Peter Doherty has unveiled his Amy Winehouse tribute single ‘Flags Of The Old Regime’. To celebrate Pete’s return, here’s the ups and downs of his life so far.
Carl Barât and Kate Moss weren’t the first people Peter confessed his love to through music. An 11-year-old Peter first picked up the guitar to impress school friend and crush Emily Baker. Coincidentally, they reunited 18 years later and Emily has even played some support slots for him.
Proof that Peter’s always been a talented wordsmith: he won a poetry competition in 1995 and embarked on a tour of Russia backed by the British Council.
Despite Peter’s drug problems and internal turmoil threatening to split the band in the preceding years, 2004 turned into a high point when they picked up an NME Award for Best Band.
Record label boss James Endeacott championed the band after they played a special showcase for him in 2001. He liked them so much that he recommended them to the heads of legendary record label Rough Trade. An official record deal was signed shortly after (December 21).
‘What a Waster’ is The Libertines’ first ever single. It received little airplay because of its NSFW lyrics, but that didn’t stop it reaching No.37 in the singles chart.
The Libertines’ debut album ‘Up The Bracket’ is released in October 2002, with ‘What A Waster’ only showing up as bonus track. It peaks at No.35 in the UK albums chart. Libermania!
In the States in 2003, The Libertines lay down some tracks – known collectively as the ‘Babyshambles Sessions’ – and Peter and Carl get his-and-hers tattoos to reaffirm their devotion to one another and the band.
There’s a low point in June when Carl fails to turn up to a birthday gig Peter’s organised for him, and Peter later no-shows himself for The Libertines’ European tour.
The Libertines grew tired of Peter’s frequent drug habits and eventually kicked him out in the summer of 2003. His response: form Babyshambles.
Even temporarily out of the band, Peter still finds a way to drag Libertines relationships down further when he breaks into Carl’s flat in 25 July 2003, nabbing a mouth organ, CD player, antique guitar and laptop.
Peter serves a stint for the burglary, but the boys in the band are back together again on his release for a show at the Tap’n’Tin pub in Chatham which becomes NME’s Gig of the Year.
Clash man Mick Jones is brought in in early 2004 to help The Libs record their second album, but Peter’s back on the drugs and security’s employed to keep Barât and Doherty from each other’s throats.
‘For Lovers’, the single Peter recorded with his pal Peter Wolfe aka Wolfman, makes it all the way to No.7 in the UK singles chart – the biggest Doherty-related single to date.
But – tough break – the story went that Doherty and Wolfe failed to make much cash out of ‘For Lovers’ because they’d sold the rights for peanuts (not literally, we think) in a pub.
More grief as Peter’s admitted to swanky London rehab clinic The Priory for addiction treatment. After a few days, he deems himself fit to leave again.
Well, that didn’t last long. A few days after checking out early, a beaten Peter returns to the Priory to continue his treatment before leaving again on 7 June.
Straight after his latest exit from The Priory, Peter heads to Carl’s club night Dirty Pretty Things (a portentous name if ever there was one) to rejoin The Libertines, but it’s their final performance for six years. He’s asked to leave until he can conquer his addictions.
The split does no harm to The Libs’ commercial prospects as August 2004 sees ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ become their biggest hit, and second and final album ‘The Libertines’ goes all the way to No.1.
In December 2004, Peter Doherty meets Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark in a rehearsal room to talk about poetry, drugs, The Libertines and that special relationship with Carl. It’s a candid chat that goes down in legend. “The Libertines left me like a plastic bag at the side of the road,” he muses.
In the same month, on 17 December, The Libertines play their final show – with Peter absent, of course – in Paris.
In January 2005, rumours surrounded the tempestuous relationship between Peter and Kate Moss, with reports suggesting she’d walked out on him then returned within a couple of days. The press swarmed around, considering them magnets for scandal.
It’s February and Peter gets his collar felt again after a scrap with documentary filmmaker Max Carlish. The reason? Carlish had sold photos of Doherty smoking heroin to the tabloids. Ah.
A career peak, surely? On 2 July 2005 Peter performs with Elton John at Live 8. They collaborate on a cover of T.Rex’s ‘Children Of The Revolution’, but afterwards Elton calls Peter “a mess”. Oh dear.
There’s big news later in the summer, however, as Babyshambles’ ‘Fuck Forever’ powers all the way up the UK singles chart to No.4.
