The Parlotones

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The Parlotones
The Parlotones 2011.jpg
Background information
Origin Johannesburg, South Africa
Genres Alternative rock, Indie rock, New wave, Post-punk revival
Years active 1998 – Present
Labels Universal Music, Sovereign Entertainment
Members Kahn Morbee
Neil Pauw
Glenn Hodgson
Paul Hodgson

The Parlotones are a rock band from Johannesburg, South Africa. They have achieved multiplatinum-selling status in their home country.[citation needed] The band started in 1998.[1] The band is known for the face make-up worn by lead singer Kahn Morbee.[2]

Kahn Morbee (2010)
Neil Pauw (2010)
Paul Hodgson (2010)
Glenn Hodgson (2010)


Formation and early years (1998-2002)[edit]

Lead singer Kahn Morbee and drummer Neil Pauw met in 1998. The two had attended the same high school and got together after Pauw heard the songs Morbee had written. Brothers Glenn Hodgson and Paul Hodgson, bassist and guitarists met Morbee in university after they were dismissed from a library for playing guitar inside it.[3] The band first performed as a punk-influenced band in 1998 known as 'Crayon'.[4] The band name later changed to 'The Parlotones' - a variation on the name of Parlophone Records, a record label to which two of the bands' favourite artists Radiohead and The Beatles had been signed. Lead singer Kahn Morbee cites The Smiths, The Cure, R.E.M. and Radiohead as musical influences.[5]

Episoda to A World Next Door to Yours (2003-2007)[edit]

In October 2003, the Parlotones self-released their debut album, Episoda.[6] The first album to reach mainstream success was their second release, Radiocontrolledrobot through Sovereign Entertainment, which came out in July 2005[7] and won the "Best Rock Album" award at the 2006 South African Music Awards.[8] The ballad "Beautiful" was used in an Irish Fujifilm television commercial, which led to a European licence deal with Universal Music.[9] The album achieved Gold status in 2007.[citation needed] Their next album, A World Next Door to Yours, was released in September 2007;[7] and became biggest-selling South African rock album of that decade. [10] [11]

They are spokespersons for both Live Earth and Earth Hour, along with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Prince Charles, and Rihanna. [12] [13] [14] [15]

Life Design to present (2009-present)[edit]

The Parlotones' video to the single "Life Design", from their third studio album Stardust Galaxies; was added on MTV Europe. [16]

In 2009 the Parlotones played the Midem Talent Showcase in Cannes, France, where they met the American band Blue October. The Parlotones were subsequently invited to play their first US tour as the opening act on Blue October's Pick Up the Phone Tour for their Approaching Normal album. The matchup proved successful and the Parlotones have gone on to play several more US tours as headliners.

The band performed at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration concert along with Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, and Shakira.

The Parlotones also recorded a song with the lead singer of Freshlyground, Zolani Mahola, called Stardust Galaxies.

The Parlotones staged an original rock theatre production, Dragonflies and Astronauts, which was broadcast live around the world in 3D via DIRECTV and in 2D on Facebook. The 3D broadcast was so well received in the United States that the satellite provider scheduled 100 re-airings, while more than half of the worldwide viewership on Facebook was from the US. Dragonflies and Astronauts featured songs from the band’s catalogue, including 16 songs that were Top 40 hits in South Africa.[citation needed]

Their song "Rock Paper Scissors", featured on the popular American TV series One Tree Hill.[17]

In October 2011, The Parlotones were the opening act for the Cape Town and Johannesburg concerts of Coldplay's tour to South Africa.[18]

In September 2012, it was announced that the band was moving to Los Angeles, California. [19][20][21] The Parlotones relocated to the US in January 2013. The band played two sold-out farewell shows at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and Ellis Park Stadium. The first venue the band played at following their move was The Viper Room in Los Angeles.[22]

In 2013 The Parlotones' manager Raphael Domalik released a book called The Parlotones "Sold Out!". It narrates the trials and tribulations, according to Raphael, of the rise of the South African super group and is a retelling of what it took for the band to get where they are from a management perspective.[23]

After 12 successful years alongside record/management label, Sovereign Entertainment, The Parlotones officially announced their departure from the record label on 10 July 2014. [24] The Parlotones also parted ways with long-time manager, Raphael Domalik after it was discovered that Domalik and Sovereign Entertainment owned all rights to the Parlotones' material with the band receiving no royalties for their work.[25]

