Arctic Monkeys bring their global tour of last year’s phenomenal ‘AM’ to an end this weekend. We track the story of one of the albums of the decade, from the Mojave Desert with Josh Homme to the headline stage at Reading & Leeds.
Arctic Monkeys bring their global tour of last year’s phenomenal ‘AM’ to an end at Reading & Leeds this weekend. We track the story of one of the albums of the decade, which started when the band unveiled ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ at their 2013 comeback gig in the small town of Ventura, California on May 22, 2013.
The following month the band debuted another new track, Mad Sounds, at a run of Scandinavian festivals. Their last album ‘Suck It And See’ was released in 2011, but there was still no official word on album Number Five.
Not for long, however… Arctic Monkeys announced the release of ‘AM’ in June 2013, revealing not only the track-listing, but also letting fans know that Josh Homme and John Cooper Clarke would be involved.
On June 28, the band headlined Glastonbury Festival. A greatest hits set of sorts, it also included the UK debuts of ‘Do I Wanna Know’, ‘R U Mine’ and ‘Mad Sounds’, all of which were to feature on ‘AM’.
Just over a fortnight after Glastonbury, the artwork for ‘AM’ was unleashed. A radiowave that looks suspiciously like a pair of sunglasses – or a bra – it was simple, but a step up from the practically blank cover of predecessor ‘Suck It And See’.
‘AM’ was released on September 9, 2013, to rave reviews, including a 10/10 from NME. “Arctic Monkeys’ fifth record is absolutely and unarguably the most incredible album of their career. It might also be the greatest record of the last decade,” wrote editor Mike Williams.
‘AM’ became the band’s fifth consecutive Number 1, taking the top spot in the Official UK Albums Chart. The California-recorded album also gained the band a record, being the first act on an indie label to have five Number 1 LPs in a row.
‘AM’ was the first Arctic Monkeys album to go Top 10 in the US, taking the Number 6 spot in the Billboard 200, proving that the band had well and truly broken America.
The band started their mega UK arena tour in October, but ended up having to postpone a number of shows due to Alex Turner’s laryngitis.
‘AM’ was nominated for the Mercury Prize – their third nod for the award following a win for their 2006 debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’. This time around they lost out to James Blake’s’ Overgrown’.
‘AM’ had the honour of being named NME’s Album Of The Year 2013, coming ahead of Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ and Queens Of The Stone Age’s’ …Like Clockwork’.
The band scored the double at the BRIT Awards in February 2014, winning awards for Best British Group and Best British Album. In his infamous mic-dropping acceptance speech Alex Turner insisted that “rock’n’roll will never die”.
‘AM’ won Best Album at the NME Awards, while Arctic Monkeys also scooped up gongs for Best British Band, Best Live Band and Best Fan Community, while Alex Turner was named Hero Of The Year.
Further proof of ‘AM’’s domination came when Miley Cyrus covered ‘Why D’ya Only Call Me When You’re High’ during her Bangerz tour. “She did some bits in there I wish we’d have done. She gets higher than we can… in the voice,” said drummer Matt Helders, praising her version.
Arctic Monkeys took over North London’s Finsbury Park for two huge headline shows on May 23 and 24. Support came from Tame Impala, Royal Blood and Miles Kane, with Kane joining the band onstage during the second night, for a brief Last Shadow Puppets reunion.
Arctic Monkeys became the last ever band to headline T In The Park in Balado Park in July, bidding the longtime site farewell with a run through of ‘AM’ before the festival moves to Strathallan Castle in Perthshire next year.
In August Arctic Monkeys got to headline their very first Stateside festival, topping the bill at Chicago’s Lollapalooza, alongside Eminem, Outkast and Kings of Leon. Tragedy struck however when a man’s ear was almost bitten off during their set.
Here’s the one you’ve all been waiting for – Arctic Monkeys bring ‘AM’ to Reading & Leeds this weekend. It’ll be the second time the band have headlined the festival after playing at the top of the bill in 2009. Expect slicker tunes and tighter leather this time around.