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Kings of Leon to receive star on Nashville's Music City Walk of Fame Friday

by Brandy McDonnell Published: September 20, 2012
Kings of Leon (AP file)
Kings of Leon (AP file)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Music City, Inc. has announced that it will induct Grammy-winning rock group Kings of Leon, which has Oklahoma ties, into the Music City Walk of Fame, presented by Gibson Guitar.

The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Friday in Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville. The induction ceremony, which is sponsored by Great American Country (GAC), is free and open to the public. Durango Boot Company and Black River Entertainment also are supporting sponsors of the event.

“The Music City Walk of Fame was created to recognize artists who have made contributions to all music genres and who have a strong connection to Nashville,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, in the news release.

“Kings of Leon was created and discovered in Nashville, and the band still proudly calls the city home. They are a perfect example of what this project is all about — local musicians who transcend genre to produce great music loved by all.”

The Music City Walk of Fame, created in the fall of 2006 on Nashville’s Music Mile, is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have made significant contributions to preserving the musical heritage of Nashville and have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Matt Pelham of fellow Nashville-based rock band The Features credited the Kings of Leon with helping to bring Music City’s thriving rock scene out of the shadow of its venerable and well-known country music establishment.

“I think the fact that we came out of Nashville almost hurt us at that time (in the mid-’90s) more than helped us,” Pelham told the AP. “I think they automatically had the association with country music and I also felt there was sort of this shadow over Nashville.”

“To be honest, when Kings of Leon came along, I think they sort of broke through that stereotype or whatever was holding it back. I think they definitely broke through something and a lot of doors opened up for bands in Nashville,” he added.

Originally from Oklahoma, KOL’s Followill family has formed the record label Serpents and Snakes to help bands like The Features and Turbo Fruits gain wider exposure, according to the AP.

With the addition of Kings of Leon, the Music City Walk of Fame now boasts 61 stars.

A permanent sidewalk medallion with Kings of Leon’s name displayed in a star-and-guitar design will be installed in the sidewalk along the Music Mile. The group’s plaque will be inlaid in Walk of Fame Park on Demonbreun, between 4th and 5th Avenues South.

The Music City Walk of Fame is an official project of Music City, Inc., the charitable foundation of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau (NCVB), and is produced with the support of presenting sponsor Gibson Guitar and sponsors GAC, Durango Boot, Black River Entertainment, the City of Nashville and Metro Parks. Hard Rock Cafe, Nashville is the newest partner to the Walk of Fame. They will sponsor a Rock & Roll Star at the next induction ceremony.

Nominations are open to the public and are accepted in the categories of Artist, Musician, Songwriter, and Producer/Music Industry Executive. Application forms are reviewed by the Music City Walk of Fame anonymous selection committee.

Read KOL’s bio, provided Music City Walk of Fame, after the break.

Music City Walk of Fame honorees Kings of Leon

Comprised of three Followill brothers — Caleb (guitar), Nathan (drums), and Jared (bass), as well as first cousin Matthew Followill (guitar) — Kings of Leon formed in 2000. Oklahoma natives, the Followill siblings spent much of their youth traveling to churches across the South with their mother and father, a Pentecostal preacher. While growing up, the boys were only allowed to listen to church music, a rich combination of organs, guitars, pianos, basses, drums and horns. They relocated to Nashville in the late 90s and embraced their interest in rock music, which was denied to them as kids. Matthew was added to the lineup, and a Southern garage rock sound emerged.

Kings of Leon’s debut album “Youth and Young Manhood” was released in 2003 and became an immediate sensation in the UK and Ireland, where NME declared it “one of the best debut albums of the last 10 years” and The Guardian described the band as “the kind of authentic, hairy rebels The Rolling Stones longed to be”. The group achieved opening spots for U2, Pearl Jam and Bob Dylan after the release of their sophomore album, “Aha Shake Heartbreak,” and continued to garner acclaim with “Because of the Times,” which debuted at No. 25 on the U.S. Billboard 200.

In 2008, the group released “Only By The Night,” the record that catapulted the band into the mainstream. The multi-platinum-selling album debuted in the top 5 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, hit No. 1 in five countries, sold more than 6.5 million copies worldwide, and earned Kings of Leon four Grammy Awards, including wins for their Modern Rock radio multi-week No. 1′s “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody.” The album’s success also led to the band’s gracing the covers of Spin and Rolling Stone, performances on “Saturday Night Live,” sold-out shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and headlining slots at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits festivals.

On the heels of their most successful album to date, Kings of Leon continued to follow their own muse and refused to play it safe in their latest album “Come Around Sundown.” Keeping with their grand and propulsive rock sound combined with intimate post-punk moods, the album upped the ante by connecting the dots between the blues, classic rock and gospel influences of the Followills’ childhood to the alternative and indie rock of their adulthood.

Kings of Leon got their start in Nashville by playing open mic nights, songwriters’ nights and booking gigs at local songwriter hot spots like the Bluebird Cafe. Members collaborated with other Nashville songwriters – most notably Angelo Petraglia – who helped them hone in on their unique rock & roll sound. While Kings of Leon continues to record and tour worldwide, each member calls Nashville home.


by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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