The Big Come Up

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The Big Come Up
The Black Keys - The Big Come Up.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 14, 2002
RecordedJanuary and February 2002
StudioSynth Etiquette Analog Sound (Akron, OH)
  • 54:15 (CD)
  • 33:49 (LP)
ProducerPatrick Carney
The Black Keys chronology
The Big Come Up
Singles from The Big Come Up
  1. "Leavin' Trunk"
    Released: 2003
  2. "She Said, She Said"
    Released: 2003
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[2]
Regina Leader-Post4.5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[4]

The Big Come Up is the debut studio album by the American rock duo The Black Keys, released in May 14, 2002 on Alive Records.

Background and recording[edit]

The album was created in Akron, Ohio, also known as the Rubber City.[6] As the two began to grow up, they realized that rubber companies, such as Goodyear, were a dying industry.[7] They knew they were not guaranteed an automatic job by achieving a college degree, so the two dropped out of college to pursue their musical career. They began producing "The Big Come Up" in their basement.[8] Carney and Auerbach recorded the album in Carney's basement, using two microphones bought off of eBay. They recorded their album on an 8-track tape recorder because there was no longer a need for a needle, it did not break or shatter, and it could be played in the car.[9] The record contains thirteen songs. Eight of them are original tracks, with five cover songs. "240 Years Before Your Time", the closing track, becomes silent at about 1:39 into the track on the CD version. This silence lasts until 21:41.


The Big Come Up was released through Alive Records on May 14, 2002. Alive re-presses this album regularly, often several times a year on different colored vinyl or with altered sleeve artwork. These are usually marketed as limited editions.[10] They have released the album on vinyl on at least 14 separate occasions,[11] opening themselves up to criticism, particularly in regard to the marketing term "limited edition".[12]

The band also released an EP that included covers of the blues song "Leaving' Trunk" and the Beatles' song "She Said, She Said". The song "I'll Be Your Man" was used as the theme song for the HBO series Hung. "I'll Be Your Man" also appeared on the FX series Rescue Me.


According to Nielsen Soundscan, the album sold around 139,000 copies.[13] The two did not make much money off of the album, so they had trouble paying for a tour. Therefore, they raised money by mowing lawns for their landlord. Although the album sold poorly, it gained a cult following and attracted critics. In 2005 music critic Chuck Klosterman singled out The Big Come Up as one of 21 "high-quality albums" from the previous three years.[14] As the two blues-rock singers began to gain attention, they caught the eye of American Independent record label, Fat Possum Records. Fat Possum Records quietly released blues music that drew inspiration from the gritty country blues guitar rhythms and from artists like Junior Kimbrough, one of Carney and Auerbach's leading inspirations.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney except where noted.

CD Version
1."Busted" (originally titled "Skinny Woman") (R.L. Burnside)2:34
2."Do the Rump" (Junior Kimbrough)2:38
3."I'll Be Your Man"2:21
5."The Breaks"3:01
6."Run Me Down" (Muddy Waters)2:27
7."Leavin' Trunk" (Traditional)3:00
8."Heavy Soul"2:09
9."She Said, She Said" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)2:32
10."Them Eyes"2:23
12."Brooklyn Bound"3:11
13."240 Years Before Your Time"23:20
Vinyl Version: Side A
1."Busted" (originally titled "Skinny Woman") (R.L. Burnside)2:33
2."Do the Rump" (Junior Kimbrough)2:37
3."I'll Be Your Man"2:20
5."The Breaks"3:02
6."Run Me Down"2:27
7."She Said, She Said" (Alternative Version) (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)2:32
Vinyl Version: Side B
1."Heavy Soul" (Alternate Version)2:08
2."Yearnin'" (Alternate Version)1:58
3."No Fun" (Vinyl Exclusive) (The Stooges)2:33
4."Them Eyes"2:23
5."Leavin' Trunk" (Traditional)3:00
6."Brooklyn Bound"3:11
7."240 Years Before Your Time"2:27



  • Patrick Boissel – album cover design
  • Michael Carney – album cover design, photography
  • Dave Schultz – mastering


  1. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. "The Black Keys - The Big Come Up". AllMusic. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857125958.
  3. ^ Krochak, Gerry; Block, Sheri; Tessmer, Chris; Matheson, Emmet (May 25, 2002). "Eminem offers monster beats". Regina Leader-Post.
  4. ^ Relic, Peter (October 17, 2002). "The Black Keys : The Big Come Up". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 9, 1998. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  5. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (January 2003). "The Black Keys: The Big Come Up (Alive)/Mr. Airplane Man: Moanin' (Sympathy for the Record Industry)/The Raveonettes: Whip It On (Crunchy Frog)". Spin. 19 (1): 101. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Johnson, Susan Allyn (1 January 1990). "How the "Rubber City" Became the "Capital of West Virginia": A Case Study of Early Appalachian Migration". Journal of Appalachian Studies. 6 (1/2): 109–120. JSTOR 41446454.
  7. ^ "Akron Bolsters Police For Rubber Strike Vote By the Associated Press.. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 30 Mar 1935: 4".
  8. ^ "How The BLACK KEYS Rose Without Trace .Thomson, Graeme. The Word (Mar 2002): 54-57".
  9. ^ Kennedy, Dan (1994-08-01). "A Tale of Two CD's". The American Mathematical Monthly. 101 (7): 603–608. doi:10.2307/2974689. JSTOR 2974689.
  10. ^ "Bomp Records".
  11. ^ "The Black Keys - The Big Come Up".
  12. ^ "Re: Different "The Big Come Up" vinyl editions… - The Black Keys Fan Lounge".
  13. ^ Mapes, Jillian (1992-01-06). "Tightened Up: Inside the Black Keys' Rise to Arena-Sized Fame". Prometheus Global Media.
  14. ^ "21st century rock: Chuck Klosterman celebrates twenty-one high-quality albums from the past three years (in no particular order)". Stereogum. Buzz Media. 1995-05-02.