The Libertines

The Libertines are one of the most exciting, chaotic rock’n’roll groups of the past 20 years and in 2016 they’re still as relevant as ever. Despite only releasing three studio albums, 2002’s debut ‘Up The Bracket’, 2004’s ‘The Libertines’ and 2015’s ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ they have a legacy as one of the most inspiring and influential British bands of the 21st century. They are currently embarking on their first ever arena tour of the UK.

Co-frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barat met while both studying in London: Doherty was an English Literature student at Queen Mary’s while Barat was a Drama undergraduate at Brunel. The pair struck up a friendship based on a shared love of old books and music, and quickly developed their shared vision of Albion – a mythological utopia of old Britain based on influences such as Tony Hancock, William Blake and Siegfried Sassoon. They soon recruited John Hassal (bass) and Gary Powell (drums) to join their band and signed a deal with Rough Trade Records in 2001.

Their debut single ‘What A Water’ was produced by Suede bassist Bernard Butler and released in June 2002. The track was enough for them to be crowned as Britain’s best new band by NME, and they released their first album ‘Up The Bracket’ in 2002 with Clash legend Mick Jones taking over production duties. The album debuted at Number 35 in the UK Albums Chart.

Despite their success, Doherty’s drug use and dependence on crack cocaine and heroin led to the break-down of his relationship with his bandmates. Their non-album single ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ was a commercial hit, charting at Number 11, but tensions arose again when Barat told Doherty he would be unable to continue playing with the band unless he sought help for his drug problems. Doherty performed with his side-project Babyshambles rather than joining The Libertines on their tour of Japan, and then burgled Barat’s flat out of revenge. He was sentenced to six months in Wandsworth Prison for the offence.

When Doherty was released in October 2003, however, Barat greeted him outside of the prison and The Libertines played an emotional, intimate return gig in Kent the same evening. The band, who won NME’s Best Band gong at the NME Awards 2004, began work on their second studio album but sessions were plagued by more in-fighting: security had to be hired to keep Doherty and Barat from brawing. The band released ‘The Libertines’ in August 2004, scoring them their first UK Number One album, but Doherty left shortly afterwards and Barat dissolved the band as he was unwilling to continue without his co-frontman.

Doherty continued to work with Babyshambles and also released a solo album, ‘Grace/Wastlands’, in 2009. Barat, meanwhile, formed the band Dirty Pretty Things with Powell, guitarist Anthony Rossamando and former Cooper Temple Clause bassist Didz Hammond. In 2010, The Libertines reformed for a series of headline shows including slots at Reading And Leeds Festivals. In 2014, meanwhile, the band reformed for a much-publicised gig at London’s British Summertime Hyde Park and then surprised fans by arriving by helicopter for a surprise Glastonbury Festival set in 2015.

News

Pete Doherty announces UK solo shows for December

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Pete Doherty unveils video for ‘I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone)’

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The Libertines’ John Hassall announces new album with his band, The April Rainers

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Watch The Libertines play first full British gig for nine months

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The Libertines encourage fans’ involvement in new BBC Four pop documentary

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The Libertines to headline charity gig in London next month

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The Libertines raise over £1,500 for homeless charity following secret London gig

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The Libertines added to Way Out West festival

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Watch The Libertines play secret gig at tiny London pub

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The Libertines record new song for tour poet’s band

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Peter Doherty on The Libertines’ love affair with London

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Watch The Libertines perform ‘White Light/White Heat’ with Velvet Underground’s John Cale

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Pete Doherty adds two dates to solo UK tour

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Carl Barat finds it ‘too difficult’ to watch Amy Winehouse documentary

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The Libertines have got ‘bags of music’ for new album

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The Libertines win Music Moment Of The Year at NME Awards 2016 with Austin, Texas

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The Libertines’ Pete Doherty to release new solo album later this year

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Man ‘found with 38 stolen phones stuffed down trousers’ at Libertines gig

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Pete Doherty was ‘frightened’ of Libertines bandmate Carl Barat when they first met

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The Libertines announce last-minute warm-up show to kick off UK tour

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Pete Doherty allegedly ‘decked’ by Swervedriver singer during Hong Kong altercation

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The Libertines reveal black and white, romance-tinged ‘You’re My Waterloo’ video – watch

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Sleaford Mods and The View to support The Libertines on 2016 arena tour

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Pete Doherty pleads with fans to stay away from his French home after journalist reveals address

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The Libertines and The Weeknd perform live on ‘Jools Holland’ – watch

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The Libertines reveal violent, drug-filled ‘Heart Of The Matter’ video – watch

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Carl Barât reveals The Libertines once wrote a ‘batshit’ sitcom and refuses to rule out biopic

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The Libertines confirm details of 2016 UK arena tour – O2 Priority Tickets

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Pete Doherty suffered ‘serious anxiety attack’ before postponing London and Manchester gigs

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The Libertines pull out of Radio 1 Live Lounge appearance