Kings Of Leon – the road to superstardom in pictures


Kings Of Leon back in 2003, shortly after the release of their debut EP, ‘Holy Roller Novocaine’. The disc contained the likes of ‘Molly’s Chambers’, ‘Wasted Time’ and ‘California Waiting’ and set a precedent for the quality of the tracks to come.

Pop/ rock/ Indie music band Kings of Leon, NME 01/2003

An early NME shoot in 2003 shows the boys at their beardiest. They released ‘Youth And Young Manhood’ in August that year and we awarded it a rare 9/10.

Indie/ rock/ band Kings of Leon backstage. NME 2003

We called their 2003 effort “one of the best debuts of the last ten years”. It was recorded in California with producer Ethan Johns, son of the Rolling Stones and Eagles producer Glyn Johns.


Indie/ rock/ band Kings of Leon on stage. NME 2003

The frenzied response to their debut album ‘Youth And Young Manhood’ led to the Kings being booked as support act for the likes of The Strokes and U2, which served to accelerate their ascent into the big league.

The Kings of Leon, indie rock/ pop band NME 12/2003

The shaggy-haired Kings Of Leon in a photographer’s studio in 2003. The band actually formed in 1999 after their strict Pentecostal preacher father resigned from the church and they were free to pursue rock and roll.


Killing time on the tourbus in 2003. For the full story of Kings Of Leon’s triumphant Hyde Park show, including an interview with the band, grab this week’s NME magazine.


The Followill clan tied up for NME in 2003, the year they released their critically-acclaimed album ‘Youth And Young Manhood’. The title of the LP was actually taken from the inside cover of one of their father’s Pentecostal bibles.


Indie/ rock/ band Kings of Leon onstage. NME 2003

Some lucky punters catch an early club show in 2003. Their recent gigs saw 60,000 fans cram into Hyde Park to see the band headline above the likes of The Black Keys and The Drums.

Kings of Leon at Reading Festival 200 NME 01/01/2003

Kings Of Leon in festival attire in 2003. The band used their recent Hyde Park shows to debut four new songs, with one track employing almost metal-esque guitars.

The Kings Of Leon, rock band NME 09/2004

2004 saw the Kings somewhat less hairy but still on the hirsute side of life. It was also the year they released ‘Aha Shake Heartbreak’.

Kings of Leon

By 2007, they’d released ‘Because Of The Times’ and were a fully-fledged enormo-band, playing to huge crowds in the UK and Europe, although massive fame in the US still somewhat eluded them.


Kings of Leon

Kings Of Leon played the main stage at the Reading Festival in 2007, just below headliners Razorlight.


Kings Of Leon backstage at Brixton Academy in 2008.

new young pony club

Another exclusive backstage shot from Brixton Academy. The band played the venue shortly before their appearances at the V Festival and a few months after headlining Glastonbury.

kings of leon shot for nme magazine, location elms lester painting rooms

Kings Of Leon (now sporting 50% less hair) make friends with a vulture for an NME shoot in 2008. They released their fourth studio album ‘Only By The Night’ in September that year.


A 2010 NME cover, around the group’s massive Hyde Park show.