WHO: You know these guys. The Likely Lads. Del & Rodney. Withnail & Him. Mick & Keef’s naughty noughties counterparts. Yep – reunited ne’er-do-wells Pete Doherty and Carl Barât. Not forgetting John and Gary.
WHY: 2014 might have been when Doherty and Barât wowed London with a batch of brilliant comeback shows – headlining a thriller of an evening at London’s Hyde Park to 70,000 fans on a balmy summer’s night, for instance – but 2015 was the year British rock’s most fraught duo finally patched things up properly and got back to some serious, music-making business.
Decamping to Thailand early in the year to write their first new songs together since 2004, they set the pace for a manic 2015 that few initially thought the band would be able to keep up with. A huge record deal was signed, a new album recorded, Glastonbury was wowed by a surprise Pyramid Stage set and a worldwide tour was booked. In all, the band only missed two shows of the entire run (at London’s Electric Ballroom and Manchester’s Ritz in September) after Doherty – still dealing with a decade-long addiction to heroin and crack – went AWOL. We’ll forgive him that, because the last few times we’ve interviewed him he’s looked, sounded and seemed a million miles healthier than at any time during the previous decade.
Recovery’s a long road, and this is where the rejuvenated Libertines really come into play. John, Gary, Pete and Carl are tighter than they’ve ever been right now, both as friends and as a band. Onstage in Mexico in late November, they appeared closer in spirit to The Beatles than the Sex Pistols, with all the nihilism of 2002-2004 swapped for a purity and ‘love conquers all’ attitude. They took a collective bow at the end, and it even seemed touching. It’s a new aesthetic for The Libertines, and one that suits them.
What it really boils down to, though, is this: way back in 2002, the reason why so many people bought into Pete and Carl was because they offered something different to the commercial, money-minded attitudes that were flooding pop culture. In 2015, even though they’re undoubtedly making a pretty penny out of this reunion malarkey, that sense of friendship, unity and admiration for each other still really rings true. Together, they remain an inspiration.
WHAT THEY SAY: “When Carl looked me in the eye and actually believed me when I said I was going to give it a fucking go, it was like a miracle. Everything else was forgotten.” – Pete Doherty
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THEM: “[Pete] was just such an icon in my teenage years and still is to me. I’m so glad he’s alive. I really am – there was a long time there where it looked like he might not be.” – Daniel Radcliffe
HOW THEY MADE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE: By proving that friendship conquers all.
Read about why we picked the rest of our People of the Year 2015:
Taylor Swift – For establishing herself as the most powerful pop star on the planet
Kendrick Lamar – For making rap righteous again
Mhairi Black – For changing the face of British politics
Skepta – For taking grime global
Miley Cyrus – For refusing to conform, and celebrating diversity
Nicki Minaj – For speaking out on race, gender and sexuality
Mathieu Flamini – For trying to save the world with his geo-energy company GF Biochemicals
Adele – For breaking every record in music history
Jennifer Lawrence – For being the year’s best role model
JJ Abrams – For re-awakening The Force
Noel Gallagher – For cutting through the crap and making us laugh