summer tour began in Portland, Oregon on June 3.

During the band's tour, Imagine Dragons released two non-album singles. "Roots" was released on August 26, 2015 and "I Was Me" on October 12, 2015 via iTunes. The band also released a cover of "I Love You All the Time" by Eagles of Death Metal on December 18, 2015, in support of the victims of the November 2015 Paris attacks. The Smoke + Mirrors Tour ended on February 5, 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

In an interview, Reynolds told Billboard that the band would be taking a hiatus for the remainder of 2016, stating, "This is the year we're going to actually take time off. We haven't stopped in, like, six years, so we've forced ourselves to at least take a year off."[64] The band released a one night only concert film, Imagine Dragons In Concert: Smoke + Mirrors, in select theaters on March 2, 2016. The film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray under the title Imagine Dragons: Smoke + Mirrors Live. They also released the song "Not Today" from the soundtrack for Me Before You on April 28. The band also appears on the soundtrack for the film Suicide Squad. The song, titled "Sucker for Pain", features Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Logic, Ty Dolla Sign, and X Ambassadors.[65]

The band recorded the song "Levitate" for the science fiction film Passengers. The track was released on November 28, 2016.[66]

2016–2018: Evolve[edit]

Imagine Dragons performing in Sydney, Australia in May 2018.

On September 27, 2016, Imagine Dragons began teasing their third studio album with a tweet simply saying "studio". The band continued posting cryptic messages on their Twitter account for the next four months. On January 28, 2017, the band started posting a series of videos teasing the album's first single.[67] The time-lapse videos featured lead singer Dan Reynolds drawing surreal images on a drawing pad. Morse code was hidden in the videos and translated to "objects of same color".

On February 1, 2017, Imagine Dragons released "Believer" as the lead single for their next album. "Believer" was used as part of the Super Bowl ad for the Nintendo Switch.[68] Imagine Dragons were part of the Wayhome summer 2017 lineup in Oro-Medonte, Ontario.[69] On April 27, 2017, Imagine Dragons released "Thunder" as the second single from their third album.[70] On May 8, 2017, Imagine Dragons announced their third studio album Evolve, as well as a new track "Whatever It Takes", which was released on the same day.[71] A tour in support for the album was also announced within the same day. The tour was held across 33 countries from September 2017 through September 2018.

Evolve was released on June 23, 2017, worldwide. The album reached the top five in most countries but was met with mixed critical reception. The band performed in NOS Alive, Portugal on July 8.[72] "Whatever It Takes" was released as an official single off the album a few months later on October 6, 2017.[73] The song won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video in 2018. On February 14, 2018, Imagine Dragons announced a new single titled "Next to Me" on Twitter. The song was released as part of a re-issue of Evolve on February 21, 2018.[74]

On June 12, 2018, Imagine Dragons announced a new single in collaboration with Kygo titled "Born to Be Yours" on Twitter. The song was released on June 15, 2018.[75] On June 22, 2018, in collaboration with film score composer Hans Zimmer, lead singer Dan Reynolds released a single titled "Skipping Stones". The song was released in correspondence with his new documentary, Believer, a film that discusses the topic of the intersection between the LGBT community and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All proceeds from the song go towards life-saving LGBTQ charities.[76]

2018–present: Origins[edit]

On July 12, 2018, Imagine Dragons announced a new single titled "Natural" on Twitter. The song was released on July 17, 2018.[77] The song is confirmed to be the anthem for the 2018 ESPN College Football season.[78] On September 18, 2018, Imagine Dragons announced a new single titled Zero, which was released on September 19, 2018. It will be used in the end credits of the upcoming Walt Disney Animation Studios film Ralph Breaks the Internet.[79]

On October 3, 2018, Imagine Dragons announced their fourth studio album, Origins, which was released on November 9, 2018. “Natural” and “Zero” serve as the lead singles off the album. The band has described this album as a sister album to their previous work Evolve.[80] On October 31, 2018, Imagine Dragons released their third single off the album, "Machine".[81] Lastly, on November 6, 2018, Imagine Dragons released their fourth single of the album, "Bad Liar".[82]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Imagine Dragons' musical style has mainly been described as alternative rock,[83][84][85][86] pop rock,[87][88][89][90] indie rock,[91][92] electronic rock,[93] dance-pop[85] electropop,[85] pop,[88][94] and arena rock.[85][94][95] Their music also has some influences of folk, R&B, hip hop and EDM.[94][96]