In July 2014, the band announced that all touring was postponed until further notice due to lead singer Khan Morbee having vocal cord complications requiring surgery.[26] Performances missed as a result of the surgery included a fundraising concert for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in August 2014.[27] The Parlotones resumed touring in 2015 in support of their new album Antiques & Artifacts in a 21 concert South African tour running from April to May.[28][29] In September 2015, Morbee was announced as one of the coaches for the South African version of The Voice.[30]


  • South African Music Awards (SAMA) 2006 — Best Rock Album[8]
  • You Magazine Awards 2007 — Best Band[8]
  • FHM Readers' Choice 2007[8]
  • MK Awards 2007 — Best Video[8]
  • People’s Choice Awards 2008 — Best Music Act[8]
  • Best Band Award — Caxton’s "Best of JHB"
  • Loerie Kraft Award 2008 (the first time that a music video has won at the Loeries)[citation needed]
  • MTV Africa 2008 — Best Group nomination[citation needed]
  • MTV Africa 2008 — Best Alternative nomination[citation needed]
  • International Songwriting Competition (ISC) 2008 Music Video (first place) for "Overexposed" [31]
  • International Songwriting Competition (ISC) 2008 Performance (second place) for "Giant Mistake" [31]
  • MK Awards 2009 — Best Video[citation needed]
  • MK Awards 2009 — Best Animation[citation needed]
  • MK Awards 2009 — Best Serenade[citation needed]
  • SAMA Awards 2009 — MTN Record of the year (nomination) for "I'll Be There" [32]
  • SAMA Awards 2009 — Best Global Chart DVD (nomination) for Unplugged [32]
  • SAMA Awards 2009 — Best Music Video of the Year for "Overexposed" [33]
  • SAMA Awards 2010 — Best rock album for Stardust Galaxies[34]
  • SAMA Awards 2010 — Best music video for "Push Me to the Floor"[34]


Europe, Asia & MTV[edit]

  • They released their album Stardust Galaxies in the UK and Europe in June 2010.[citation needed]
  • The single "Life Design" was released in the UK in April 2010.[citation needed]

Wine brand[edit]

On 16 September 2009, The Parlotones together with Hands on Wine[36] released a red wine, "Giant Mistake", named after their single from the album, A World Next Door to Yours. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (54%), Shiraz (23%), Pinotage (12%), and Cabernet Franc (11%).[37]

In April 2010 a white wine, "Push Me to the Floor", was released, named after their single from the album Stardust Galaxies. The wine is a blend of Chenin blanc (60%), Gewürztraminer (15%), Chardonnay (20%,) and Viognier (5%).[38]

On 5 October 2010 a rosé, "We Call This Dancing", was released, named after the song from Stardust Galaxies. The wine is a blend of Wellington Pinotage (55%), Wellington Shiraz (25%), and a balance — a blend of 30 different varietals from the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near Hermanus (20%).[39]

Band members[edit]

As of 2015, the members of The Parlotones are as follows:[3]


Studio albums[edit]


  • Superstars (2002)
  • Borderline Patrol (2004)
  • Beautiful (2007)
  • Radiocontrolled Robot (2008)
  • Come Back as Hero's (2010)
  • Journey Through the Shadows (Exclusive) (2012)
  • Shake it up (2013)

Live Albums[edit]

  • Unplugged (CD, and DVD Live at the Emperors Palace) (2008)
  • Live Design (Live CD and DVD video compilation) (2010)


  • Videocontrolledrobot (CD and DVD video compilation) (2008)
  • Unplugged (CD and DVD video compilation) (2008)
  • Stardust Galaxies Limited Edition (2X CD compilation) (2009)
  • Live Design (CD and DVD video compilation) (2010)
  • Eavesdropping on the songs of Whales Deluxe Edition (CD and DVD video compilation) (2011)
  • Live Aus Johannesburg (CD and DVD video compilation*(Life Design is the SA Version)) (2011)
  • Dragonflies and Astronauts (2CD and DVD video compilation) (2012)
  • Journey Through the Shadows (CD and DVD video compilation) (2012)

Single CDs[edit]

  • Beautiful (2006)
  • Dragonflies and Astronauts (2007)
  • Shake It Up (2013)

Promo CDs[edit]