Success too for Babyshambles’ debut album. ‘Down In Albion’ goes top 10 in November, as Peter’s second wind looks a fair one.
Speaking of career peaks, March 2006 sees Peter perform a solo gig at a porn theatre in Austria. You literally cannot buy class like that.
Actor Mark Blanco dies after falling from a first floor balcony at a party attended by Peter. Reports suggest the incident took place shortly after an altercation between Doherty and Blanco. Neither Doherty nor Paul Roundhill – the party host – are implicated in Blanco’s death.
The love affair of the century ends in July 2007 when Kate Moss dumps our Pete.
Peter’s back in the tabloids in August when a photo is published of the wayward singer trying to get his cat to smoke a crack pipe. Standard.
For the second time in three years, Peter is briefly engaged to Romanian-Canadian model Irina Lazareanu, but it’s all over by November.
Amid all this romantic turmoil, there’s still time to release a Babyshambles album and ‘Shotter’s Nation’ vaults to a triumphant No.5 in the UK album chart.
Also in autumn 2007, Peter has a wash and brush-up and soups up his style to become the face of Roberto Cavalli.
In Wormwood Scrubs in April 2008 after breaching a probation order, Peter is moved to a private area over worries about his safety.
In April/May 2008, Doherty holds an art exhibition at the Gallerie Chappe in Paris. The exhibition is called Art Of Albion and includes art made with Peter’s own blood, which naturally causes a bit of tabloid stir.
It’s May and Peter’s out. He emerges from Wormwood brandishing a certificate that declares he passed a drugs test while inside. All is right with the world.
Back on the outside, Peter commissions a marble sculpture of himself, in crucifixion pose, for display during a London gig. There’s no sense in doing things by halves, is there?
A new year, and in March 2009 Peter (his full name emblazoned on the sleeve in a new tilt at maturity) pops up with his debut solo album ‘Grace/Wastelands’. It’s a hit all over Europe and features co-writes with Carl, Wolfman Peter Wolfe and Dot Allison of One Dove.
Still, March isn’t all roses as Peter ‘enjoys’ an eventful show in Grimsby where he ends up showered in drink and coins. His olive branch afterwards consists of him calling the town “a shit-hole”.
Also in 2009, Peter drops the revelation that the organisers of Reading and Leeds Festival waved “millions” under his and Carl’s noses to reunite The Libertines for the shindig.
In January 2010, Peter’s just stepping away from the court room after taking a fine for careless driving when a bag of heroin falls out of his pocket right in front of security. The judge rules it “stupidity” and, again, he gets a fine.
All that cash must have turned their heads – although no specific amount was confirmed – because The Libertines do indeed reform for Reading and Leeds in 2010, and it goes down a storm. No concrete plans for future dates or records but the vibes are good.
In March 2011, Peter finds himself – allegedly – on the wrong side of the law again when an eyewitness claimed he’d been involved in a record store robbery in Regensburg, Germany. A guitar and records are stolen when a window is smashed and the suspect reaches in.
Here’s one in the eye for the naysayers. One of those pictures painted with Doherty’s blood sold for a cool £35,000 in May 2012.
Also in May, Peter makes his film debut as Confession of a Child of the Century is shown at Cannes. Peter’s acting isn’t exactly garlanded with praise.
In June, Peter cancels a T In The Park slot for the second year running. The year before it’d been the small matter of a stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, this time it was to enjoy a stint in rehab. Nevertheless, festival organiser Geoff Ellis insists he’d always be welcome.
Not so welcome in Thailand rehab facility The Cabin, though. A month on, Peter’s allegedly slung out for being a ‘nuisance’ to the other patients.
Great news! The shout went across the rooftops in February 2013 that Peter and Babyshambles were working on a new album with legendary producer Stephen Street. Was it too good to be true?
We were certainly on dodgier ground with the revelation that former child star Macaulay Culkin was now living with Peter in Paris. Surely that could only end in disaster? Or a particularly louche Home Alone 6.
And it wasn’t wildly encouraging to hear that Peter was planning to open a rock’n’roll memorabilia stall in Camden, selling – mainly – cigarette butts that once perched on the lips of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Bobby Gillespie. Still, new Babyshambles album ‘Sequel To The Prequel’ is done and dusted, so everything for now is rosy.