Dan Reynolds cites Arcade Fire, Nirvana, Muse, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Coldplay, Linkin Park,[97] Harry Nilsson, and U2 as some of his and the band's artistic influences. In terms of success, Reynolds credits bands like Foster the People and Mumford & Sons for bringing alternative pop music to a new level of commercial success in recent years.[98]

Television appearances[edit]

TV series guestings[edit]

The band performed an exclusive show for the sixth-season finale of the TV series Live from the Artists Den (2013).[99] On October 24, 2013, Imagine Dragons guest-starred on an episode of truTV's Impractical Jokers, where losers Joe and Sal had to perform an opening act as "Señora Lanza" at a packed concert in Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Band members join Murr and Q on the hijinks.[100] Imagine Dragons appeared on the first episode of the 2015 series The Muppets, to perform part of the song "Roots".[101]

Singles promotion[edit]

Imagine Dragons has performed "It's Time" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2012), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2012), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2012), and Conan (2013). They performed "Radioactive" live on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2012), The Late Show with David Letterman (2013), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2013), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2013), and the MTV Europe Music Awards (2013).[102] The band has performed "I Bet My Life" at the American Music Awards (2014),[103] and The Ellen DeGeneres Show[104] (2015). Imagine Dragons performed a version of "Revolution" at The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles (2014).[105] They have also performed "Shots" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2015), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2015), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2015). They returned twice to The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2017, performing "Believer" on the first visit and "Thunder" on the second time. They also performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. They also performed "Believer" and "Thunder" at the New Year's Eve party 2018 in New Orleans, which was broadcast live on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. In July 2018, the band returned to Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform "Natural".

Other live performances[edit]

The band also performed on Good Morning America (2013[106] and 2015[104]), American Music Awards (2013), MTV Europe Music Awards (2013), Grammy Awards (2014), Saturday Night Live (2014), Billboard Music Awards (2014), and the MuchMusic Video Awards (2014).[107][108] They also headlined the MLB's Target All-Star Concert (2014) and the inaugural Made In America Music Festival in Los Angeles.[109] The band collaborated with Khalid at the American Music Awards (2017). The band headlined the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival on September 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada after finishing the last leg of their Evolve World Tour.

Charitable contributions[edit]

Imagine Dragons performing at the 2017 Utah LoveLoud Fest dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth.

In 2013, along with the family of Tyler Robinson, Imagine Dragons started a charity called the Tyler Robinson Foundation, helping young people battling cancer. Beginning in 2014, the first annual Tyler Robinson Foundation Gala was held in Las Vegas.[110] Imagine Dragons performed for "Playing It Forward" (S1 E2) to raise $100k for school music programs.[111] The band partnered with mtvU to help choose four Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship recipients.[112] They partnered with Do the Write Thing: National Campaign to Stop Violence for a fundraising event.[113]

Imagine Dragons performed as part of Amnesty International's "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert in Brooklyn on February 5, 2014.[114] In 2015, Imagine Dragons released the track "I Was Me" for the One4 project with all proceeds going to the UN Refugee Agency to support fleeing refugees, particularly in the Middle East.[115] Imagine Dragons also released cover track "I Love You All The Time" to benefit the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.[116] In 2017, the band helped organize the annual LoveLoud Festival which aims to raise awareness about LGBTQ youth and benefit LGBTQ organizations such as the Trevor Project.[117]

Band members[edit]

Current members

  • Dan Reynolds – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, percussion (2008–present)
  • Wayne Sermon – lead guitar, backing vocals, mandolin (2009–present)
  • Ben McKee – bass, piano, keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals, guitar (2009–present)
  • Daniel Platzman – drums, percussion, backing vocals, rhythm guitar, viola, keyboards (2011–present)

Former members

  • Andrew Tolman – drums, percussion, backing vocals, rhythm guitar (2008–2011)
  • Brittany Tolman – piano, keyboards, backing vocals, rhythm guitar (2009–2011)
  • Theresa Flaminio — piano, keyboards, backing vocals (2011)
  • Dave Lemke – bass, backing vocals (2008–2009)
  • Aurora Florence – piano, keyboards, backing vocals, violin (2008)
  • Andrew Beck – guitar, backing vocals (2008)

Touring musicians

  • Ryan Walker – piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, mandolin, backing vocals, tambourine (2012–2015)[118]
  • Will Wells – piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2015–2017) [119][120]
  • Elliot Schwartzman – piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2017–present)

Timeline

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Tours[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]