The Arctic Monkeys' second album Favourite Worst Nightmare, out in the UK on Monday, is one of the most hotly-anticipated releases of the year.
The band played their first gig in Sheffield less than four years ago
The group have a reputation for shunning the media spotlight and giving little away about themselves. So here are 25 facts to shed light on Britain's hottest band.
- Schoolfriends Alex Turner and Jamie Cook got their first guitars for Christmas and, with Andy Nicholson and Matt Helders, first started playing in Alex's garage under the name Bang Bang.
- Turner started singing after original vocalist Glyn Jones quit. Their first gig was at The Grapes pub in Sheffield on Friday 13 June 2003, playing mostly cover versions. They received £27 from ticket sales.
- Their manager Geoff Barradale once sang in indie outfit Seafruit, whose greatest chart achievement was reaching number 59 in 1999. He drove his new young charges to their early gigs in his clapped-out Saab.
Friend Chris McClure took part in a drunken photo session for the CD
- Alex and Andy worked behind the bar at another Sheffield venue, the Boardwalk. When they returned to play a sell-out gig as the band's success began to take off, Andy put on a staff T-shirt and pulled a few pints.
- Their first piece of national newspaper press came from Joe Mott in the Daily Star, who described them in April 2005 as "the most exciting band to emerge this year".
- Jamie quit his job as an apprentice bathroom tiler the following month, shortly before their debut limited-edition single Five Minutes with the Arctic Monkeys came out on their Bang Bang label.
- Their first full single release, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, went straight to number one in the UK in October.
- Their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not took its name from Alan Sillitoe's novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, about an angry young working class rebel in 1950s Nottingham. It was turned into a film starring Albert Finney in 1960.
- Matt later revealed the author wrote to the band saying he liked the album and was privileged that they had used something from his book.
The group have won awards in the US, Japan and Mexico
- After an all-day drinking session, the band asked their mate Chris McClure to have his photo taken for the album cover. He was not paid but said it was "a nice thing to tell my grandkids".
- The album became the fastest-selling debut in UK chart history in January 2006, shifting 364,000 copies in its first week. They broke the record held by Hear'Say, the act created on TV talent show Popstars.
- The first album peaked at number 24 in the US chart, where they also received two Grammy Award nominations.
- Other global accolades included being named album of the year by Time Magazine in the US and Crossbeat Magazine in Japan. They also won best new international artist at Mexico's Oye Awards.
- In the UK, they have won three Brit Awards, five NME Awards and the Mercury Music Prize.
- They have stayed away from the Brit Awards ceremonies. In 2006, their acceptance speech was delivered by We Are Scientists singer Keith Murray. This year, they dressed in Wizard of Oz and Village People costumes for their acceptance videos.
The new album's title comes from a line in the song D Is For Dangerous
- Their manager found a real builder to appear with them in the Village People spoof. The other costumes are being auctioned on Thursday and are expected to fetch £600-800 in total.
- The Wizard of Oz theme continues on the new album. The penultimate track, Old Yellow Bricks, ends with the line "Dorothy was right though".
- Another favourite topic is Duran Duran. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor included the line "Your name isn't Rio, but I don't care for sand", while the new album's second track Teddy Picker contains the lyrics "I don't want your prayer, save it for the morning after".
- The new album's title, Favourite Worst Nightmare, comes from a line in the song D Is For Dangerous. The band say they also considered calling the album Lesbian Wednesdays, Gordon Brown and Gary Barlow.
- The album's lead track and first single, Brianstorm, was apparently inspired by an odd man they met backstage at a gig in Osaka, Japan. "When he left the room, we were a bit freaked out by his presence so we did like a brainstorm for what he was like," Alex said.
The album has received rave reviews from music critics
- Fellow Mercury Prize winner Dizzee Rascal pops up on the B-side to the Brianstorm single, Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend. And the rapper says he has built a separate hip-hop track around a sample of Alex's vocal from the song.
- Much of the album follows a familiar rumbustious, breakneck pattern. But a few songs, like 505, Do Me a Favour and If You Were There, Beware, show signs of a more mellow direction, a wider musical outlook and, perhaps, added maturity and experience.
- Most of the album was recorded at The Garden Studio at Miloco Studios, London, which once hosted the likes of The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and Depeche Mode.
Other recording venues included Eastcote Studios and Konk Studios, both in London, and the Motor Museum in Liverpool.
- The Daily Express described it as "a shockingly good release that just gets better, faster and stronger with each listen", the Daily Telegraph said it was "totally the equal of its predecessor" and The Guardian said it had "successfully negotiated the daunting task of following up the biggest-selling debut album in British history".
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