  • Louder Than Bombs (2007)
  • Here Comes A Man (2007)
  • Giant Mistake (2008)
  • Bird In Flight (2009)
  • Life Design (2009)
  • Overexposed (2009)
  • Stardust Galaxies (2009)
  • Push Me To The Floor (2010)
  • We Call This Dancing (2010)
  • Should We Fight Back (2011)
  • Stars Fall Down Should We Fight Back (2011)
  • Goodbyes (2012)
  • Save Your Best Bits (2012)

Media CDs[edit]

  • Push Me to the Floor (2011)
  • Journey Through the Shadows (2012)
  • Honey (2013)


  • Dragonflies & Astronauts 7” (2007)

DVD (Song Videos)[edit]

  • Videos (DVD video compilation with Road to the Dome documentary) (2010)

Other CDs/DVDs[edit]

  • Louder than bombs Best of Russia (CD and DVD compilation) (2010)


  1. ^ "The Parlotones Sign Worldwide Deal With Universal Music". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  2. ^ "The Parlotones : Biografia". Spirit of Rock. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  3. ^ a b "THE BAND". Archived from the original on 6 December 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  4. ^ Scott, Katy (20 February 2015). "The Parlotones UK and Ireland Tour". The South African. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Nevitt, Lisa. "Kahn Morbee at the Zip Zap Circus Charity Event". CapeTownMagazine. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  6. ^ Mkele, Yolisa (22 May 2015). "Local Legends: Would you take 'em home?". TimesLive. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "The Parlotones - Discography". 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "The Parlotones: 8th Annual Program – Pop/Rock Song IMA Nominee / Video IMA Nominee". MUSIC RESOURCE GROUP LLC. Key acknowledgements include Best Rock Album 2006 at South African Music Awards, Best Music Act – People’s Choice Awards 2008, Best Band – You Awards 2007, FHM Readers Choice 2007, Best Video MK Awards 2007, Best Video nomination Resfest 2007. 
  9. ^ The Parlotones Bio,, Retrieved
  10. ^ "The Parlotones: South African Rock Hits the US". The Huffington Post. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Parlotones official website". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Live Earth South Africa in Johannesburg 15-October-2014". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Parlotones: goodbyes, Grammys then US tour". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  14. ^ " - The Parlotones - a rocking good time". Artslink. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  15. ^ SABC. "SABC News - Parlotones get ready for SA farewell tour :Monday 26 November 2012". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  16. ^ "Parlotones single, a hit in Europe". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "One Tree Hill Music". One Tree Hill Web. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  18. ^ Slender Fungus (2011-10-05). "News - The Parlotones interview". Coldplay. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  19. ^ "The Parlotones moving to Los Angeles". Channel. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Parlotones are set to relocate to America :: Media Update". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "The Parlotones Are Moving To America - Rolling Stone South Africa". Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  22. ^ Vomo, Munyaradzi (14 January 2013). "Parlotones say ‘so long’ at sold-out shows". IOL News. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  23. ^ "NEW BOOK CHRONICALS THE RISE OF THE PARLOTONES OUT MID NOVEMBER". The Parlotones. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "THE PARLOTONES PART WAYS WITH RECORD LABEL". The Parlotones. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "Parlotones in money battle with manager". Sunday World. Weekend Argus. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  26. ^ "The Parlotones touring postponed - lead singer to have vocal cord operation". TimesLive. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  27. ^ "Mandela fundraising performance by The Parlotones postponed". Channel24. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  28. ^ Roets, Adriaan (9 June 2015). "The Parlotones are back". The Citizen. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  29. ^ "New album announced, Antiques & Artefacts.". The Parlotones. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  30. ^ Roets, Adriaan (28 September 2015). "Meet The Voice SA coaches". The Citizen. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  31. ^ a b "International Songwriting Competition Previous Winners". 2012 International Songwriting Competition. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  32. ^ a b "South Africa Music Awards 2009 nominees". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  33. ^ "South African Music Awards 2009 Winners". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  34. ^ a b "2010 SAMA Winners". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  35. ^ "Mafikizolo, Uhuru, Davido lead nominations for MTV Africa Music Awards". Sowetan LIVE. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  36. ^ "Hands on Wine | Finding the rock stars of the wine industry. Woolworths SA supports Hands on Wine". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  37. ^ Kavita (2010-08-10). "Giant Mistake 2008". The Parlotones Wine. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  38. ^ "Push Me To The Floor 2010". The Parlotones Wine. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  39. ^ "We Call this dancing 2010". The Parlotones Wine. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  40. ^ "Parlotones To ‘Journey Through The Shadows’". Pollstar. 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 

External links[edit]